Blogtable: Under pressure in The Finals?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: Under pressure in The Finals? | Could Wade, Heat split up? | Assessing new coaches



VIDEODennis Scott and Rick Kamla reveal their Finals picks

> Fill in the blank: The pressure is on ________ in these NBA Finals.

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comStephen Curry. He’s got to close this out, this MVP year of his. Consider it the pressure of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy. Had James Harden and the Rockets prevailed in the West finals, it would have been a little bit of a referendum on Curry’s marvelous season and his ability to carry a team at his weight class. Now, facing LeBron James — another 2015 MVP candidate as well as a four-time winner — it’s even more so. Curry has to be his pesky, shot-making self and not let the big lug from Akron or any of the other Cavs drape themselves over him so effectively it swings the series in Cleveland’s favor.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.comLeBron James. Because it’s always on LeBron James. He’s the best player in the game today, one of the greatest of all-time and yet he continues to come under more scrutiny and draw more criticism and than any athlete of the era. So even though the Warriors had a league-best 67 wins, have cruised to a 12-3 record in the playoffs and are the favorites to win the series, it’s somehow on LeBron to prove that he’s a winner. That’s why we’re already hearing so much about his 2-3 record in The Finals.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.comDavid Blatt. Because the pressure has been on more when he was winning in the playoffs than when he was losing the first half of the regular season. Blatt has himself to thank for that, for almost calling timeout he didn’t have, and LeBron James to thank, for throwing his coach under the bus by waving off Blatt’s play and then going public afterward. The Cavaliers had a very good finish to the regular season and reaching The Finals is a big positive. But if Blatt has a rough series, it’s going to look very bad.

Shaun Powell, NBA.comUm, David Blatt? We all know the story by now, how he was hired before LeBron officially returned, how the Cavs struggled at the start, and the almost “timeout” and blah, blah, blah. Blatt has the chance to erase all the suspicion and doubt about his coaching ability with four more victories, and a Cavs win would be surely classified an upset. Of course, LeBron would likely get all the credit if that happens. Blatt cannot afford to be out coached by Steve Kerr and create a dark cloud over his head heading into next season.

John Schuhmann, NBA.comMy initial answer would be David Blatt. But really, how the Cavs’ offense performs is more in the hands of LeBron James than his coach. The Warriors are going to do their best to cut off the paint and keep James on the perimeter. It will be up to him to find ways to get to the basket, get his teammates open shots, or start making some jumpers himself. Thursday would be a nice time to break out of his 3-point shooting slump.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Draymond Green. The Warriors’ forward holds the key to his team’s championship dreams within him as this series nears. LeBron James always travels with two-ton boulders filled with pressure on his shoulders. He’s used to it by now. But Green will see much of LeBron in this series, perhaps on a one-on-one basis for a majority of that time. If he can have a Kawhi Leonard-like effect on LeBron throughout the course of the next 4-7 games, the Warriors will be celebrating with a parade these Bay Area streets haven’t seen the likes of in some 40 years (for their one and only NBA team). That’s serious pressure for a guy no one was sure would be a starter in this league.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.comLeBron James. The Finals revolves around him. His team is the underdog and yet he is expected to win. Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao — his starting front line — are out and Kyrie Irving has been hurt, and yet Cleveland is counting on him to lead his newly-rebuilt Cavaliers (at both ends of the floor, no less) to the city’s first championship since 1964. Don’t think he doesn’t feel that pressure, and don’t think it’s a bad thing either — in the end he’s going to find a way.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blogLet’s work backward here. I don’t really feel like the pressure is on Golden State, who had a terrific season and have reached The Finals for the first time in 40 years. With their young core, this should be Golden State’s first trip of many to The Finals. In Cleveland, for all the talk of the Cavs being cursed and unlucky, the reality is this is the Cavs’ second trip to The Finals in the last eight years. That’s thanks to LeBron, who has now made five consecutive Finals trips and shrugs off pressure. I guess if anything, the pressure is on Cleveland’s role players, who will have to chase the Splash Bros. and hit the open threes LeBron creates for them if Cleveland is going to have any chance.

31 Comments

  1. Karlo Garcia says:

    Lebron James has all the pressure.He had returned to Cleveland to accomplish(the prize) for his beloved team.

  2. Ziv David says:

    Dear dear Cavs’ ,
    When David beat Goliath it became an historic victory , but imagine if David & Goliath became friends & fought together from the same side ? No army could beat that ! The Cavs’ don’t have just 1 Goliath & 1 David – you have many Goliaths & many Davids – each & every one of you is mind , body & soul !
    “20 down or 20 up – nose never go down nor go up – eyes always straight to the final goal : FINAL VICTORY – no matter how many lost or won before . ”
    You can do it . You will do it . Never ever stop believing in self .
    Ain’t nothing stronger then the power of team !
    Strength , love & belief ,
    Cav-Heart .

  3. Vuyani says:

    Nope, not LeBron (this is a 2 time Champion remember), instead, the whole Warriors team is under pressure…

  4. Bruno says:

    Lebron is a victim of his own success. He should never have gotten to the nba finals with the cavs in 2007. Not with that team.
    Last year Dwade and Bosh almost didn’t help at all during the playoffs.
    So the only finals you can really hold against Lebron is the one against the mavs in 2011. There he really didn’t show up.

    I mean Lebron, because of the way his single presence influences a team so much, will probably end his career with around 10-12 finals appearances. Jordan and Kobe never made it there with their shabby teams so they only had 6 finals appearances. I really can’t imagine Jordan winning 12 of 12 honestly

  5. VICENTE says:

    Going in the pressure is on Cavs coach and Lebron. However if the Cavs win 1st game the picture is flipped and then pressure is on Kerr and Curry’s. My forecast is Cavs will win in 5 or 6 had the won 1st game. Otherwise it will be totally unpredictable and exciting rest of the series.

  6. miya says:

    curry of course he has more to prove and accomplish then james. He’s had his like what 15 years of fame he good. lol

  7. Nitin says:

    Pressure is on James but he is a better player than Steph Curry

    • Sam Reyes says:

      Exp cant be improvised, he has a team on his arms, but… he has done it before, curry its a first timer, he and the warriors will fall and irvings will its going to be there too, wont be pretty, but the cavs will prevail!!

  8. radu says:

    lang whitaker’s comments made most sense to me

  9. asdf says:

    So its no pressure on kerr? he has a team loaded With talent, if he loses this to a cavs team with maybe 8 legit nba players healthy, It should be considered a screw up. Blatt has coached big games before, he’s coached the euroleague final, that’s a big game btw, with alot of People in attendance.

  10. Blatt will win it all…..although you intent not to count the non NBA competitions, he is the most experienced coach out there!.
    Just take a look at the European championship last year …both semi & final game!!!!!.
    He himself won it all with a team that had a less than 10% chance!.

  11. Rodi Kobe says:

    forgot to tell you that I am a lakers fan……KObe needs help…..LAKERS get MArc Gasol from memphis and Leonard from san antonio, they will play along with a draft pick number 2 this year, young kobe hill gasol leonard Randle

  12. Rodi Kobe says:

    The pressure is on both….but please lebron is no Jordan nor Kobe………jordan had some good players and kobe had only 1 star with him and won 5…..if kobe or jordan got the players lebron had, they would win both each 10 championships……..Jordan and Kobe are the best….Please accept it…its the truth….

    • Skrutz says:

      Oh shut it, they all had teammates. Lebron is a totally different player. Kobe and MJ are an easy comparison, with Kobe trying to mimic Jordan. Lebron is built and plays completely different, you can’t compare one to one.

  13. Danny Loayon says:

    This year maybe a golden year for GSW but to win an NBA championship series a huge task for them.

  14. BIG-GAME-JAMES-23 says:

    LeBron does now have pressure… this is not the Heat… people expected the Heat to win it each and every season. With this Cavs team, people are shocked that they even made it this far with all the injuries they’ve suffered. However, if Love was playing and Irving was healthy, and even if Varejao was healthy and the Cavs had their full team then people would expect much more of the Cavs in this finals. GSW are clearly the favourites, not by alot, but cavs will still take this in 6 and shock the world.

  15. Jay says:

    Blatt and LeBron, but unlike all the others mentioned, they have been there before (even though we tend to discount anything which is not the NBA when it comes to Blatt 🙂 )

  16. Of course the pressure is on Lebron. I can see it now: LJ 2-4 all time in finals? Greatest player or greatest runner-up? “Best” in game always finishing second? Lebron going for Elgin Baylor’s record: Most losses in finals. Etc…

    If the warriors lose, it’ll look bad but they’ll keep their head up and come back next year. Same thing for Cavs, except for Lebron who will drench himself in workouts this summer and spend a couple of weeks trying to recover from what he would consider (and so would other people) another failed season.

    Lebron has most at stake here, legacy-wise. Many have a lot to gain, but Lebron has the most to lose.

  17. en. says:

    God bless cavs if Israel is behind them can’t no one stop em..

  18. Chris says:

    The pressure is on LBJ. Even though I pick GSW to win it all, if LBJ can somehow pull this off, it will validate the other championships. If the CAVs win, LBJ can start being compared to MJ. Keep in mind, I said “start”. If they do not win, he can never be brought into the conversations. Again, my pick is GSW and they will start a dynasty.

  19. taekayo says:

    I’d say its on Iggy, Green and Barnes. As LBJ always dig deeper once the finals come, these three will have their hands full on at least just limiting LBJ’s production and how it would dictate the series. Not at all an LBJ fan, and I don’t want to jump into the GS bandwagon either, so I’d be more objective about this. The fact remains that it’s LBJ carrying his team is how the Cavs would win this. Steph is the MVP and Klay can shoot the lights out, but it is GS’ defense that has got them to the finals. The league’s best D locking down on the league’s best palyer, that’s the Finals’ story.

    • Sam Reyes says:

      Check what team has the best defense in the playoffs, Yes Cavs are the inked team, now you have to choose, LBJ or SC

      Clay can do a lot but hes not been delivering, and JRS can deliver, but we dont know when.

      pretty even, the team that wants it more its the one that will get it all.

      irving Will its going to be crusial same with bogut in the center vs mosgov

  20. dustydreamnz says:

    Everyone, it’s the Finals.

  21. Dave says:

    Lebron has been to the finals the last 5 years. The media says they shouldn’t be here with all the injuries and Cleveland is the underdog. Not a single player on GSW has played in the Finals. The pressure is on GSW because they should win.

  22. Harriethehawk says:

    King James. Very big pressure. He made it this far so Cleveland Cadavalier fans want the whole shebang.

  23. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    The pressure is on Lebron, he wants to win for Cleveland, and this may be the chance he gets, nothing’s promised next year…

  24. Bob says:

    Yeah I agree – so many previous articles about the importance of the team to win but all this is about pressure on LBJ, when he is playing with a banged up team, rookie coach against a more consistent team, with a better season record, deeper bench, more defensive options. The pressure is on GSW, they are the favourites. I was surprised the Cavs beat the Bulls, then they beat the Hawks, pretty much without Irving. It is impressive but can they win it all, I still dont beleive but it they do, LBJ is 2nd greatest of all time.

  25. Nick says:

    Leave it to a bunch of journalists to try and make the achievement of conference champion a negative event. One day you laud the fact that Lebron is making his fifth straight trip to the finals and the next, it only matters if he wins. Must I remind you that only two teams in the NBA make it to the finals. It’s a great achievement. To think it “very bad” if one loses, or invalidating a player’s or coach’s season-long achievements is ludicrous.

  26. BIG-GAME-JAMES-23 says:

    Right now all the pressure is on the Warriors, everyone is clearly choosing them as the favourites to win it, the Warriors have the best record in the league. On top of that Cleveland doesn’t have their full roster with numerous injuries and Kyrie not being anywhere close to 100%. Nobody would be surprised if GSW wins this series.

    That is why I believe that all the pressure is on GSW, and GSW will fold under that pressure, LeBron and the Cavs will shock the world. They already shocked everybody by getting to the finals without Love and Kyrie and JR being suspended for two games. Overall Cleveland is winning this year in 6 games.

    • Cavs says:

      I agree dude God Bless to Cavs

      • rj says:

        God Bless to LBJ and the Cavs!!! To all media leave lebron alone.. can’t you find anything to screw. Luckily Pop and Spurs in not in the Finals.. He will deliberately turn-off the AC to beat Lebron. Media’s are so scared to screw Pop.