The Bill Russell award goes to the Most Valuable Player of the NBA finals and, since its inception, has been awarded to 28 different players. Michael Jordan won it six times, Magic Johnson, Shaq and Tim Duncan have won it three times and Willis Reed, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have all won it twice. On every occasion since 1969 the winner of the finals MVP (renamed in 2009) has also won the NBA title. On the very first occasion that the award was given, however, in 1969, it went to Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers. The 1969 NBA finals saw the Bill Russell-coached-and-led Boston Celtics defeat West’s Lakers 4-3 for Russell’s eleventh title.
About Andrew Sanders
Andrew was something of a latecomer to the game of basketball, having given up rugby after leaving high school. Joining Edinburgh’s fabled Pentland Tigers, he quickly moved on to the East Lothian Peregrines in the Scottish national league before moving to Belfast where he played with Queens and then with Belfast Star. After a year in the superleague, he moved back to Scotland and played with the Scottish Rocks in the BBL. He “retired” (the McDermott rule for using the word “retire” instead of “stopped playing” does require you to have been paid to play, so technically he retired) and moved to Seattle where he began life as an academic, which currently sees him working at University College Dublin. He is a legitimate non-frontrunning Miami Heat fan, having taken up following the team in 2001.
So what was it that made the Warriors roll through the Cavs in Game 4 in Quicken Loans Arena? Was it the insertion of Andre Igoudala into the starting lineup over Andrew Bogut? Was it the short turnaround after Game 3 and the lack of energy from the Cavs? Could it have been the Warriors are finally proving what everyone says that they are just better than the Cavs? It’s possible that it could be a touch of them all.
Let’s be honest here. The Golden State Warriors have been blown out by the Cleveland Cavaliers in two straight games. Or at least they would have, if the Cavs had even a second player who was worth something resembling a max contract. The scores may have read 100-108, 95-93 and 96-91, but Cleveland has dominated the games through the intensity of their role players. At the start of the season, who would have believed that, even playing alongside LeBron, Mosgov (finally shedding the image of that Blake Griffin dunk), Dellavedova and JR Smith would be leading a team that won 67 regular season games in the NBA finals?
Yes Golden State did win Game 1 but the series hasn’t started yet. It actually only begins when someone loses at home.
A late injury to Kyrie Irving might have been the costliest incident in last night’s game 1 of the 2015 NBA finals. Irving’s as yet undisclosed injury in overtime robbed the Cavs of their dynamic point guard who turned out to be a dynamic defender, with two notable blocks on MVP Steph Curry – one at the end of regulation setting the Cavs up for an attempted game winner.
Yesterday, TCC all-timer Mike Calo wrote on how he thinks this year is the year that Cleveland finally wins its first championship since 1964. The city of Cleveland, with three major professional sports teams, has not won a title since the Cleveland Browns (original version) won the 1964 NFL title – not the Super Bowl, though, that didn’t come into existence until 1967. The Cleveland Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1948 and, of course, the Cleveland Cavaliers have never won the NBA title. The only sadder sports cities are Ottawa, which only has the Senators NHL team and hasn’t won anything since 1927, and San Diego, which won the 1963 NFL title, but has never seen a World Series, or indeed an NBA title – though it currently has no NBA team. Of course, it’s San Diego. They have a lot more going for them there in southern California than other parts of North America.
With league MVP Steph Curry taking a scary tumble last night during a game 4 defeat to the seemingly-already-defeated Houston Rockets, NBA fans were reminded once again of the harsh realities of the grueling NBA season and the amount of exposure that the very top players receive to serious injuries.
The best in the East and the best in the West are both through, with Cleveland and Golden State having swept Boston and New Orleans respectively.
The Warriors triumph was not without struggles and they overcame significant deficits on the road to close out the series and give their stars a full week of rest ahead of their second round series against, most likely, Memphis.
The Thunder missed the playoffs. Not by much, but still missed out for the first time since their first season in Oklahoma. The Thunder ownership, headed by Clay Bennett, is reportedly considering replacing former Coach of the Year Scott Brooks. SportsNet New York reported that University of Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie, who played for the Thunder back in 2009-2010, could replace Brooks.