Round 3, Game 7: Warriors 96, Thunder 88

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 31st, 2016 by bill
[caption id="attachment_7080" align="alignnone" width="512"] Yeah, it feels good.[/caption] A week ago it seemed like the world was coming to an end. The Warriors had gone down 3–1 in their series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, losing two games in OKC by 28 and 24 points. Steph Curry looked like a regular human, turnovers were running rampant, the defense was porous and disorganized. The lasting image stuck in everyone’s minds was Draymond Green kicking a 7-foot New Zealander in the stones. But today the sun is shining, birds are singing, and the Warriors are headed to the NBA Finals after finishing off the Thunder in a heart-bursting, head-spinning, highlight-stuffed Game 7 in Oakland. It was ugly early, with both teams struggling to score, but the Dubs struggling much more. At the 6:15 mark of the 2nd quarter they were still stuck on 22, with the Thunder having managed a relatively robust 35. That was when Klay Thompson made his first three-pointer of the night, and the lid finally came off the basket. The home team closed to within 4 at 37–33, but then seemed to lose focus for awhile, and it took a ridiculous left-handed high-arcing layup from Steph Curry to get them within 6 at the half. The third quarter went much better. Steph made some shots, Klay hit some shots, Andre Iguodala hit some shots. Once they got it rolling, even Anderson Varejao chipped in, sinking a much-needed floater with 58 seconds left in the quarter. At the end of the 3rd the Warriors led by 11, having outscored the Thunder 29–12 in the quarter. But nobody was ready to celebrate yet. As they had throughout the series, in the 4th quarter OKC gave the Warriors all the challenge they wanted and then some, repeatedly closing the gap and getting to within 90–86 with 1:17 left. I was pacing the floor here at home as the W’s took one time out, then another, desperately needing a score to stem the tide. Then Steph Curry raised up to shoot a three pointer...and didn’t make it...but wait! A foul was called on Serge Ibaka. That gave Steph three free throws — which of course he made, being who he is — and the Warriors a 7-point lead. And that was pretty much that. The moment that will probably stick in people’s minds came at the :26 mark, with Steph dribbling around to kill some clock and then calmly, cleanly draining one last 3 to raise the lead to 10. That was when we felt ready to celebrate. And I think we still feel that way today. When they had their backs against the wall, the W’s came out swinging, and they have to love themselves for that. And yes, I’m spouting cliches left and right, but I don’t even care today; my team is going back to the Finals, and yeah, it feels good.

Round 3, Game 6: Warriors 108, Thunder 101

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 29th, 2016 by bill
In a word: Yes!

Round 3, Game 5: Warriors 120, Thunder 111

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 27th, 2016 by bill
When I bought my ticket for last night’s game I thought it would be a possible clinching game for the Warriors, not a possible elimination game. This series against the Oklahoma City Thunder has been a body-blow to the self-esteem of Dub Nation; suddenly our team is back on its heels, struggling to stay alive against a seemingly unbeatable opponent. So the energy in Oracle Arena last night was nervous. Everyone was pumped, but you could sense an underlying dread — God, what if we lose this one and have to spend the whole offseason listening to the Warriors haters (of which there are many all of a sudden) crowing about the great regular season and playoff choke? Well, it didn’t happen last night, thank the Basketball Gods. The Warriors led almost the whole game and while they could never pull away — thanks to 71 points from the beastly duo of Westbrook and Durant — they never really looked rattled. We, the crowd, helped a lot by cheering on every possession and chanting “De-fense” every time the Thunder touched the ball. In fact I’m going to give us the MVP for the game. Give some credit to to Steph Curry, who put up 30 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals despite the fact that he still doesn’t look quite right (there has been a lot of talk about whether he is more injured than he’s letting on, but we many never know for sure). Draymond Green, after two straight god-awful games, looked a little more like himself (13 rebounds, 11 points, great defense and some huge blocks). Oh, and Bogut chipped in 15 points and 14 boards — not half-bad — and Klay added a ho-hum 27 points. And I would be remiss in not mentioning Mo Speights, who scored 14 in 9 minutes. (Maybe he should be playing more? That’s for Coach Kerr to decide.) But mostly it was all about us, the fans. Unfortunately we won’t be there tomorrow when the W’s face the mighty challenge of Game 6 in Oklahoma City. We’ll just have to be extra-loud in our homes and places of worship (i.e. bars) to make up for it. Get some rest today.

A song for today

Posted in Because he's David Bowie, that's why on May 26th, 2016 by bill
Or any day, really. But today especially.

Round 3, Game 4: Thunder 108, Warriors 94

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 25th, 2016 by bill
Error — does not compute.

Mo Speights quote of the day

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 24th, 2016 by bill
“Hard days are the best because that's when champions are made.”

Round 3, Game 3: Thunder 133, Warriors 105

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 23rd, 2016 by bill
[caption id="attachment_7054" align="alignnone" width="494" caption="Uh-oh."][/caption] After two decades of pain, disappointment, and shame, for the last couple years, it’s been fun to be a Warriors fan pretty much every day. Yesterday was an exception. In their first playoff game ever in Oklahoma City, the W’s got destroyed. Their offense was disorganized, their defense was undisciplined, and they looked just generally lost. The officiating didn't help matters; there were some truly perplexing calls, and while I can't exactly blame a 28-point loss on the referees, they sucked all the life out of a game that was still in question in the second quarter. But the low point had already come, way back in the 1st. Draymond Green drove with Steven Adams defending, a foul was called, and looked for all the world like Draymond kicked the big Kiwi in the nads in purpose. I love Draymond to death, but that's no way to act; we're supposed to be the good guys. He was called for a flagrant foul and may end up being suspended for Game 4, which would be, in a word, bad. It was a disheartening spectacle all around, and the doomsaying in the media has already begun. I'll be doing my level best to avoid all the pointless chatter over the next couple days; in the end, it was just one game, and the W's will have another chance to steal back home-court advantage on Tuesday. Till then, protect your vitals, everybody.

Bob Dylan quote of the day

Posted in A few words from Lao Tzu (or someone like him) on May 22nd, 2016 by bill
“Just keep playing, no matter how weird it gets.” – Dylan to the Hawks before their first show together, 1965

Round 3, Game 2: Warriors 118, Thunder 91

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 19th, 2016 by bill
That was a little more like it. The Nation was in a tizzy the last couple days, as it always is whenever the Warriors do the unthinkable, lose a game. And this time it was a playoff game, at home no less, so of course people were freaking out. I, fortunately, have my “Keep Calm and Curry On” shirt to remind me to keep things on an even keel. But it didn't help anybody's nerves in the 1st quarter when Steph Curry chased a loose ball towards the sidelines and went flying into the stands. It was a bad moment for Warriors fans all around — especially those who chose to prioritize their own safety over helping Steph save himself, and most of all the guy who stood over his prone figure taking pictures. Fortunately Steph was fine except for a tennis-ball-sized contusion near his elbow that didn’t seem to affect his shooting ability any. After Andre Iguodala ended the half with his signature move of the playoffs so far — scooping a deflected pass out of midair and somehow calculating the precise number of RPMs necessary to make the ball kiss off the very right-top of the backboard and drop softly through the net — Steph went a little crazy in the 3rd quarter. He scored 15 points in a stretch of less than two minutes, and the Thunder went away quietly after that. Now the Dubs will have to play two games in Oklahoma City, one of the few places that can rival Oakland in the passion and volume of its fan base. And they will need to win at least one of those. Now there’s only 78 hours to kill till tipoff.

Round 3, Game 1: Thunder 108, Warriors 102

Posted in Golden (State) Years on May 17th, 2016 by bill
[caption id="attachment_7040" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="I found this picture on the website, which captioned it ‘Oklahoma City\'s Steven Adams (12) is fouled by Golden State.’ Em, wrong on several levels. But it was that kind of night."][/caption] For some reason, the Warriors’ losses are always a lot less fun to write about than their wins. But this is the task I have set for myself, so here we go. Last night was Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder. It started well, with Andrew Bogut laying a hard foul on Russell Westbrook in the first minutes of the game. I don’t condone violence, but someone had to set the tone for this series, and Bogut was the guy to do it. The Warriors looked sharp for the whole first half, both on offense and defense, and it ended more or less as it had begun — with Klay Thompson sprinting to try to intercept a pass intended for Westbrook and crashing into him, sending both of them sprawling to the hardwood. In the third quarter the Thunder appeared to be on the ropes, but then TNT flashed a graphic showing that Thompson was outscoring Westbrook 31–3. I don’t know how Westbrook could have known about this, but it seemed to set him off; all of a sudden he went on a scoring flurry and the Thunder began to close the gap. There was an ugly stretch spanning the late 3rd and early 4th where the Warriors missed some shots they usually make, committed a few turnovers, then started launching high-degree-of-difficulty shots to try to stop the bleeding. Of course, if the W’s make those shots — as they did in the first half — I’m singing a different tune. But that’s not how it went. The Dubs ended up down 105–100 with 22 seconds left. After Andre Iguodala hit a layup to cut the lead to 3, Westbrook dribbled hard past halfcourt and came to a quick stop to call a timeout. In the process he quite obviously dragged his pivot foot right in front of the referee, leading both Steve Kerr and myself to frantically wave our arms in the motion that indicates traveling. But no call was made, and quite frankly, Bob, the Warriors should never have put themselves in position to be crying for a call in the first place. The Thunder deserved to win this one, and you have to respect the grit and stick-to-itveness they showed. So now we have a series on our hands. Game 2 is Wednesday, and it should be a good one.