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    Warriors in four

    May 31, 2018
    Warriors head coach Steve Kerr chats with NBA great Steve Nash, the team's player development consultant, in practice on the eve of Game One against the Cavs. AP
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    CHICAGO - She sprang to life in the disco era, on May 16, 1977, a mere two years before the 3-point shot was born.

    It was a time when NBA players' shorts were tight and their hair long. There were no shoe wars then and Converse was a tyranny because Nike hadn't swooshed in yet while Under Armour did not even exist.

    Disco has since surrendered to hip hop. Goodbye BeeGees, hello Drake.

    The lay-up used to be a most exciting shot but these days even a 2-on-1 fast break ends up in a corner 3.

    In 1977, when the Warriors hosted a Lakers game at the Oakland Coliseum, there were only 13,155 people in attendance. Last week at the Oracle Arena when the Warriors eviscerated the Rockets, 19,596 witnessed the Game 6 bloodshed.

    The NBA Finals used to be on taped delay and broadcast a week later. Now the Finals can be seen live via different platforms to over 200 countries and territories around the world.

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    You build a good product and the crowds will gather.

    Unfortunately, the rise of the NBA's popularity and the evolution of mega arenas has spiked prices all around.

    Arena beer used to be cheap, now it $10.50 at a Knicks game as of 2014. Parking used to be readily available. Now its scarce and expensive, as high as $60 at Staples Center.

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    In an SFGate.com post, Peter Hartlaub wrote that he paid $6 to watch a 1975 NBA Finals game between the Warriors and the Washington Bullets at the Cow Palace. If Peter wants to watch this year's NBA Finals at the Oracle, the average ticket price is $1,727 according to Forbes.com and $689 at the Quicken Loans Arena.

    She is 41 now and has aged gracefully amid the sea of change. She has a new name but her appeal remains cherubic. NBA players can snag a model girlfriend or marry a smart woman, but they all want her, to have and to hold, to burnish their credentials.

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    I have met her many times and will do so again next week in Cleveland. It's a gift to be around her. To adore her, to gawk at her beauty, to be willingly blinded by her shimmer.

    I wish I can interview her. But I possibly can't. Because she's shy and she can't talk.

    She is only two feel tall and weighs 14.5 pounds.

    She is the Larry O'Brien trophy.

    The hardware used to be known at the World Championship trophy before being rechristened in 1984 when David Stern took over as NBA commissioner. Designed by the renowned Tiffany and Co., the treasured jewel "depicts a basketball motion over a stylized segment of hoops and basket. The basketball depicted on the trophy is regulation size of nine-inch diameter."

    The trophy, according to Tiffany's, "is fully handcrafted in sterling silver then vermeiled in in 24-carat gold. Each year, two highly skilled artisans - a spinner and a silversmith - labor approximately 80 hours on the trophy."

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    The Warriors have won two Larry O'Brien trophies in the last three years. They will get another one sometime next week and no later than June 11.

    This year's NBA Finals is not wanting in star power. What it lacks, however, is stiff competition, because this one is a mismatch of titanic proportion, ala Duterte vs Sereno, or PNP versus drug lords.

    In Las Vegas, where the oddsmakers are routinely spot on, you'd have to bet $1100 on the Warriors to win $100 over the Cavaliers in the series. In today's Game 1, Golden State is a 12-point favorite.

    Over at ESPN, all 24 of their NBA experts picked Golden State.

    Both teams have played 17 playoffs games thus far. Golden State has scored more, 109.1 to 101.2. The Warriors shot better from the field, 46.2 percent to 40.2 percent. The Warriors are also better 3-point shooters - 35.2 percent to 33.9 percent - and better free throw shooters, 81.5 percent to 75.6 percent.

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    Golden State rebounds more, 46.2 to 40.2, and doles out more assists 25.6 to 18.8 a games. The only fly in the Warriors' ointment is their 13.5 turnovers against the Cavs' 12.8.

    While the Cavaliers are heavy underdogs, they have the NBA"s top dog in LeBron James. But the Warriors have four hybrids - Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. The math is simple, four against one.

    LeBron is averaging a scary 34 points, 9.2 rebounds and 8.8 dimes a contest but he enters the Finals having played 743 minutes or 41.3 per while the well-rested Warriors have nobody playing more than 38 minutes a game.

    The King has carried his deficient team through Indiana, Toronto and Boston. But asking him to dethrone these Warriors is like chopping off a man's arms and legs and then expecting him to swim the Ohio River.

    Kevin Durant is averaging 29 points while Steph Curry has 24.8. Draymond Green only has 11 points per but he grabs 11.6 rebounds and issues 8.6 assists. And then there's Klay Thomspon, who has made 55 triples so far.

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    It's just too much Warriors.

    Beyond LeBron, there's Kevin Love, who brings 13.9 points and 10 rebounds to the table. But he is brittle, so much so that if you sneeze next to him he immediately gets a cold.

    George Hill is third in production with 9.7 points but his 2.2 assists is deplorable for a starting point guard.

    J.R. Smith is as reliable as a weather forecast while Kyle Korver, who is among the greatest 3-ball shooters in NBA history, is a liability chasing those speed-happy Warrior guards.

    Throughout the course of these 2018 NBA playoffs, the Cavaliers were either unexpectedly good or horribly bad.

    Against Golden State, LeBron and his court will be predictably crushed.

    Warriors in four.

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    Warriors head coach Steve Kerr chats with NBA great Steve Nash, the team's player development consultant, in practice on the eve of Game One against the Cavs. AP
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