Have you ever waited a long duration of time for something, and your expectation for said event is so high that when the reality is underwhelming you just feel empty inside… until something happens at the last minute to make said event worth it?
Like, hypothetically (of course), say you made plans to test your poker ability at Borgata in Atlantic City and you lived in Maryland. It’s a two-and-a-half, three-hour drive, so the entire time down you’re getting excited, listening to music while talking poker with one of your boys and debating what to do in certain situations. You’re pumped.
And then you sit there for the first five hours of your session pretty much card dead. You’re not losing… but you’re not exactly making enough to justify tolls and gas, especially when Maryland Live! and Horseshoe are literally right around the corner. What a waste, right?
Except just when you’re about to give up, (hypothetically) you get pocket 7’s in the cut-off. The hi-jack raises to $35. Partially out of frustration and partially out of your read of weakness, you 3-bet to $90 (I’m the effective stack with $2,200 at 5–10 since he has like 5K). He calls.
Flop comes 7–7–8. I can bore you with all the details from this point, but for spatial purposes let’s just say I got full value out of my quads because he had pocket 8’s, making the entire session worth it.
As always, the hand I just described goes (no pun intended) right along with my feelings about the NBA Finals to this point. Cumulatively, we’ve had 4.75 snoozers. I’ll go in decimals because Game 4 was more awesome than the final score indicates since the Dubs were down for most of the game until taking the lead and winning going away, and Game 5 featured both teams playing at a high level for a half. 4.75 snoozers feels right.
The previous paragraph begs the question, “Why the hell should I even watch Game 7?”
I’ll give you seven answers:
- Because it’s Game 7. This is America. We don’t settle for ties… we break them.
- I hate overreacting, but if LeBron James can somehow will his Cleveland Cavaliers to win the road game of all road games, I would pretty much forget every single one of his four finals’ losses. Not only would his team become the first to overcome a 3–1 deficit in the finals, but he will have played at a super-human level to get them there (it will take another 35+ performance to beat the Warriors in Oracle). Notice most of his critics are holding their tongues about him not being clutch at present moment, considering he leads BOTH teams in EVERY MAJOR CATEGORY during the Finals (except rebounding… he’s tied with Tristan Thompson). If the Cavs win AND he has a big performance, how is he NOT one of the top five to ever do it?
- On the other side, the two-time defending MVP Stephen Curry is, for lack of a better word, sputtering. I know he had a big-time Game 4, and the box score said he had 30 in Game 6, but his struggles pretty much throughout the playoffs have been well-documented. Unanimous MVP!? He hasn’t even been the best point guard in the series. Visually, I can see he’s not right from a health standpoint, but that’s no excuse. He needs to bring it in Game 7 to shut everyone up. That’s exactly what a two-time MVP would do… and I expect him to go out guns-blazing. For better or worse, expect 25 shots+ from him.
- Even if you’re not a basketball fan, you probably like free stuff. Taco Bell is already giving you two free tacos. A Cleveland “W” means you get three. Consider it a freeroll. (Editor’s note: upon writing this I became enraged when told that we’re only getting one taco… talk about being cheap.)
- We love history, and obviously a Golden State win would mean not only did they set the record for wins in a season with 73, but they will have validated their place in history with a championship. On the flipside, a loss would be brutal.
- Two guys who have underachieved during the finals are more or less fighting to stay with their respective teams. As it is, win or lose Kevin Love is probably a goner save for a historic Game 7. He hasn’t meshed well with the team pretty much all season, and at times during this series he is unplayable because of his porous defense. Meanwhile, Harrison Barnes is a free agent and wants a max-deal. Max-deal players don’t go 0–8 in a must-win game. You don’t forget max-deal players are on the court… unless he wants to channel his inner-Love. Either way, even though I’m not expecting a monster game from either one, whoever wins this match-up of underachievers will go a long way in saying who wins.
- Because you, like me, want those pocket 7’s. You want that payoff at the end of the rainbow when things look bleak. And I think we’ll get it. With the aforementioned factors in play, I think we’ll finally get a competitive game that’s decided in the final five minutes. We’ll get those close-ups of James and Curry in tense moments. We’ll see players play over their heads. We’ll see two teams fighting for their lives and legacies.