And so it’s over. The meme makers praised the Golden State Warriors for their sweep and perfect playoffs so far en route to a third consecutive NBA finals series. They didn’t make fun, too much, of the San Antonio Spurs, who were doomed the moment their best player went down in game 1.
The Warriors, even with Kawhi Leonard in Spurs uniform, are the more talented team, most likely the better team. But in game 1 they were being manhandled while Leonard was playing. Then came his first ankle injury involving teammate David Lee. And then came Zaza Pachulia. Deliberate? Not? Probably depends on whether you’re a fan of the Warriors or not. In any case, it completely changed that game and decided the fate of the series.
The Warriors become the first team in the 7-7-7-7 era to make the finals with 12 wins in 12 games. They haven’t lost in over two months, and whoever they face in the finals, regardless of how many games it takes that team to get there, will be overwhelming underdogs.
And yet it helps fuel the hate against the Warriors, which was burning strong since last season in any case. Their sweep came against teams with injured key players. Their conference finals triumph came with an ever bigger asterisk because their own player injured Leonard and took him out for good. They probably don’t care. For some of their players, the negative reaction might make it even sweeter.