We have one of the most exciting playoff scenes in quite some time on our hands here. 2018 is the first year with two conference finals game sevens in 39 years. LeBron James downed the young Boston Celtics, reaching his eighth straight NBA Finals. Tonight we have Rockets vs Warriors game seven in one of Golden State’s toughest series’ since the 2016 NBA Finals. Which Western team will reach the NBA finals? Where does this accomplishment rank among LeBron’s best and how does it help his legacy? The FPC NBA staff answers these questions in this article.
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Question One: Who will win tonight’s game seven between the Rockets and Warriors?
As much as I want to believe that the Rockets will be the first different West team to reach the finals since 2014, I doubt Harden can pull it off. Chris Paul is a game-time decision and I doubt Houston wins, Paul healthy or not. The Warriors are just too talented. In game six, they reminded us how dominant they can be whenever they want. The Warriors can be down double-digits, flip a switch, and be dominating a quarter ever. Frankly, this Warriors team is the best we have ever seen and another NBA Championship seems inevitable at this point.
Warriors will win because they’ve been here before and they clicked game 6. It’s nothing against the rockets but they seemed like they found their groove and without a fully healthy Chris Paul, I don’t see them standing much of a chance. The Warriors will win this game and go on to play the Cavs for the fourth year in a row.
CP3 healthy or not, I don’t trust Harden to be the best player in this series for one more game. Harden has proven his talents alone simply aren’t enough to lead this team to a victory. Plus if you say it out loud that you trust either player to come up big in an elimination game you’re not doing it with any confidence. The Dubs win this by double-digit points with another big game from Durant as he awaits his third showdown against James.
I believe that the Golden State Warriors will win Game 7. There is a chance that Chris Paul won’t be playing, and if that’s the case, then it will be a similar score like game 6. Even if he is able to play, it will be a closer game, but the outcome will be the same. There have always been doubts in regards to whether Chris Paul and James Harden would be able to deliver in the post-season, and it seems like Chris Paul has proven that he can. But not James Harden.
While Houston won game 5, Harden went 0-11 from three. And he failed to take over in Game 6, getting outscored 64-25. Despite Kevin Durant and Steph Curry not living up their potential throughout this series, they can rely on someone like Klay Thompson to increase the momentum and get them going. I have more faith that the Golden State stars will show up as opposed to Harden, even if they are playing in Houston.
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Question Two: Where does this accomplishment rank among LeBron’s best and how does it impact his legacy?
What more can I say about the greatness of LeBron James? In a season that was one of his most tumultuous, the King found a way to conquer the East and reach the finals again. There were moments where this Cleveland team didn’t look like a playoff team and everyone counted out LeBron at one moment or another. He had his struggles against Indiana and Boston but his greatness shone through and was able to overcome a very good Boston team on their home floor. James most likely won’t beat Golden State or Houston but he doesn’t have to in my eyes. Those teams are both well beyond the level of this Cleveland team that compares to the atrocious 07′ team that LeBron carried to the finals. Win or lose, this accomplishment ranks among his very best and should give him more credibility in terms of his legacy. If he manages to claim a ring this year, it would be one of the greatest accomplishments by any player in NBA history.
As for his legacy, this only furthers his status as one of the greatest of all time. I personally don’t value rings as much as others because they are a team accomplishment. LeBron has no business being in this position. His team is far inferior to Houston, Golden State, Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto, and even Indiana. He has established himself as one of the most consistently dominant players of all time and one of the all-time great clutch performers. In my eyes, James ranks right next to Michael Jordan for the greatest player of all time.
I wouldn’t put as high as many others would. As Stephen A. Smith said, there is a lot of luck involved in this run. They squeaked by a Celtics’ B team and a Pacers team that is not ready yet. Of course, they dominated the Raptors but the Raptors are petrified of LeBron. It doesn’t touch his championships or his 2007 run either. People forget just how impressive it was to go to that final with that team. If Kyrie Irving or Hayward or both played this series, this series would have been over and over quickly long before this game 7.
As far as his legacy goes it’ll only mean something if you win a championship. That’s all people care about are the Rings. Him leading this team to the finals and then losing in four or five games will mean absolutely nothing.
This win is one of the greatest accomplishments that LeBron has accomplished. However, the greatest accomplishment for him is winning the 2016 NBA Championship. The chances that he would win that series was low, being down 3-1, and he eventually did what no other team was able to do. During this process, the road to the championship was more difficult, and the team he faced in the finals is considered as the greatest regular season team ever, having won 73 games.
The other important thing is that he won the championship and had a triple-double in game 7 in 2016. The Game 7 win against Boston will be remembered in the top 5 greatest moments as it pertains to LeBron’s legacy. This Cavaliers team is arguably the worst that LeBron has played in, more so than the 2007 team that he took to the finals. Not only did he have a combined 81 points in the last two games, he was able to win the last one without Kevin Love, his other All-Star teammate. What should also be taken into consideration is the fact that he is doing this in his 15th year, and playing the most minutes in the NBA. This would only be considered his greatest accomplishment if he manages to win the championship, which is unlikely.