LeBron James doesn't have time for the Boston Celtics.
The Eastern Conference finals? Isaiah Thomas? Brad Stevens?
These are all nuisances in LeBron's way. His aim is on the Golden State Warriors; his focus is squarely on chasing Michael Jordan. So the King swatted the Celtics like so many gnats in a 117-104 Game 1 win on Wednesday night, leaving little doubt this series will be over in four games.
And with the Warriors taking care of the Kawhi Leonard-less San Antonio Spurs in equal measure, the NBA has a catastrophe on its hands — because the 2017 postseason feels like the most dreadful march to a championship in modern professional sports history.
I count myself among the diehard-iest of diehard NBA fans. I love basketball more than any other sport (except for the NFL on FOX, of course). Most of the major milestones in my life have NBA memories associated with them, as well, because my obsession for the game borders on unhealthy.
Even I can't bring myself to argue these playoffs are compelling. You're better off using your valuable time watching the Stanley Cup playoffs, going outside, or doing anything else at all.
Really, there's one reason and one reason alone to watch this postseason basketball: LeBron himself.
We shouldn't overlook the fact he is playing the best basketball we have ever seen, bar none. Forget your biases in the "Jordan vs. LeBron" discussion or your Kobe fandom or whatever it is that holds you back from fully appreciating this living legend — because years from now, you're going to regret it.
He ripped Boston apart in Game 1, going for 38 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, all without breaking a sweat.
Normally, we'd talk about what adjustments an opponent can make in Game 2 to rebound from such an embarrassing blowout. Such conversation is a waste of time in this series, though. LeBron is going to keep rolling right through the Celtics, allowing them to steal a win only if he gets bored.
Spoiler: He won't get bored.
Greg M. CooperGreg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Ultimately, the lack of competition this postseason is a testament to LeBron's greatness.
Entire franchises in the East have dissolved in his wake, with the Toronto Raptors likely to follow suit this summer, and free agents would rather stay West than face the daunting task of trying to beat LeBron in the playoffs.
He's so extraordinarily dominant that Kevin Durant had to pack his bags, move to the Bay Area, and join forces with a 73-win juggernaut that couldn't conquer LeBron.
KD deprived us of him and Russell Westbrook trying to get revenge against the Warriors for their own 2016 3-1 series collapse, instead turning the other half of the playoff bracket into a barren hellscape just as devoid of entertainment as the Eastern Conference.
Except Golden State doesn't have LeBron to entertain us. All the Warriors can offer is Stephen Curry chucking 3s, Draymond Green getting under people's skin, Durant still trying to prove he's comfortable, and Klay Thompson fading into the background.
They're fun, I guess, but there's no weight to Golden State's success, because it still feels like they cheated — in the sense they bent the rules to form a superteam, yes, but also in as much as they cheated us of compelling playoff games.
Can you blame KD and the Warriors, though? When you're up against a basketball god, what other choice do you have?
Yet LeBron can still save the day.
For all of Cleveland's current splendor, the Warriors are still heavy betting favorites to beat the Cavaliers in the Finals and get their revenge for last year's 3-1 comeback. Golden State crushing Cleveland would be a perfect ending to such a lackluster postseason.
"The NBA: It's innnnnn-evitable!"
But LeBron can flip the script, as the Warriors know all too well. If he's playing like this, and if the Cavaliers are defending as they have recently, then you're going to want to get your money in on the defending champions as soon as possible.
When LeBron James is playing like the greatest of all time, no team can be favored over his squad, no matter how super that foe might be. Should The King defend his crown once more in a series for the ages, all this pre-Finals nonsense will be worth it.
Because in the end, we'd trade a hundred meaningless playoff games for a repeat of the 2016 NBA Finals.