A season ago at this time, the Cavaliers were about to fire David Blatt and the locker room had chemistry issues. The consensus around the NBA was that LeBron James may have to make significant roster changes to conquer the Warriors.
A year and a championship ring later, Cleveland is no longer scared to scared to talk a big game. They think they are without question the best team in the NBA.
And that includes role players like Iman Shumpert, who averaged 3.0 ppg in 18.4 minutes per game in the NBA Finals.
In a recent interview with Complex Magazine, Shumpert was asked about Draymond Green saying he wants to annihilate the Cavaliers on Christmas Day.
“He should. We supposed to hate them, and they supposed to hate us,” Shumpert said. “It’s OK. They supposed to take cheap shots at us. They’re gonna hate us, fam. That’s what sports is. It’s great. I love every bit of it.”
But here’s where Shumpert upped the ante.
“I’m glad he said that ’cause we gon’ bust they ass, too. You need to type that up: We gon bust your ass. Period.”
This truly is shaping up to be the best cross-conference NBA rivalry since Bulls-Jazz. The Lakers and Celtics had a brief run at recreating history in 2008 and 2009, but they never met in three straight finals. The Heat and Thunder rivalry seemed like it had unbelievable potential in 2012, but a James Harden trade, some unfortunate OKC injuries and the realization that LeBron truly is the best player in 20 years stopped this one in its tracks.
Most of us will unwrap some presents on Christmas morning but the greatest gift of the day will be the first installment of the trilogy: Warriors-Cavs III.