The NBA Finals is all over except for the trophy presentation.
There's no way Golden State, now up 3-1 on Cleveland, is going to lose three games in a row. It's far more likely the Warriors will put the Cavaliers out of their misery in Game 5 Monday night.
Even if Cleveland manages an upset there, though, it will only prolong the inevitable. Teams that jump out to a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals are 32-0 in league history. It's about to be 33-0.
And let's go ahead and get it over with, shall we? This has been a horrible series from a dramatic standpoint. Even Game 4 -- supposedly the "close" game of the series -- ended up with the Warriors winning by 11.
The average margin of victory through four games has been 22.3 points. The number 22.3, incidentally, is also the average number of seconds it takes Cleveland's Iman Shumpert to commit a key mistake after he enters the game and also the number of seconds it takes Kevin Love to get outmuscled by a Warriors player for another rebound.
So let's instead talk about something that could be very close. Which player should be the Most Valuable Player of this forgettable series?
Despite what for Curry has been a very mundane series in terms of his scoring, I think ultimately he deserves to win a close battle over teammate Draymond Green for Finals MVP (which was won in 2015 by Andre Iguodala).
In my mind, the Finals MVP should always come from the winning team -- so I am dismissing LeBron James and Kyrie Irving right away. Let's look at the Golden State contenders and their statistics through four games.
1) STEPHEN CURRY (21.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists): His 38-point outburst at Cleveland in Game 4 basically sealed this series. Before that, Davidson's most famous former player -- and the Carolina Panthers’ most high-profile fan -- had been averaging a forgettable 16 points in Games 1-3.
But just having Curry on the floor clears so much space for everyone else. His level of play was just so incredible in the regular season -- the NBA's first unanimous MVP -- that this performance looks pedestrian. But Curry should not be penalized for having a regular season for the ages. He has still been Golden State's most important player overall in the Finals.
2) DRAYMOND GREEN (14.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists): If there is any anti-Curry backlash among voters, or just a desire to spread out the attention the Warriors receive, Green will grab the award. He has been tremendous -- a do-everything player whose defense has also been ridiculously good.
Green's ability to snatch a rebound and then lead the fast break on the other end is almost unparalleled in the NBA. But again, I think a lot of his success is owed to how much attention teams pay to Curry.
3) KLAY THOMPSON (15.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists): Thompson's 3-point shot has been off for most of the series, and he trails fellow “Splash Brother” Curry in every key category. Thompson also came alive in Game 4, but is probably not a factor for MVP voting unless he scores 50 in Game 5.
4) EVERYBODY ELSE: Harrison Barnes has been good (12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds). Iguodala (10.0 points) has been fine but has not had the breakout series he did a year ago. The Warriors’ bench in general has been terrific. Still, there are no real contenders here.
I think Curry needs one more good game in which he scores at least 25 points to seal the award. If Curry goes 5-for-18 in Game 5 and Green gets a triple-double and paces a Golden State victory, then Green will probably get it. But no matter who gets the MVP there's no doubt the Warriors -- doubted by a number of people in this series, including me -- are about to become back-to-back NBA champions.
CARRIER GIVES BACK: Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Mark Carrier is now the Panthers' player engagement director. As part of his duties, each year Carrier helps the team's new crop of rookies make the transition into the NFL.
What Carrier has realized working with 22-year-olds is that some of the mistakes they made previously could have been avoided if they’d had more guidance when they were 17 or 18. To help fill that void, he has created the "Next Level Conference," which will be held June 24-26 at Queens University.
The male-only conference is geared toward rising high school seniors and those who have just graduated from high school. It is designed to provide college-bound student-athletes -- whether they plan to play a sport in college or not -- some tips to navigating all of the challenges of college.
Guest speakers and panelists will include current and former Panthers players. The camp includes a tour of and dinner at Bank of America Stadium. Registrants spend two nights in Queens University dorms.
All housing and meals are covered with a registration fee of $50 (and some scholarships are available).
You can register at www.sportssystems.com/clients/NextLevel or call 980-785-3835 for more information. The deadline is Tuesday. I can tell you that with Carrier running this conference, it will be well worth the time.
OMAR'S ODYSSEY: Speaking of worthy causes, you also need to check out OmarCarterFoundation.org regarding information about the three different "Heart of Gold" charity events he will be hosting Friday and Saturday.
Carter, a former Charlotte Christian and Appalachian State basketball standout, survived a sudden cardiac arrest he had at age 25 during a summer league basketball game. Proceeds from the events go to his foundation that raises awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and that also promotes the teaching of CPR and use of automatic external defibrillators.