Few things are as compelling over the summer as the NBA Finals.
If you don’t get lucky and get a good matchup, it takes a back seat to your vacation plans.
On paper, we didn’t this year — and I’ve already planned the family getaway, so now what? Half the guys play on the West Coast long after I can keep my eyes open most nights. And the other half play in Canada!
The Golden State-Toronto finals slate likely isn’t making the blazer-wearers at ABC toast each other from a ratings standpoint. It also doesn’t help the winners of each of the first three games jumped out to big first-half leads, sapping the broadcasts of intrigue.
It was just easy to say, “Golden State in six” and be right this year — or four of the last five years. But then the Warriors started falling apart, first Kevin Durant and then Klay Thompson. That could be why, and also how, the Raptors took a 2-1 series lead.
As I write this on Thursday, Toronto holds a slim upper hand, but could have busted it wide open — and make the network executives even sicker — with a win Friday. It’s believable, although beyond Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry I have to shake my head at this team, the same one that beat the starry-eyed, just-happy-to-be-there Orlando Magic in the first round of the playoffs. Marc Gasol, Fred Van Vleet and Pascal Siakam aren’t household names, yet here they are making play after play in the month of June. Which I guess is fine. You probably should be rooting for the team that knocked out your favorite team to win it all. (But, why do they have to be from Canada?)
But who knows if the Warriors will look like the team that’s steamrolled to the last two titles when they get Durant, Thompson and maybe even Kevan Looney back in the lineup. Maybe the ABC blazer guys made Golden State play with one hand tied behind its back early to ensure seven prime-time games.
So I’ll stick with Golden State in 7 … unless they looked really bad in Game 3 even with the reinforcements. Then it’s Toronto in 5, only because they can’t do it in 4 anymore.
And the ABC executives won’t even care about not having Games 6 or 7. They have plenty of summer stuff to show us — they’re bringing back Press Your Luck and Card Sharks!
So if it’s June now, that means … NFL preseason camps open next month! Other things to get you through to the “fall”, even though it’ll start in August when the pavement could easily melt your shoes: today’s Belmont Stakes, the NBA Draft (but you have to stay up late this year to see the Orlando Magic pick on down there at No. 16), the baseball season … Viva las Rañas en fuego!, a shout-out to my friends with the Florida Fire Frogs. They’re home the first part of next week …
Tracking hurricanes (or drinking them, if you are of sufficient age), the Women’s World Cup (USA! USA! But I’m picking the Netherlands to win this one), the U.S. Open (It’s at Pebble Beach, so I take Dustin Johnson for the win) and British Open (It’s somewhere in Ireland, so go with Rory McIlroy) golf championships, and …
Oh wow, it’s gonna be a long summer.