Latest posts by Steve Goldman (see all)
- Goldman: Buckle up, roller-coaster ride about to begin - April 15, 2018
- LeBron’s double-digit streak truly amazing feat - March 29, 2018
There’s a group of people with whom I meet for business purposes once a year.
In the summer of 2014 — just prior to the draft and LeBron James’ return, I struck up a conversation with one of them about the Cavaliers and the NBA. I saw him again in 2015, just after Golden State had won the championship by beating the Cavs in the Finals, 4-2.
As many of you will recall, Cleveland had held a 2-1 lead in that series. James tried his best to turn that into a championship, but he and his remaining healthy teammates couldn’t overcome some severe injury problems.
That fact seemed to be lost on my friend, however. When I saw him in 2015, he said, “What happened? I thought (the Cavaliers) had it!”
Obviously, I thought to myself, he had not been paying close attention. “Had it?” Without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love? The question didn’t seem to be why they didn’t win it all, but how did they get as close as they did?
I suppose I should take it easy on my friend. After all, he is not from Cleveland and doesn’t get all the daily local reports. It’s just that thinking about that, and noting that the Cavaliers are about to tipoff their 2017-18 postseason, reminds me of how easy it can be to start making assumptions that aren’t necessarily warranted.
I don’t know how things will end up for the Cavs in these playoffs. I will say that I am not concerned about their No. 4 seed, and I believe they have the potential to do great things if the new players and the old can mesh well enough. But I would also like to remind myself not to start thinking prematurely about the outcome when things seem to be leaning in a particular direction.
Yes, momentum is a key factor, and certainly the Cavs have used it to their advantage in the prior three postseasons. However, it can also turn, such as it did twice in opposite directions for the Warriors in 2016, first in the Western Conference Finals and then in the championship series.
And both of those were instances where a 3-1 deficit was overcome. Certainly, a 2-1 or 1-0 differential should not be thought of as a lock. My point is, though, that it is not at all unusual for people to think of it that way. And it usually serves to make me shake my head.
Although NBA basketball is meant to be fun for the fans, it is not for the faint-hearted. As we know, things can change quickly within one game, with leads of 20 or more points disappearing.
In fact, we saw consecutive examples recently, when the Cavaliers rallied from a 17-point deficit with 7:35 remaining to beat Washington on April 5, then two days later when they chopped a 30-point deficit all the way down to one before bowing in Philadelphia.
So when you watch the Cavs — or whomever — this postseason, don’t get too complacent if your team is ahead in games or in the score, and don’t get too down if they trail. And don’t turn off the TV set. Record it and play it back later if live action gets to be too much for you.
Just make sure you see it out to the end.