The Golden State Warriors are your 2017 NBA champions! The Warriors breezed their way through the playoffs with a 16-1 postseason record. Their 15 straight wins to start the playoffs set an NBA record for most consecutive wins to begin a postseason, and I personally think they could have done a complete 16-0 sweep if they wanted to. Early on there was speculation that the addition of KD may throw off the Warriors’ chemistry and that there would be too many egos in the locker room (after all, there’s only one ball). That clearly wasn’t an issue however, and this Golden State team will go down as one of the greatest in NBA history.
So why not solidify that by being the only team to ever sweep their way through 4 straight series in the playoffs? I speculated as to some of the motivations behind the Warriors throwing game 4 in my recent Wake Up With Whitty post. Obviously the team and city benefit from the added revenue of an extra game, plus it’s always great for the fans when you can win the championship on your home court. The NBA also stood to benefit from a longer series as it gave them a chance to showcase their superstars on the biggest stage for as long as possible, which would ultimately lead to more revenue. But after thinking about it more I think I’ve finally stumbled onto the real reason why they let Cleveland take game 4. Sweeping your way through the post season obviously shows that you are the most dominating team in the league. But the one thing it doesn’t do? It doesn’t prove that you have the ability to hold onto a 3-1 series lead. You may have forgotten by now, but Golden State blew a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA finals to this same Cleveland Cavaliers team. Sweeping Cleveland this year doesn’t erase that narrative. No, their only option to remove the “Warriors Blew a 3-1 Lead” stigma was to overcome that same scenario again. But should it even count if they fabricated that 3-1 series lead scenario for the sole purpose of getting that monkey off of their back? I, for one, say “no”. They may be the most talented team in history. They may have set an NBA record for most wins to start the post season this year. They may have set the NBA record for most regular season wins last year. But to me, they’ll always be that team that blew a 3-1 lead to Lebron James and the Cavs in the finals. #neverforget