Warriors Sweep Their Way to Fifth Straight Finals
May 20, 2019

It's okay to use it now. Even sports types like writers and broadcasters and other types of pundits who are quick with hyperbole are slow to bring out the 'D Word'. It's reserved for teams like the New England Patriots, Wayne Gretzky's Edmonton Oilers, the Oakland A's of the early 1970s, the New York Yankees multiple times in their history, and Red Auerbach's Boston Celtics. The Golden State Warriors are a sports dynasty.

With a 119-117 overtime victory over the Trail Blazers in Portland tonight, the Warriors clinched their fifth straight trip to the NBA Finals. The last team to do that was the 1966 Celtics. The Warriors swept the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals, and did it without top player Kevin Durant, who is out with an injury.

The exclamation point came in the form of Draymond Green and Steph Curry each tallying triple-doubles in tonight's deciding game four. It's the first time in league history that two on the same team had double figures in three categories in the same post season game. Green had 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists. Curry added 37, 13, and 11.

So, while the Warriors are now headed to the finals for the fifth straight year, the Cleveland Cavaliers had been there four straight. Simple math tells you that means the two teams matched up for the championship in all four of those years, and the Warriors won three of the four. A title in Oakland this time would make four titles in five years, things dynasties are made of. Baseball's Atlanta Braves won 14 straight division titles in the 1990s and early 2000s, but only won the World Series once. The Dodgers have claimed the NL West crown six straight years, have gone the World Series the last two, but didn't win it either time. In other words, the Warriors are the real deal.

Their season isn't over yet, so it's too soon to speculate on what will happen to the dynasty when the team moves across the bay to a new arena in San Francisco next year. Durant will be a free agent, and everyone back east seems to think he'll be going to New York. The Warriors have won titles without him, but are better with him, and why would be want to leave? Again, those questions should be saved for July. The Warriors will play either the Milwaukee Bucks or the Toronto Raptors for the NBA championship, and against either team figures to be a good series. Win or lose, though, they're dynasty will not be over.

Tragic show: I've been off the NBA wagon for probably about five years now, but I do watch it go by from time to time. That being said (written), what's going on with the Los Angeles Lakers? They've become a soap opera. Just hours before the franchise was to introduce new head coach Frank Vogel (the coach search in itself was filled with drama), Magic Johnson went on ESPN's First Take to explain why he suddenly resigned as President of Basketball Operations. When he recently told the media of his resignation, he admitted that he hadn't told his boss, Laker owner Jeanie Buss, of his decision, and also said “it wasn't fun anymore”, and spoke of backstabbing and infighting. Today he elaborated, and threw GM Rob Pelinka under the bus (I guess he threw Buss under the bus, too). The Lakers haven't made the playoffs in six years.

A (Blue) Devil of a GM: Some of you may remember a 6-4 Duke basketball shooting guard in the late 1990s named Trajan Langdon. I have to admit I haven't heard that name in a long time, but he was just named general manager of the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans. It also turns out he had been assistant GM of the Brooklyn Nets for the past few years. You may not know (or remember), but while Langdon was playing ball at Duke, the Anchorage, Alaska native was also a minor league baseball player in the San Diego Padres organization. I got to know him a little in Idaho Falls in 1997, where he played a little third base, and didn't hit all that well. I remember him as a smart but quiet kid. Basketball was definitely his first love, but who knew 22 years ago he would become upper management material? A cool story.

Lineup change: A little late, but I came up with my designated hitter for my All-Sons-of-Major-Leaguers team, which I formulated in my column last week. Michael Brantley's father Mickey was an outfielder for the Seattle Mariners from 1986 to 1989, batting .259 with 32 home runs in 302 games. Son Michael is excelling with the Astros, and we'll put the Houston outfielder in the DH spot batting fourth, and move everyone else down one.

Live from New York, etc.: This weekend's season finale of Saturday Night Live was as bad as the Adam Sandler episode was good. I'll still miss the cold opens and update segments during the summer, though. By the way, the Big Bang Theory finale was a little disappointing but still enjoyable., even though a few characters were kind of left dangling. Missed Game of Thrones. Don't have HBO.

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