WHO WILL IT BE?

Get off the fence: A guide to picking a side to root for in the 2019 NBA Finals

It's been over two weeks since the Rockets were ripped from the playoffs at the hands of the fearsome Golden State Warriors, and the overall level of basketball interest has waned noticeably across the city. But if you love pro hoops that's all about to change as the league prepares for its first new Finals matchup in four years (Well, 50% new). And while the conference championships have been plenty of fun with some remarkable moments mixed in, theres just nothing like the NBA Finals.

With that being said, unless you have some money on the line it can be a little difficult to get invested in the outcome when you don't have a rooting interest in either team. Well, we here at SportsMap have done the work for you and are proud to present the definitive guide to picking a side as a neutral fan.

The case for Toronto

Gamblers Delight - Whether you have money on the series or not, if you're a fan of the degenerate arts might I point your attention to one of the highest rollers in professional basketball, Raptors president Masai Ujiri.

Having already established his reputation as a shark around the card table (especially around the likes of James Dolan), Masai traded one of the cornerstones of his franchise for a one year rental of then injured superstar Kawhi Leonard. This move is the equivalent of putting your wife's engagement ring on the table at the end of a long night of almost winning, and when the series is over we'll find out if Masai blew it all for nothing or if he gets to slip the ring back into his pocket as if he knew it was going there all along.

From Canada with Love - While it may be exciting that the Raptors are the first team to push the Finals to the international stage, thats hardly a compelling reason to root them on in a best-of-seven series. But considering how diverse of a population we have here in Houston, it wouldn't be surprising if you find yourself having some overlap in background with one of the seven nationalities that spans Toronto's roster (none of which are actually Canadian, but Drake is like six feet away from the bench at all times so you guys are represented).

Perhaps you have an affinity for African phenom's Pascal Siakam or Serge Ibaka, or maybe you would like rooting for the fiery Spanish passion of Marc Gasol and, ugh… also Serge Ibaka? International basketball is confusing. Between Caribbean representation from Chris Boucher and the waning force that is Linsantiy, theres plenty of room to engage in the kind of sports fueled nationalism usually reserved only for the FIFA world cup. One thing is for sure, this teams only in favor of building a wall if it keeps Greek Freaks out of the paint!

The Case for Golden State

Evil Corp - This postseason Kawhi Leonard is averaging 31.2 points on 62% true shooting, a feat accomplished only by the likes of Lebron, Jordan, Kareem, and Shaq. And yet it still feels like it could barely be enough to even keep things competitive against the team that "ruined basketball". If you like cheering on the bad guy, the Darth Vader or Dick Cheney of the story, the Warriors are your team.

I'm not saying the team or their fans are evil (although it is difficult to make a case that the people of Oakland are "Good"…), but if you are just starting to root for Golden State in 2019, you are the embodiment of evil and sunlight is probably not your friend. And thats ok! Rooting on the Warriors is the perfect fit for you, (also have you heard of the Yankees or Patriots) and you wont be disappointed how deep their bag of tricks runs. The Warriors can do anything from setting unlimited moving screens, injuring Kawhi in the playoffs, or even worse they could…

Play the Best Basketball, Probably of all time - It's the most unfair thing they do actually. The Warriors combine one of the most complex and intricate offensive schemes with a penchant for high caliber defending, and guess what they actually do it better without 2x Finals MVP Kevin Durant playing. They've broken countless records and are probably gunning for the Harlem Globetrotters winning percentage at this point in their dynasty. So if you like blowouts and hate the teetering, lead switching nature of competitive basketball, its time to say hello to the best drug the Bay Area has to offer, winning.


ART BY JESUS RODRIGUEZ

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio, Sports and Wrestling. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

Hey Nerds!

It's Thursday and we're almost to the weekend, so cheer up warriors, you've almost made it.

GOOD DEED OF THE DAY

Zoey's Angels is an amazing organization with a great mission. They help families who suffer the loss of a newborn after an extended medical fight. Some people might point out that that's a rather exclusive group but honestly, they're a group who need your help perhaps more than anyone. The unexpected and high costs of medical care and the nature of the trauma make it a particularly painful thing for people to go through and then on top of that they get hit with bills that need paying. It's insanity. Zoey's Angels on Sunday are having their 8th annual fundraising walk, join in and help out. #NerdsUnite

NBA FINALS

I've been saying this whole playoffs that the difficulty of winning four out of five championships and just being in five finals in a row takes a toll on any team, especially a team under constant scrutiny and speculation like The Warriors have been, but when The Raptors made it from the East, it's just hard to believe in them. The injuries are starting to sink the ship for The Warriors and now giving back home court advantage tilts a lot of "gamesmanship" back in the favor of The Raptors. This is going to be an interesting series and I'm curious to see how it all plays out, but now my prediction of a Gentleman's sweep Warriors over Raptors is out.

JOHN WICK 3

Just watched John Wick 3 and honestly, it's awesome. These movies have found a way to up the intensity and action in each one, although there were a few scenes of violence that I honestly could have done without, there's a particularly brutal slow stab to an eyeball that just hurt to watch. These movies are a road map for fast paced action and violence and I love nearly EVERY second of them, they do a great job creating a fast paced story and I love the idea of them being some sort of serial concept where every few years the next chapter of John Wick comes out. It's weird to think in terms of the first and second movies that in the span of a few weeks John Wick had destroyed the Russian mob in New York and then killed a member of the "High Table", he's a busy guy. These movies though are awesome and people need to be watching them and telling their friends and telling their friends' friends.

HOW MUCH?

Part of the experience of seeing John Wick 3 though was going to the movies. AMC just tried to charge me $15.99 for a pretzel. A Pretzel?! They said it's a pound and a half and my reaction was still almost knocking the cash register off the counter. Like how did we get to this point? $16 American dollars for a pretzel, I don't think there's anything they could do to that pretzel that would make me feel like $16 is a good price for it. I mean maybe there's something I'm not seeing, maybe there's a brilliant sauce or something they put on it and I'm just not there yet, but seriously $16. I mean a GIANT tub of popcorn was $9 and I was unhappy about that in spite of it coming with a free refill, so unless that Pretzel is actually two pretzels that are somehow both two times better than a tub of popcorn, it isn't even worth the money. This is just crazy math, who is in charge of prices at the movie concession counters these days?

NOT THAT YOU ASKED

Man, I love rainy, lazy days. I shouldn't have taken one, I have a ton of work to do that all requires me to kick my ass and work really hard, but man was yesterday a nice day for lying around and relaxing. Every once in a while we have to figure a way to carve some time for us to just kick back and not think for a bit, if you can't then you need to find a way to. Just little pockets of time here and there, find out how to carve them up and try and relax. It's a crucial part of mental health, which science and biology are telling us more and more every day are relevant.

I'm going to jump out and wish you guys a great Thursday and remind everyone to be kind to each other and try a little harder to have a great day! I'm coming back Friday and we'll be bringing more good times your way. Feel free to check out my digital short story The Wilson House or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help fight cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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