Draymond Green quote of the day

Posted in Golden (State) Years on April 29th, 2016 by bill

Day-Day on Steph Curry, agreeing that he is better when Steph plays:

“If he doesn’t make you better, YOU suck.”

Round 1, Game 5: Warriors 114, Rockets 81

Posted in Golden (State) Years on April 28th, 2016 by bill

Klay Thompson discusses his postgame plans with the media.

What a relief. After two days of Steph-Curry’s-right-knee-related angst, it was nice to have an actual basketball game to focus on. And the Stephless Wonders (by using that term twice now, I believe I have trademarked it) did not disappoint, putting in a nearly flawless performance to pummel the hapless Rockets, 114–81. The passing, the shooting, the defense were all clicking on all cylinders, and you shudder to think how lopsided it would have been with Steph involved.

About the only thing that worried me was when Klay Thompson went on a Curryesque flurry of long threes in the third quarter and Steph himself, resplendant in a tan blazer on the sideline, celebrated by bodily hefting guard Ian Clark into the air. Stephen, please, no — no heavy lifting while you’re on the mend.

This is no time to break out any champagne, but we W’s fans certainly have to feel good about the way they’ve performed since losing the MVP. In 6 quarters they outscored the Rockets 179–116. Admittedly, the Rockets are a pathetic excuse for a basketball team; throughout Game 5 their body language said that they were ready to go on vacation. But still, it’s a pretty good sign.

Up next, most likely, is the Blazers. After struggling early they pulled away from the shorthanded Clippers last night. They lead the series 3–2, and the odds of this version of the Clips rallying to take the series is roughly a gazillion to one. The Blazers are a young team with a lot of energy and a dynamic backcourt led by the formidable Damian Lillard. Nothing to be sneezed at, but still I like our chances.

Keep calm and Curry on

Posted in Golden (State) Years on April 27th, 2016 by bill

It’s been a complicated couple days for Warriors fans, with news coming down that first Chris Paul and then Blake Griffin – the despised LA Clippers’ two best players – had sustained season-ending injuries. The first emotion I experienced was reflexive glee. Then I started doing the math and realized that this is not necessarily good news. For one thing it means that – assuming for the sake of argument a defeat of the Houston Rockets, which still must be earned – the W’s will have to play the Portland Trail Blazers, who are young and fast and gave us trouble a couple times this season. For another it decreases the likelihood that the Clippers/Blazers series will go 7 games, giving Steph Curry the maximum number of recuperation days before the next series begins. Again assuming blah blah blah etc.

Steph would not be ready for the start of a second-round series, and it remains an open question whether he might be able to play in it at all. I personally choose to remain cautiously optimistic, which is almost always a good way to go. If things break the right way, the W’s could get to the Conference Finals able to say that they’ve overcome some real adversity, throwing another dart in the haters’ eyes. If they don’t break the right way…then they don’t. That’s life, and it will go on regardless.

These are the times that try men’s souls

Posted in Golden (State) Years on April 25th, 2016 by bill

The Nation is freaking out right now about the news that Steph Curry has a sprained medial collateral ligament and is expected to be out for two weeks. And while this is not good news, exactly, it could be worse; all day long I’ve been bracing myself to hear the dreaded words “season-ending.”

Best-case scenario, the Dubs finish off the Rockets Wednesday and the Blazers/Clippers series goes 7 games. Maybe Steph gets back halfway through the second round; maybe the Stephless Wonders play like they did in the second half of Game 4, in which case they’ll beat everybody anyway. And then we get a well-rested #30 back for the Conference Finals against the Spurs.

Too sunshiny an outlook? Maybe. Want to bet against it?

Round 1, Game 4: Warriors 121, Rockets 94

Posted in Golden (State) Years on April 24th, 2016 by bill

We'll probably be seeing more of this.

This was one of the stranger basketball games I’ve seen in a while. It was a back-and-forth affair, tied at 56 near the end of the first half, when Steph Curry slipped on a wet spot and hurt his knee. Our hearts all skipped a beat, and mine is still a little off-rhythm, as the severity of the injury is not yet known.

The good news is that the Warriors came out after halftime and stomped the living shit out of the Rockets, outscoring them 41-20 in the 3rd quarter and 65-38 in the half. It was a truly impressive display by a team missing its best player. The craziest part is that the Warriors set a new NBA record by hitting 21 3-pointers — with only one of them made by Mr. Curry.

It seems highly unlikely that the Rockets will recover from being humiliated on their home floor; this series should be over on Wednesday, and hopefully Steph will be back by the time the second round starts. On the whole, it was a scary but ultimately pretty gratifying day to be a Warriors fan.

Round 1, Game 3: Rockets 97, Warriors 96

Posted in Golden (State) Years on April 22nd, 2016 by bill

It was kind of a shitty day yesterday. Prince died, the Warriors lost. The less said about it the better, I think. We’ll talk later.

Round 1, Game 2: Warriors 115, Rockets 106

Posted in Golden (State) Years on April 19th, 2016 by bill

Ole!

Dub Nation was a little nervous ahead of this game when we learned that Steph Curry, who is nursing a sore ankle and foot, would not be playing. Steph is our security blanket, our good luck charm, the target of our whispered prayers. Some of us lay in bed at night counting Curry threes, and we never run out before we fall asleep.

Without him the Warriors are still a very, very good basketball team; they just lack that element of the supernatural that he brings, the one that makes opposing defenses scramble around like madmen and creates easy shots for everyone else. So last night, they had to work harder for everything, which is probably good for them. Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston all made big contributions, with Draymond Green his usual stalwart self, and Mo Buckets and the Brazilian Blur providing some scoring punch.

On the other side, James Harden was in top foul-drawing form, going to the line 15 times on some highly questionable calls, including a remarkable number of three-shot fouls. Then again, Klay shot 16 free throws, so maybe I can’t complain too much; and fortunately Harden is not interested in playing defense, so he gave some of those points right back on the other end.

The series is 2–0 now, with Game 3 in Houston on Thursday. Hopefully Steph will be back for that one, but even if he’s not, I think everything is going to be OK.

Round 1, Game 1: Warriors 104, Rockets 78

Posted in Golden (State) Years on April 17th, 2016 by bill

That the Warriors handled the Houston Rockets easily last night seems almost beside the point, as old nightmares revived themselves when Steph Curry came up limping in the 2nd quarter. He had just scored a bucket to put the W’s up 26 when he turned to run back on D and spontaneously tweaked his ankle, just like he used to in the bad old days.

Somehow these things always seem to happen against the Houston Rockets, who last year managed to concuss (or near-concuss) both Steph and Klay Thompson in the Western Conference Finals. Word at the moment is that Steph is fine, that he’ll miss a game at most, but I still don’t like it. The Rockets’ strategy – and admittedly it’s a smart one – seems to be to harass Steph as much as possible; in the first quarter he almost got into it with Patrick Beverly, whose physical defense included an elbow to the face. So it behooves us, and I use that word advisedly, to get this series over with as quickly as possible.

I didn’t get to watch the whole game, or even much of it, as we had houseguests and I was trying to be good. But I did happen to catch Curry tussling with Beverly, getting hit with a technical, and then going apeshit, outscoring the Rockets 16-15 in the first quarter. I was not watching when the injury happened, of which I am glad. It was kind of a strange day all around, one that ended late, with a sparsely attended but very entertaining concert by Chuck Prophet and Garland Jeffreys. Thankfully today is a day of rest. I think we all need it.

73 Is a Magic Number

Posted in Golden (State) Years on April 14th, 2016 by bill

It is done. Last night the Golden State Warriors defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, 125–104, to secure their 73rd win of the season against 9 losses. That’s a record.

Meanwhile, down in Southern California, Kobe Bryant just had to screw us one more time by scoring 60 points in his last game and siphoning off an inordinate amount of media attention. After the euphoria of the W’s victory, I had to sit there fuming as ESPN showed Kobe’s seemingly endless press conference.

But it’s all good. It wouldn’t do, anyway, to get overly excited about the regular season when the real season – a.k.a. the playoffs – starts on Saturday. I won’t mention that Steph Curry made three-pointers numbers 393–402, obliterating his own record of 286 that he set last year. I won’t mention that he scored 46 points on 15–24 from the field while it took Kobe 50 shot attempts to get his 60. Just another day at the office. Now the Warriors get two days off, and the whole circus starts up again when the Houston Rockets come to town to start a 7-game series. See you then.

The Running of the Bulls’ Mouths

Posted in Golden (State) Years on April 12th, 2016 by bill

An interesting subplot to the current NBA season has been how the various members of the old Chicago Bulls have reacted to the Warriors’ attempt to break their record. First Scottie Pippen came out and said that the 95-96 Bulls would sweep this Warriors team. Then Horace Grant doubled down on that by saying that any of the Bulls’ six championship teams would have swept the W’s. These kinds of statements are easy to make, of course, because they can never actually be disproven. The classier move would be to just shut up, but it’s all par for the course.

But now it’s come out that not only did Michael Jordan tell Draymond Green that the Warriors should go ahead and break the record, but that he, Jordan, would hold Draymond personally responsible if they didn’t. Now, is that some kind of tricky reverse psychology thing intended to mess with Draymond’s head? If not it’s a surprising turnaround from MJ, who’s always been nothing if not hypercompetitive, or to put it another way, dickish.

It’s been my official position that arguing the relative merits of the two teams is a waste of time, but if you wanted to have that conversation, I could go there. Give Jordan and co. credit: they certainly seem to have done more with less. I just looked at the 95-96 Bulls roster for the first time in a while, and it is surprisingly thin. After Jordan, Pippen, and Dennis Rodman, you get to people like Ron Harper (a savvy guard who was past his prime); Toni Kukoc (a gifted scorer but European and soft); Steve Kerr (great shooter but a liability on defense – sorry, Steve); and a rotating cast of centers led by Luc Longley, nobody’s idea of a dominating force in the middle.

The Bulls roster had room for people like Randy Brown (who?), Jason Caffey (a promising rookie who flamed out when he got traded to the Warriors – as, to be fair, everyone did in the 90s and 00s), Rodman babysitter Jack Haley, James Edwards, Dickie Simpkins, and worst of all, Jud Buechler, the living embodiment of the concept of “garbage time.” Most of those guys would get flat-out cut from the Warriors, and none of them would play, except maybe Caffey.

None of which is meant to belittle the Bulls’ accomplishment; it just makes it all the more remarkable. And most of it has to be chalked up to Jordan, who above and beyond his athletic ability, in those years just seemed to have the ability to bend reality to his will.

And at the moment, his will is that the W’s should go ahead and stomp the Grizzlies tomorrow. So take note, Day-Day, and don’t disappoint the man.