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JUNE 2 - JUNE 10, 2015

Stage Set for Battle Between Curry, James in NBA Finals

By Tony Farina

JUNE 2, 2015

The NBA finals begin this week (Thursday, June 4) between the Golden State Warriors, featuring league MVP Stephen Curry of the Warriors, and the best player on the planet, LeBron James, who returned to his roots this year in a bid to put long-suffering Cleveland on the world stage by winning a championship.

      Curry is a great shooter, maybe the best to ever play the game, and he has plenty of help on a team that had the league’s best record under new coach Steve Kerr.  But despite a not-so-great start to the season, James has reached the playoffs, overcome the loss of high-scoring Kevin Love due to a freak injury in the first round against the Celtics, and has led the Cavaliers to the final dream pairing.

      I have been a basketball fan for many years, going back to Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson, and I saw the great rivalry between maestro Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics with the magnificent Larry Bird.

      And of course there were the Michael Jordan years when perhaps the greatest player ever led the Chicago Bulls to six world championships despite a break after the first three to try a little baseball.

       Now we have Curry against James, a match-up that may rival Johnson and Bird for pure entertainment as Curry is a lights-out shooter and James can do it all.   I’m pulling for James to win this for Cleveland.  Like Buffalo, Cleveland gets very little respect as a city or a sports town.  You have to go all the way back to Jim Brown to remember a championship from Cleveland (1964) and James has put a lot on his back coming home to try and win the title for the hometown.

      I like the Cavs in seven games if LeBron stays healthy and Kyrie Irving is able to go after suffering a knee sprain in the series win over Atlanta.  James is big, strong, gifted beyond description, unselfish, and a leader and role model on and off the court.  He has taken hits from the press first for leaving Cleveland to go to Miami (two titles, four finals), and then for leaving Miami to go back home.  I’m sorry but I think he did what was best for his career in leaving Cleveland and showed his character and loyalty in returning and immediately making the Cavaliers a serious title threat.

      I’m looking forward to Thursday’s tip-off and I expect an exciting series with Golden State likely to win the first game at home, setting the stage for the fierce competition to follow, especially when they reach Cleveland in Game 3.  I wish Buffalo had a LeBron James to take us for a championship ride but players like him---in any sport---only come along once in a great while.  But he’s here, playing for Cleveland, and for now I’m hoping he wins it all for our lowly neighbors whose hate for LeBron for leaving has turned to love on his return.  I hope he finishes the journey.





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©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina