NBA: Why We Need LeBron James And The Cleveland Cavaliers In The NBA Finals


For the betterment of our viewing entertainment, we desperately need LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals 

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Every fiber of my being is being torn apart as I write this, but it’s in every NBA fan’s best interests for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to make the NBA Finals.

I know, I know, who wants to spend yet another spring watching and waiting for Skip Bayless’ head to explode as he goes on some ridiculous LeBron rant, or seeing how many different ESPN personalities can think up slightly altered ways to say the exact same thing? It’ll be tough, but looking at the alternatives in the Eastern Conference, it’s a sacrifice we may have to make in order to preserve another exciting NBA Finals.

Let’s look at those other options in the East.

I think it’s safe to rule out the Nets, Celtics, Bucks, Raptors and the Wizards, barring a situation in which the ghost of Red Auerbach overtakes Randy Wittman’s body and stops him from running the Washington offense into the ground.

That leaves us with the Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls.

I’ve loved the Hawks all year long. Their unanticipated emergence into Eastern Conference supremacy with

Apr 10, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward

DeMarre Carroll

(5) (center) reacts in pain on the bench against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half at Philips Arena. The Hawks defeated the Hornets 104-80. Mandatory


: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

first-year coach Mike Budenholzer, their fun-to-watch team play and their 19-game win streak in December-January, made them one of the NBA’s most intriguing teams to follow.

But their level of play dipped a bit after the all-star break, and despite finishing with 60-wins, the excitement from earlier in the season is gone. Maybe it was the injuries that sidelined Paul Milsap and Al Horford for periods of time, or the obstruction of justice arrests of Thabo Sefolosha and Pero Antic, where Sefolosha sustained a season-ending broken ankle injury, and the NYPD was totally in the wrong (just ask Thabo).

Whatever it is, the Hawks have lost the term I abhor more than Amar’e Stoudemire does fire extinguishers, and that is the “it” factor. Whatever “it” was that made them so exciting earlier this year is gone. They are still sort capable of reaching the NBA Finals, and maybe even winning it all if the Warriors, Spurs, and Grizzlies all decide not to show up, but with that excitement gone, any finals matchup they could draw just isn’t an exciting one. Unless you have a 678 area code attached to your phone number, don’t try to tell me that a Hawks vs Warriors Finals excites you, because that is a lie.

An NBA Finals matchup that includes the Bulls would be slightly more entertaining. I mean, who wouldn’t want

Mar 20, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls forward

Nikola Mirotic

(44) reacts after a play against the Toronto Raptors during the second half at the United Center. The Chicago Bulls defeat the Toronto Raptors 108-92. Mandatory


: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

to watch at least four games of Tom Thibodeau losing his mind on the sideline? With the re-emergence of Derrick Rose against the Bucks, the Bulls are seemingly a solid finals team.

The potential for a D-Rose vs Stephen Curry matchup, or a Gasol Brothers clash, is an enticing one for me, but it just doesn’t carry the same weight as any Cavaliers matchup would. Although I know that a Bulls run to the NBA Finals would mean them likely beating the Hawks and the Cavs, and in turn hitting their stride (incredibly late albeit), they just aren’t a team that really excites, especially if they’re going up against the fast paced offenses of the Western Conference elite.

Plus no one wants to see any more of Nikola Mirotic’s beard sweat than they already have to, right?

As great as the Hawks and Bulls are, they just won’t provide us with the storylines or the excitement that a Cavs vs any Western Conference contender finals would. Seriously, tell me you wouldn’t want to watch every minute of any of these scenarios:

Cavaliers vs Warriors

  • A 75% chance that Draymond’s trash talk is so brutal that it forces Matthew Dellavedova into retirement.

Cavaliers vs Spurs

  • Part three of the LeBron/Spurs Trilogy
  • DPOY Kawhi on LeBron again
  • 39-year old Tim Duncan terrorizing Kevin Love
  • At least four nationally televised instances in which Gregg Popovich shuts down Doris Burke harder than Billy Costigan at the end of The Departed

Cavaliers vs Clippers

  • LeBron, Kyrie and Kevin Love going up against CP3, Blake, and DeAndre.
  • At least 2 instances where LeBron roughs up Blake a little too much and they proceed to get into each other’s faces.
  • The opportunity to see Austin “I’m only here because my dad is the coach” Rivers actually play in the Finals.

Side note: Austin played the game of his life during Game 4 in San Antonio. It almost made me feel slightly bad for all of the Rivers family bashing I’ve done this season…actually no, not really. You’re next Spencer Rivers!

If we ended up with a Cavaliers vs Rockets series, I would blow my brains out.

Wouldn’t you be happy with any of those NBA Finals pairings?

We need the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals! More importantly, we need LeBron in the NBA Finals. For as much as many of us claim to dislike LeBron, we need him. Any true NBA fan should be able to recognize that having the NBA’s best player in the finals is the best thing that can happen for the game.

And we also need to recognize how fortunate we’ve been to have the league’s best player make four straight finals. That’s four straight springs of getting to watch someone play basketball at the highest level, on the biggest stage. We need him. He’s the Joker to our Batman, the Stringer Bell to our Jimmy McNulty, the Shooter McGavin to our Happy Gilmore.

Without LeBron, we’d be lost in a world of alpha-dog-less basketball.

As I illustrated at the beginning, this brings me no joy. Everything in my Celtics-loving heart is telling me to stop typing right now, and walk into oncoming traffic, because I really just don’t like LeBron and the Cavs.

But if you love NBA basketball, and don’t have a team still in the playoffs, start rooting for epic First Take tirades, lots of courtside camera pans to Johnny Manziel, annoying MJ/LeBron debates, and LeBron James in the NBA Finals, because trust me, you won’t get anything better from anyone else.

Next: NBA Playoff Power Rankings: Are the Cavs still the favorites?