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2017 NBA Finals Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors

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The ‘Threequel’. It’s here, lisp or not. Cavs/Warriors III. Ali/Frazier. The King and the masterchef. Even after LeBron James’ men and Curry’s kitchen faced the storied, legendary all-team franchices of the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs in the Eastern and Western respective Conference Finals. Some predicted an upset. And old-school, blue collar Finals. But history being made repeated itself like the time that’s the charm. As King James made Isaiah Thomas walk the Green Mile and Kawhi Leonard’s Spurs in one big sweep was just par for the course for Golden State. The Dubs have a broom clean record. The Cavaliers have only dropped one game. They’ll both lose some here in what is likely to go the full seven and four quarters again. But after this series comes to a close who will be left crying this time? And for what reason? Neither team will three-peat, but the conclusion of this epic trilogy of ‘Godfather’, ‘Dark Knight’ and ‘Lord Of The Rings’ will leave one winner. Last years repeating Cleveland Cavaliers or the revenge of the Golden State Warriors? It’s time to break it down again.

Point Guards

Your smart dinner money should be on Chef Curry with the pot, but killa Kyrie Irving drew more than first blood in last years Finals and Uncle this head-to-head match-up could be closer than the alphas. Steph will dominate from downtown, but we all know Irving’s clutch and ability to put it away was the real reason the Cavs became champs last year. Despite the plaudits the King received on the block.

Advantage: Warriors.

Shooting Guards

On his night J.R. can shoot with anyone…and boy do we mean anyone. Mr. Smith will have the Human Torch of little Splash Brother Klay Thompson to go up against each night though. A red hot shooter whose only off time seemed to be during the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil. And with last Summers thunderous addition of Durant taking focal point attention, the most unsung match-up could also be the most fun when both streak shooters are on.

Advantage: Warriors.

Small Forwards

The Warriors knew the only way they could take the Kings throne was by adding a knight to their roundtable who could pull sword from stone. And last Summers biggest free agent Kevin Durant was the right decision. Providing there is no identity issues in the leadership battle then Durant can perfectly match-up with LeBron in something scripted by the Basketball Gods. But King James bible of basketball is sermon serving us something historic. And his legend only gets better by the David and Goliath contests.

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Advantage: Cavs.

Power Forwards.

No love was shown to the “other” Kevin until he did all the Game 7 intangibles that make for a champion and Big Three certified piece. But for the Dubs Fantastic Four Draymond Green is the talk and the walk. He’s a beast. Yet each forward in this one-on-one will bring something the other can’t counter.

Advantage: Tie.

Centers

Bogut’s injury last finals put the Dubs step on the back foot last year and many in California claim that that’s why they weren’t crowned King. Zach Pachulia is a smooth free-flowing replacement that brings new, big life to G.S.W.’s death line-up. But without bias we think Canadian Tristan Thompson is poised and primed for a breakout. Unless the Kardashian curse breaks him.

Advantage: Cavs.

Bench

The Warriors have so much on their front-line they don’t need much of a second unit. But the talents of ‘Bron-stopper Andre Igudola, David West, Matt Barnes and Shaun Livingston make sure this team can march on whoever is wounded in battle. But after the Cavs added former All-Stars like three-point cupid Kyle Korver and former L best P.G. backup Deron Williams to vets like championship certified James Jones and Richard Jefferson (and let’s not forget players like dunking Iman Shumpert and the return of Larry Sanders) you know whose coming out in splinters.

Advantage: Cavs.

Head Coach

First year champions Coach Kerr and Coach Lue are both former playing days, Point Guard, clutch champs who played with the Mike and Kobe dynasties respectively. Steve Kerr may be more seasoned pro, but Lue isn’t afraid to tell King James to “shut the f### up”! Are you?

Advantage: Warriors.

In the end the Cavs will defend the land they claimed, no matter how much Dub Nation stands up. Cleveland wine will see championship gold again.

Prediction: Cavs in 7…and 1 Overtime.

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RIP OKC. Dame Time Clocks Thunder’s Reign From Way Downtown PDX

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RIP OKC. Dame Time Clocks Thunder’s Reign From Way Downtown PDX
What Time Is It...

Blazing!

Even two games down the Thunder bolt boys joked like the last laugh that was yet to be delivered, like this what’s the 4-1 punchline. Zero to zero for the best series of these NBA Playoffs so far, Russell Westbrook rocked the baby at Damian Lillard, before mocking his wrist watch celebration like he did Laker meme Lance Stephenson’s air guitar strumming one with D’Angelo Russell ice in his veins. All before Paul George double pumped a dunk as time expired on a game that was already decided way before the horn blared.

“It is the unemotional, reserved, calm, detached warrior who wins, not the hothead seeking vengeance and not the ambitious seeker of fortune.”

But then last night before posting that Sun Tzu quote on Instagram in this art of war. In the face of P.G. the PDX P.G. beat the buzzer as Dame Time struck from way downtown RIP City. With an Austin 3:16 bottom line to give OKC the history engraved tombstone and the Portland Trail Blazers a legendary storied, legacy making championship belt for this classic series in hardwood history.

Reminding us of that time Charles Barkley responded to a Nike barbershop ad featuring former Golden State Warriors Chris Webber and Latrell Sprewell joking about dunking on him by putting all the points on them in the following game and running past them on the bench draped in dejected towels shouting, “put that in a f###### commercial!”

Colder than February. More ruthless than a convertible in Summer.

Damian Lillard 37 Footer Over Paul George
Damian Lillard buries series clinching 37-footer over Paul George – Photo Blazers

37 feet high and rising from deep. Deep as the halfcourt abyss. With the this time of season cherry blossoms blooming outside Portlandia’s Moda Center, the City of Roses was handing everyone from basketballs Oklahoma home funeral flowers. And leading the precession, hearse wrapping it up like his killer bars, Dame D.O.L.L.A was right on the money like exact change only please, waving goodbye. Even if Paul George walking off in defeat like LeBron James and getting his Vlade Divac on in a press conference more awkward than a blind date with an ex called it a “bad shot”. To which the great Dame simply replied with a tweeted “lol” (see also, laugh and last). He better Big Shot Bobby Horry check a newspaper or something. Dame Time didn’t just beat the buzzer. He took baby powder to it. As Dame had all the Louis Armstrong time in the world with ten on the clock and the last shot in this final frame to dribble drive or dish. But instead, toying with George like a cat does a mouse, as David beat Goliath like Jerry did Tom, Lillard had the sand to set up shop, his spot and his shot from what looked like a bunker. A hole in one, with the cocksure confidence of Tiger Woods putting for Masters glory in Augusta and embracing his kids, two decades after doing the same with his pops all for the green jacket.

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From this master, like a tap in putt with no Mulligan to carry, this was always going in. Nothing but net. All water like those Thunder tears. O.K. now that was a 3.

And to think I swore I wouldn’t go back on social media until after the new Avengers movie came out, but DAMN Dame Time! Spoiler alert, this is the new ‘Endgame’ now.

Cousy. Pettit. Sam Jones. Wilt. Chuck Barkley. M.J. And now the Dame train as the legendary Lillard goes hard to join this lineage as the only players to hit 50 in a playoff clinching game. And what a way to do it, fading away to clock out of the game and series 118-115 for the greatest Portland playoff moment since the G.O.A.T’s shrug. As mobbed by teammates on the floor he sank into, telling Russ to ‘Get Out’ his house. Peeling off like Jordan, Damian all on his own like a devil, GIF turned into an instant meme, as he turned the Thunder into a memory (you know the one were everyone loses their mind around that smirking kid with glasses in the raincoat? Well now guess which superheroes face is super imposed?). Staring into the camera with that look you know was for Russell Westbrook.

Blazers Win Damian Lillard Buries 37 Footer
Blazers Win. – Photo: Portland Trail Blazers

What a whole mood.

Whose left holding the baby now?

Dame didn’t even have to check his watch. Why? Him, her, them. They all knew what time it was. His. As Dame Lillard just did it in the Oregon home of Nike. Shoe dog like Phil Knight, running off victory for the courtside crowd, including legendary comedian Cedric the Entertainer for this last laugh lap. As this Gladiator hit one of the best and biggest shot fired in NBA history. Subliminal and literal.

Are you not entertained?

Why not?

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Two-time U Sports MVP Kadre Gray declares for NBA Draft

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Two Time U Sports Mvp Kadre Gray Declares For Nba Draft
Photo: Laurentian Voyageurs

Two-time U Sports basketball player of the year Kadre Gray of the Laurentian Voyageurs has declared for the 2019 NBA Draft.

Gray, a 6’1″, 190 lbs junior guard from Toronto, Ontario has been terrorizing Canadian university basketball since his freshman season — cementing his legacy as a two-time MVP and scoring champion with a ridiculous 26.3 points per game career average in three full-seasons with the Voyageurs.

The 2016-17 U Sports rookie of the year award winner took the league by storm — leading the country in scoring as a freshman with 23.2 points per game. He finished second in his sophomore season with 24.4 points per game and led the nation in assists total with 141.

He took his game to a different stratosphere in his junior season — increasing his league-leading output to the third highest scoring average in Canadian university hoops since 1981-1982 with 31 points per game.

Calgary Dinos’ all-time great’s Richard Bohn and Karl Tilleman both led the nation with higher and ironically, identical scoring averages.

Both Bohn and Tilleman averaged 32.8 points per game. Bohn doing it during the 1995-1996 season and Tilleman, a two-time Canadian Olympian and NBA draft pick dominating the league in 1981-82 — before Canada’s adoption of the three-point line.

Two Time U Sports Mvp Kadre Gray Dribbling Declares For Nba Draft
U Sports MVP Kadre Gray dribbling against Ottawa Gee-Gees – Photo: Laurentian Voyageurs

Not a one-trick-pony, Gray averaged 7.4 rebounds and 6.2 assists, 1.6 steals in 34.1 minutes per game.

Gray erupted for a career-high 48 points in a 101-81 win over the Lakehead Thunderwolves — shooting 13-of-23 from the floor and burying 19-of-20 shots from the foul-line on November 3rd, 2018.

He delivered his third 40-plus point game of his career with another impressive performance — 16-of-29 shooting against the Ryerson Rams on February 9th, 2019 — his lowest scoring output of the season was 23 points on multiple occasions.

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Kadre Gray U Sports Basketball Highlights
Two Time U Sports Mvp Kadre Gray Caree Conference Stats
Laurentian Voyageurs’ Kadre Gray Career Conference Stats
Two Time U Sports Mvp Kadre Gray Caree Conference Stats Other Stats
Laurentian Voyageurs’ Kadre Gray Career Conference Stats
Kadre Gray FIBA Americas Qualifiers Against Brazil
Kadre Gray takes it to the rack during FIBA Americas Qualifiers Against Brazil – Photo: FIBA

Gray also represented Canada during the FIBA Basketball World Cup process playing in games against Venezuela and Brazil.

Prior to Laurentian, Gray honed his skills as a two-time athlete at Eastern Commerce Collegiate for three-years — leaving track and field (high jump, 100 meters) in the rear-view mirror and transferring to rival Oakwood Collegiate to conclude his high school career.

Ryerson’s seven-foot center Tanor Ngom also declared, making it the first time in the history of Canadian university basketball that two U Sports players have entered the draft.

Additionally, with a record number of Canadian players in the NCAA tossing their names in the draft process we should expect 2019 to be the biggest year for Canadian’s at the NBA Draft.

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