Last night’s ping pong balls won’t have any impact on the Eastern Conference Finals. I fully expect the Cleveland Cavaliers to defeat the Boston Celtics in six games. They won’t sail through the Eastern Conference Playoffs undefeated, but they’ll get back to the NBA Finals in 2017. What last night’s ping pong balls mean is that this trip to the NBA Finals could be the last for LeBron and Co. At least for a little while.
LeBron has brought a team to the NBA Finals six years in a row, and seven times in the last 10 years. Defeating the Celtics in 2017 would make it seven trips in a row to the NBA Finals, and eight trips in the last 11 years. You can say whatever you want about LeBron, that he’s *only* won three titles, but those numbers are Jordanesque. More aptly, those numbers are Russellesque.
The Boston Celtics went to ten straight NBA Finals from 1957-1966. No team since has been to more than four NBA Finals in a row. LeBron’s streak has been dominant. And as a rule, I don’t hold championship losses against athletes. Why should it be held against LeBron that he took teams to the NBA Finals that had no business being there? Would his *legacy* look better with a second round loss in 2007 than a loss in the Finals?
Tom Brady has lost two more Super Bowls than Troy Aikman. I don’t see anyone putting Aikman ahead of Brady because of that.
All that said, the clock is about strike midnight on LeBron and Co. I’m not saying he’ll never go to another NBA Finals, but he might need to work on his entourage after this season. He will soon have legitimate competition in the East for the first time in almost a decade. The Boston Celtics are going to be a wagon.
The Celtics are a pretty good team as is. They are going to add The Number One Overall Pick and Gordon Hayward. They have one of the best, young coaches in the game. The East will be under new management this fall, and I can’t wait.