The Golden State Warriors broke Cleveland hearts Wednesday, beating the Cavs 118-113 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals to go up 3-0 in the series and move within one win of their second title in three years.
The freight train ain’t slowing down, either.
“Look, Adam Silver is a great commissioner, and he has been presented with a giant problem,” CBS Sports Radio host and CBSSports.com columnist Bill Reiter said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “While I don’t think it should be the end of LeBron James’ all-time greatness talk – even though it will be – it is the end of parity in the NBA for at least (the foreseeable future). Kevin Durant is reportedly going to take less money to lock up the core of this team. That means we’re talking about Klay Thompson, who’s up in two years, and Draymond Green in three years, potentially sticking around for five or six or seven more years.”
That’s bad news for the NBA, and that’s bad news for the Cavs. Case in point: LeBron James (39) and Kyrie Irving (38) combined for 77 points Wednesday – and still lost.
“If LeBron James plays at the height of his powers (and) Kyrie Irving finally (plays) like a superstar and J.R. Smith (hits) five three-pointers,” Reiter said, “if that team, at home in a Game 3 – the game where that’s your best chance to to steal a game against the Warriors – can’t get it done, man, I don’t see anybody beating this team for two or three or four or even five years. Adam Silver should be angry and defensive. He’s got a major problem on his hands.”
Reiter, in fact, believes that James may have won his last NBA title. He also thinks the Warriors could reel off three or four or five or six titles in a row.
“This is terrible news for the NBA because it’s not bad news for just a season or two; it could be a level of domination we haven’t seen since the ’60s going on five or six years,” Reiter said. “The best-case scenario for Adam Silver is that Klay Thompson cares enough to go out there and get all alpha and seek a max deal somewhere else . . . and then Draymond Green does the same thing. And even then, that’s three years from now. I hope your listeners really like watching the Warriors destroy the dreams of other teams because that’s going to be the league for a very long time.”
Durant scored 31 in Game 3. Thompson scored 30. Curry scored 26. They combined to shoot 29-of-55 (52.7 percent), including 15-of-27 (55.5 percent) from three.
“This Warriors team is so overpowering and so good and so unfair,” Reiter said. “We talk about the Kevin Durant three-pointer, we talk about Steph Curry and the threes – this Warriors squad plays incredible defense. Kay Thompson, what he does defensively, even when he’s not going off for a bunch of points, which he did in the first half last night, they will turn your water off, whoever you are. . . . The Warriors, even against that (1996) Bulls team, would continue to find a way to ge open shots from the three or four guys who just seem unstoppable, including Draymond Green, who is shooting almost 50 percent from three in the playoffs. They’re overwhelming in what they can do.”
Not even another monster game from LeBron – 39 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists – could stop Golden State.
“No fault with LeBron’s game,” Reiter said. “I just find fault with his time in history where he ran into a team this good. . . . “This team is just that good. It’s that unfair. I don’t know that Michael (Jordan) could do any more than LeBron James has done in this series.”
In the end, if Golden State wins Game 4 on Friday, the Warriors will have gone 16-0 in the playoffs and will be, for Reiter, the greatest team of all time.
“I hate it because I grew up in Chicago and grew up on that Bulls team and that 72-win Bulls team and was a kid for it and remember it fondly,” he said. “But yes, if you are going to run through the playoffs and not lose a game, if you’re going to have two MVPs – one of whom you add after a 73-win, record-setting regular season – and then you utterly destroy the willpower and hopes and dreams of LeBron James, one of the best players of all time, yeah, this Warriors team is clearly going to be the best team of all time.”