There are plenty of people who mistakenly think every NBA game is decided in the last two minutes — and you don’t have to tune in until then. If you’re one of those semi-fans, you haven’t been watching the Golden State Warriors much: most of the Warriors games seem to be decided closer to the first two minutes. After that it’s mostly just a question of whether Steph Curry or Kevin Durant will lead the team in scoring. Same goes, almost, for their NBA Finals opponent, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Between the two teams they’ve recorded a single loss on their romps through the playoffs. They’ll meet for the third straight time in the NBA Finals beginning June 1.
Still there’s some legitimacy to the 2-minute theory — even the NBA has considered letting fans pay to watch just the last five minutes of games. But if you don’t get the full story in the last two minutes, as the theory goes, you still may not have to be tuned in on June 1 for tip-off to dig into the full flavor of the Finals. Last year the NBA Finals went seven games before Cleveland emerged the champ, having erased a 3-1 deficit. So the series-long equivalent of the 2-minute theory means the series really starts somewhere around Game 4. (When Shaquille O’Neal was asked before the Finals to predict a winner, he said he had to watch “the first two games first.”) The 7th game — if necessary — is slated for June 18. That’s 18 days after opening tip. It could be over in four, but that’s unlikely.