There was a moment in these playoffs where it really looked questionable whether the Warriors and Cavaliers (both down 2-3 in the conference finals) would be making it to their 4th showdown. Then of course, Paul's hamstring went and the Celtics realized their best player can't buy beer (OK, maybe 2nd best, but I'm looking into the future in this post), and the outcome of the 2018 NBA campaign went back to feeling as obvious as it did before the season even started. Warriors roll Cavs, Durant does something awesome. Last night was that inevitability come to life. Not that there weren't some highlights along the way.

Despite ridiculous highlights from the King and a solid team performance, somehow even when the Cavs were tied in the 4th it felt like they were down 10. There was never, for me at least, a strong feeling that they were about to win it. Instead, it felt like everyone was just waiting for the moment when this would happen.

It's an added touch of cruelty that this is essentially the exact shot that Durant used to break Cleveland's back last year, except from further out. It's almost as if the entire 2017-18 NBA season was just an excuse for Durant to show that he could add another six feet to that dagger. Like it was all some bet he made with Curry in the offseason.

There's not much else to say here. We all saw this coming, except maybe during those couple days, or when the Cavs were struggling mightily against the Pacers and people were wondering which eastern team would be a foil for the Warriors greatness. I think I'll just include a couple of soul crushing images, one from Game 1 and one from last night, before we can all go back to speculating where LeBron is going (it's Houston. I don't know how, but it's Houston).

This is pretty much what you expect

This is just cruel

Losing a game at home where the Cavs have three of the five best performances and Rodney Hood, RODNEY HOOD, technically outplays Steph Curry? LeBron's starting his summer in a vendetta kind of mood.
Hello all.

It's been a long time. The last time I posted Steph Curry had never been to an NBA finals. Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Kobe were on NBA rosters. Basketball fans were obsessing over LeBron's offseason decisions...OK, some things haven't changed, but there have still been countless stories that came and went in the interim, many of which I wanted to post something about. It just simply didn't happen.

Partly to blame was my return to fulltime employment. My hat is off to anyone who can work a forty hour week and still manage to frequently update a blog with amusing, insightful material. Apparently I just didn't have it in me.

A lot can change in four years. Not just in basketball, but in the world and the culture we live in. In a strange way, I feel like mainstream sports reporting has caught up to this blog, but not necessarily in a good way. Attempts at objectivity have largely been replaced by opinion and derision. The blogger and the journalist have melded to a point where I can't tell one from the other anymore. So what used to be our job, mocking J.R. Smith, has now been handed over to Sports Illustrated. And you know what? They suck at it.

Which brings me to why I find myself with the need to communicate something right now. Like many of you, I've been reading coverage of the J.R. Smith brain fart from Game 1. For a fan of NBA absurdity, this should be an enjoyable experience; however, the more I read, the more I find my reaction turning from amusement to horror at the stupidity. Not at Smith, whose mistake occurred in real time without the benefit of being able to edit, but at the coverage. And last night I read something that has been buzzing around my head uncomfortably ever since.

In the insanely titled "Three reasons why J.R. Smith can never be forgiven," a Sports Illustrated writer whose name I'm not going to bother to type wrote the following statement: "There is nothing more fundamental to the game of basketball than the literal score. It’s what separates humans from animals."

Somebody actually thought up and wrote that last sentence, and Sports Illustrated decided to publish it. If a human can remember a score and an animal can't, then by implication this writer is calling J.R. an animal. Maybe it was meant as a joke, but it isn't a good one. It's far too close to what seems to be at the heart of bad sports writing: a disregard for the actual people who make up the sport.

Did J.R. make a mistake? Clearly. Does he deserve to have his humanity questioned for it? I don't think any sane person could really think so. But here we are. Apparently making a mistake in a ballgame now strips the player of their humanity and makes them unforgivable, far more so than a death row inmate who at least has the option of accepting Jesus before the switch is thrown.

Is this face beyond forgiveness?
Let's be honest. Not a single person reading this (assuming that there is a single person reading this) could snatch an offensive rebound away from Kevin Durant, which is what J. R. did to set up his gaffe. The sportswriter questioning J.R.'s humanity sure as hell couldn't. And even if any of us did get that rebound, we'd probably do something far more embarrassing with the ball than J. R. did. But he can never be forgiven because despite preventing the Warriors from getting the ball in a critical situation, he messed up once he had it.

I love basketball: the good and the bawful. But sometimes reading and hearing what people have to say about it makes my stomach churn.

Anyway, that's what I couldn't resist sharing. My fulltime employment has evaporated, so perhaps I'll write again before four years have past and the NBA Finals are being decided between the East all-stars and the heavily favored remnants of the Warriors Rockets merger (which will include a triple double averaging 37 year old LeBron). I hope you are doing well and enjoying the playoffs. And I hope J. R. hits a game winning three at the buzzer tonight. Maybe then, and only then, will sports commentators be forced to admit that there's such a thing as redemption. Even for J.R. Smith.

If by any chance you haven't already seen Paul George break his leg, and you are not really into watching people horribly injure themselves, save yourself some mental scarring and don't watch it.

I definitely regret seeing it.

Basketball supports suddenly fill me with a distinct uneasiness, and I find myself feeling grateful for my own lack of hops.

It's a painful irony that an injury like this required George's otherworldly athleticism. I can only hope that one day he is able to reach those same heights again.

Sorry to the Pacers fans out there. This has been an amazingly shitty offseason so far.

So... two?

Don't worry Heat fans; LBJ probably has two or three of these decisions left in him.

Meet the new Hondo

I don't have anything sardonic to say this morning.

Congratulations to the Spurs and their fans. We have all witnessed some beautiful team basketball.

OK, maybe I have a few sardonic things, but I'm going to get to that in another post. For now, let's just all bask in the glow of Kawhi Leonard becoming the youngest NBA Finals MVP since Tim Duncan, of Gregg Popovich sitting alone with his emotions on the bench while the celebration raged, of an endless barrage of three point swishes, and of Tim Duncan being... fucking Tim Duncan.

Here we go...

You don't even need your friends to carry you

You can do it while you watch TV

As anticipated, Parker struck back hard and decisively Sunday night, tying the series meme war at one game a piece.

Addressing reporters after the game, Parker had this to say:

"I saw all the attention that James generated with his theatrics, and yeah, to be honest, it made me a little jealous. I mean, I like attention too, and it's not like LeBron is the only guy in the league who can make grown men turn away in disgust by writhing in pain. Honestly, I've been doing that since before he even entered the league."

As of press time, Mario Chalmer's attempts to start a meme of his own had gone unrecognized, partly because of the physical difficulty of the memes he has been attempting, but mostly because nobody gives a fuck about Mario Chalmers.

At least the ref is impressed

One thing is for sure, whatever the outcome of tonight's game is, the Spurs and Heat will both be seeking that signature moment that will allow the rival team's fans to mock them pictorially over the next couple of days.

Spo regretting walking away from a managerial position at Chuck E. Cheese's

Juwan Howard does not want to be in this picture

Lebron making it look easy

The new face of Lebroning

King Crab Cramp

Even though the Clippers lost the series last night, it was not before basketball fan Jack Nicholson made clear what team rules tinseltown (and also that the apocalypse is nigh).

So confused

All things considered, Nicholson might have had a better time watching Kobe mixtapes on his yacht.

The Clippers led from their first shot of the game until a KD jumper that came two minutes into the 4th quarter. Including that shot, Durant scored 11 points in the final period, and despite Chris Paul's heroics (he scored 14 points in the 4th), it was clear that the Thunder could taste the Western Conference Finals and were not going to be stopped.

There has to be something completely demoralizing about maintaining a lead by sharing the ball all night, and then having an otherworldly scorer like Durant make a mockery of your team effort by casually tossing the ball through the hoop from anywhere he pleases.

To add injury to insult, Serge Ibaka had been in the locker room since midway through the third quarter. Fantastic, gritty play by Nick Collison and the Big Kiwi made up for his absence, and OKC's big guns handled the offensive load. This inspired play was enough to win the game; however, I can't shake the feeling that, especially considering Serge's potential impairment, the better team did not advance to meet the Spurs, and barring some truly superhuman wing play, we're heading for a rematch of the 2013 NBA Finals.

There goes variety

I enjoy watching both of these teams, so it doesn't really bother me that one great team advances while another goes home. What bothers me is the "CP3 can't get past the second round, so he's not the best point guard in the NBA" talk.

That's just nonsense.

I've never made a secret about being a CP3 fan, so admittedly I'm biased, but when virtually every advanced stat in existence agrees year after year that a guy is the best at his position, he's probably the best at his position (unless you're talking about David Robinson and Hakeem; that one I still can't buy).

Like I said, CP3 outscored the white-hot MVP in the 4th last night; this man is a bonafide superstar. The league has a lot of great point guards, and two of the very best are about to face off in the WCF, but CP3 has earned his place in history. Jeff Van Gundy said it best: CP3 not getting past the 2nd round is not a knock on him as a player; it's a demonstration of just how tough it is out west.

I didn't write anything about Game 5 and the controversial calls that led to Doc Rivers being this angry:

This was largely because I slept through the game (no regrets).

I also didn't mention anything about Donald Sterling being unfathomably pigheaded on CNN, because honestly that's not even news. Donald Sterling is an asshole. He has been for at least seven decades. He probably refused black and brown pacifiers as a baby.

I do enjoy how clearly sick everyone is of him. Last night, JVG summed it up, as he is so apt to do, when he said that he couldn't wait for a time when nobody said the slumlord in question's name. Mike Breen offered a gruff "agreed", which spoke volumes on the collective psyche of sports fans.

So, for long suffering Clipper fans, there were a few silver linings: next time the Clippers contend, their owner might not be a douchebag (or at least not so undeniably), and the team is exciting enough for Jack Nicholson to give a shit (while shitting on the Lakers and their fans with his very presence).

If that's not a moral victory for this franchise, then I don't believe in them.