Kevin Durant pulls up from 30, finishes off Cavs with the ultimate game winner 

Kevin Durant has proved everyone that he has ice in his veins after hitting a clutch pull-up 3 over LeBron James to give the Golden State Warriors a one-point lead late in the 4th quarter, pushing the series to a dramatic 3-0 swing.

Durant showed nothing, but poise with his late-game dagger, especially during the most important possession of the game. He hit the biggest shot of the NBA Finals, and his entire career solidifying himself as one of the greatest in the world.

Durant started the NBA Finals letting LeBron know that he’s coming, and now he’s ending it in the same fashion.

Scoring 7 of the team’s final 11 points in the final 3 minutes, KD rallied the Warriors to victory. After carrying GSW to three straight wins, it is safe to say that Durant is the legitimate MVP of the NBA Finals.

Not only Game 3 was heartbreaking for the Cavs, but it is also more demoralizing seeing the way their opponent win. Kevin Durant, once again, single handily dominated Cleveland.

ESPN’s NBA Analyst Stephen A. Smith reacts to the Warriors’ Game 3 win over the Cavaliers, addressing KD’s dominance is something that simply cannot be ignored.

“Take a look at the highlights, he starts off the series basically letting LeBron know that he’s coming, said Stephen A. Smith. “Kevin Durant has been saying I’m here since opening of these Finals.”

KD’s clutch game last night at Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, certainly has everyone’s attention. His mission this year to win the championship is scary not only for Cavs, but also the NBA.

Who is going to stop him and this Warriors juggernaut in the next 4-5 years?

Photo source from Cam Stein, via Flickr.

Thunderstruck; Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Warriors shocks the world, including Stephen A. Smith

It was 42 days ago Kevin Durant celebrated with Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook after a dominating Game 4 win over the Golden State Warriors during the Western Conference Finals, yet that image faded away with a blink of an eye after blowing 3-1 series lead – contemplating his free agency opportunities since then, Durant stunned the nation with his decision sign with the team he fell one game short of returning to the NBA Finals: The Warriors.

Kevin Durant’s stunning decision to leave Oklahoma City for his Western Conference rival, Golden State, will certainly cap off as the headline for this NBA free agency frenzy.

Not only is the image of KD to represent the royal blue of the Warriors and California’s Golden yellow is the talk of free agency, but the headline of sports this summer. This is one of the biggest, shocking trades since “The Decision” back in 2010.

The NBA community is making LeBron James/Cleveland comparison with Durant’s decision to leave Oklahoma City for Golden State, having new perspectives of the former MVP some that are fair and of course, some that are not.

First Take’s Stephen A. Smith had one of the harshest viewpoints of Durant’s new signing, the only bigger critic right now may just be the Thunder Radio Network in Oklahoma City, for it didn’t take take very long for Smith’s reaction to catch everyone’s attention with his surprisingly pessimistic reaction.

Speaking about the Durant headlines Monday on SportsCenter, Stephen A. Smith took the NBA world by storm, by categorizing Durant’s decision as “incredibly
weak”.

“I’m viewing it as the weakest move I’ve ever seen from a superstar,” Smith said.

His reaction is now one of the headlines that surround the shock waves originating from KD’s announcement Monday morning, and is an example of how powerful this move will impact NBA free agency. Golden State’s new acquisition of NBA’s youngest scoring leader, throws off the balance and changes the landscape of the league greatly.

With another scoring champion on the Warrior roster, can we start making assumption that this roster could resemble a “super team”?

With a former and current MVP on their roster, along with two more All-Stars, the Warriors do have the makings of an all-time super team. NBA prospects are already giving them the best odds to win the title next year – as they should.

I mean, who is possibly going to challenge this team?

There have been numerous questions the on the chemistry aspect of the trade, wether Durant can mesh with the Splash Brothers or not, but amazingly enough, he fits perfectly in Steven Ker’s system.

The scary realization for opponents to witness will be the Barnes-Durant transition, now all of the wide open jumpers will be taken from KD, instead of Harrison Barnes.

Durant, 28, just signed a two-year deal worth over a incredible $54.3 million – with a team that has had back to back NBA Finals appearances, and won its previous championship. This is a scary trade for opponents for many reasons, mainly because the scoring champion is in the prime of his career, and he is going to one of the best teams in the NBA.

The burden of having to win a championship and living up to all the hype, will be an interesting test to for KD, but playing for a new franchise will help him alleviate this pressure. The new destination will give him an opportunity to create a new identity, for the superstar had labeled his announcement in the Players Tribute to be “My Next Chapter”.

Photo by Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA (Kevin Durant) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

2016 NBA Finals: Reasonable rematch or disturbing downfall? 

While LeBron James is blessed to make his 6th straight NBA Finals appearance, the 4-time MVP   is still reluctant to pay a king’s ransom for it – The Warriors early momentum in the NBA Finals rematch creates controversy and chaos in Cleveland. With all eyes on the King and his team to respond to the early 1-0 series Warriors’ lead, many are wondering if this an end of an era, or if it is the mark of a new beginning.

Will the headlines of Game 3 seek a Cavalier Comeback or Curse in Cleveland?

For many to believe that this is the time for Cavaliers to win a championship, the will be several questions in Cleveland if they fail to capture that chance at the title once again. Game 2 of the Finals entailed a great amount of pressure for the Cavs – The Warriors “Splash Brothers” were completely off Game 1, and still won convincingly.

Curry and Thompson not being the X factor for the first half of the series means bad news for the Cavaliers, the Warriors will be even more of an arsenal to the Cavaliers, as the Warriors’ bench had solely won the opening game of the Finals.

Draymond Green’s stellar 28-point performance last night at Oracle Arena shows how deep of a threat this Warrior team is. Tyron Lue’s game plan for the Warriors All-Star was ineffective to say the least; Golden State’s big man lighted up the Cavaliers, hitting five 3-pointers to give his team the spark they needed.

The Warriors incredible ability to extend the lead from 12 to 30 points in such a short amount of time is scary for teams, especially for the Cavs, Warriors put the game out of hand in just a blink of an eye, forcing Cleveland to throw the towel in the 3rd quarter.

After just watching the first half, and seeing all of the early struggles from the Warriors reflected the or portrait of the series; Cleveland has to play absolutely perfect just to be a close game – the Warriors early 7-0 turnover differential in the 1st quarter, did not translate to any demanding lead for Cleveland. The Cavaliers inability to take advantage of the early turnovers from then Warrior’s mistakes was a huge impact on there loss,
because once Golden State has that momentum backed by its hostile environment, the team is almost impossible to stop.

Green jumpstarted the Warriors quickly after the early struggles in the game, electrifying the team to a 20-2 run in the 2nd quarter, breaking the game right open. Cavaliers were not able to respond to Golden State’s weapons; the damage done to the Cavaliers became even more alarming as the MVP was not a factor again in Warriors’ blow out win over Cleveland, sitting on the bench watching his role players easily take care of there opponent.

One thing is for sure the Cavaliers need to change next game in Cleveland, their “Big 3” needs to show up.

Irving, Love, and James were only combined for 34 points the entire game, Draymond Green almost had those many points just himself. The way that the Cavaliers had lost was not only evident, but shocking; the dumbstruck body language presented by Cleveland did not go unnoticed, and was questioned specifically after the game.

During the post game conference, Henry, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area reporter, had asked LeBron on wether he was frustrated or disappointed in his teams’s performance. The King had surprisingly had denied any of those emotions.

“Not disappointed in our guys or frustrated, we just got to do a better job,” said James. “We got to do better in all facets of the game, both offensively and defensively, and physically and mentally.”

Shortly after the post game conference, NBA Analysts Stephen A. Smith, Chauncey Billups, Michael Wilbon, and ESPN’s Stan Verrett commented on the Cavaliers surprisingly disengaged performance and LeBron’s post game comments.

First Take host, and well-known NBA Analyst, Stephen A. commented on the disappointment in LeBron’s post game analysis and how the superstar was nether discontent, or frustrated with both losses. Smith had mentioned this had been one of the worst NBA Finals performances he had ever seen.

The frustration presented by Smith reflected the mutual feeling of LeBron supporters and fans of the game in general: LeBron should be anything but content in a looming chance is losing another NBA Finals.

Obviously we know the greatness of LeBron and his legacy to continue is greatness, but one has to wonder if this is an end of an era – or at least in Cleveland.

Despite their collective effort in there back to back NBA Finals run, the Cavaliers were dis-oriented in Games 1 and 2 of the championship. The basketball community is wondering I the King and his well-respected Cavaliers can flip the switch.

Can the Cavaliers turn this around?

Anticipating another hostile environment, now in Cleveland, will entail and define what we will learn about these two teams in this series. If Cleveland can defend home advantage, in both games, will show a resilient and new perspective for the Cavaliers; for now, they remain somewhat questionable at the time being.

The good thing for LeBron and company, the entire state of Ohio will be behind there back in Games 3 and 4 of the Finals. The future Hall of Fame player is expected to rise to the occasion, and save his team from being behind 3 straight games in the series.

Photo By Erik Dorst [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Durant dilemma in OKC: How Thunder’s collapse will affect NBA Free Agency

Golden State’s Game 7 win at the Oracle Arena Monday night entailed two entirely different headlines for the Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder series: one of the biggest collapses or greatest comebacks in NBA Post Season history. Emphasizing their historic 73 game winning season, the Warriors will continue to make headlines; however, conversations will also include the future of Durant and Thunder after throwing away a 3-1 series lead.

While it was a historic comeback for Golden State, OKC’s heartbreaking loss was almost too evident to ignore. After seeing his teammate being completely dumbstruck by the loss, Kevin Durant found Guard Deion Waters at mid-court and immediately hugged him, knowing the totality of the defeat.

Thunder’s star forward played the leadership role to the best of his ability, trying to will his team to win on a personal 6-0 run late in the 4th quarter, cutting the lead to just four. The Thunder simply just did not have enough late in the game; however, the scoring champion and former MVP showed his worth against an incredible record-breaking team in a hostile environment.

Shortly after the Thunder had lost, Durant as expected, was asked about his future with the team. In the post game press conference, Durant quickly dismissed any free-agency plans.

“We just lost like 30 minutes ago, so I haven’t even thought about it yet,” said Durant. “I’m just embracing my teammates…reflecting on the season.”

While these comments seemed to be somewhat expected, the questions on the MVP’s future are justifiable as Kevin Durant will become unrestricted free agent on July 1.

NBA Insiders are already projecting a four-year deal worth $111 million if Durant decides to leave the team this summer. If Durant obliges to stay with OKC and decides on a 1-year contract with a player option to protect himself, he signs for about $27 million. Ultimately, this would put OKC’s star forward in a position next year to agree to a huge five-year deal with the team, worth over $200 million.

Ryen Russillo and Adnan Virk hosted the topic on the Russillo and Kanell show this morning on ESPN, stating that Durant has better options with OKC than in NBA Free Agency. Russillo prompted a logical scenario, “do you want to play for $38 or $28 million a year?”

ESPN’s Russillo and Virk touched on several options that Durant can make in OKC; based on their perspective, there is a higher ceiling for the superstar to remain in. The two also had a positive analysis for the Thunder, giving credit for a thrilling NBA Post Season run.

There are many questions not only coming into play with Durant, but also Russell Westbrook – OKC’s second superstar is going to become unrestricted free agent the following year.

Shocking the league with the blow out wins from games 3 and 4 of the NBA Western Conference Finals, Westbrook was as big as a part as Durant in defending their home court. Westbrook had Klay Thompson-like numbers from the 3-point mark, and reminded everyone how special the 6’7’’ Point Guard was.

After seeing the Westbrook and Durant dominate the Warriors in those two games at home made me think about how unstoppable the tandem can be, and doubted the possibility of end such a great legacy in OKC, however perspective is somewhat spoiled by there huge collapse in the series. While losing three straight games to end the series in defeat seemed to be a near impossible feat, the new harsh emphasizes doubt in OKC.

There have been rumors earlier in the postseason that Durant may leave the team if OKC loses this year, whether it is losing the Western Conference Finals or the NBA Finals, one can suspect Durant’s discontent for not winning the chip. Whether the trade rumors are factual or not, there is an overall feeling of Durant’s eagerness. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Durant has already interesting from the Rockets, Heat, Celtics, Spurs, and even the
Warriors.

Where will he go next?

Interesting to see the Rocket’s front office pursue Durant, and if they can convince him to join forces with James Harden again. This would be an interesting scenario, but it is very unlikely based on the large competition against other teams in the NBA.

As a Miami fan, it would be an incredible, possible miraculous trade if Durant went to the Heat; the thought would be ludicrous to some people in the NBA, but in an unbiased perspective, this could be an intriguing trade to join a talented team that could dominate the NBA Eastern Conference.

Not sure how the Warriors would be able to have room for Durant, seems like the team has investments in the entire team; there would be questions on the team chemistry, and obviously on sharing the ball. The overall census is that Durant will remain in OKC, but hostility rises in OKC as Durant will have plenty of options to look at during free agency.

Photo By: Keith Allison (Flickr: Kevin Durant) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons