As the Cavaliers steamroll through the East, on their way to a second-straight appearance in the NBA Finals, two things are becoming
more and more obvious: the Cavs are the people's choice, with hoop fans across the country climbing aboard to root for a tortured fan base that was recently (once again) profiled in ESPN's "Believeland."
Despite being an underdog if and when they reach the Finals, they'll still be carrying a pressure usually reserved for the favorite. The pressure is to win it all, this year.
Think about it. Everything has lined up perfectly for the Cavaliers. They made the right move to the right coach at the right time. They've come together as a team both on and off the court. And as they've cruised through the first two rounds of the playoffs, they've earned rest, and have stayed healthy.
Even the defending champs can't say the same. Who knows if injuries will continue to affect Steph Curry as these playoffs move forward? The time is now for the Cavaliers, who may never be healthier, and may never be hotter.
Then there's the psyche of a team that has tried twice and failed, should the Cavaliers fall short.
LeBron may have failed in his first attempt with the Miami Heat, but he certainly didn't in his second. Or third.
If the Cavs get another shot at the Warriors, there will be an intense pressure to knock them off their throne.
The last team to lose back-to-back NBA Finals? The New Jersey Nets, back in 2002 and 2003. Richard Jefferson was on that team. He'll be the first to tell you that those Nets can't compare to these Cavaliers. But, those Nets never got over the hump.
The Cavaliers are built for the long haul. LeBron said recently that he wants to play into his late 30's, meaning at least another 5 or 6 years. And there's no reason to believe David Griffin would shake this team up if it fell short.
Still, there are also no guarantees in life (or the NBA), and that includes health. Everything has gone the Cavs' way through the first two rounds. If and when they reach the Finals again, they need to finish the job.
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