“My main thing coming into this year was to be me and do what got me here. The Warriors didn’t draft me to do what didn’t get me here. They drafted me to do what I did to get here.”
Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system…the truth is, I don’t feel sad today. The Warriors acquitted themselves well, and you could pretty much tell last night that they had nothing left in the tank. Steph Curry and Andrew Bogut were playing on two good ankles between them, and the whole team looked emotionally and physically exhausted. They gave 110%, left it all out there on the floor, or whatever cliche you want to dredge up…I am also too worn to come up with anything original.
But I’m excited about next season, and for once, with good reason. Rest up, boys, you’ve earned it. See you Halloweenish.
The party’s over
It’s time to call it a day
They’ve burst your pretty balloon
And taken the moon away
It’s time to wind up the masquerade
Just make your mind up the piper must be paid
The party’s over
It’s time to call it a day
Now you must wake up, all dreams must end
Take off your makeup, the party’s over
It’s all over, my friend
Tonight my basketball team plays Game 5 of its series against the San Antonio Spurs. The teams are tied at 2–2 right now, so this one is pivotal — crucial — decisive — of great consequence — however you want to put it.
So why do I feel so free and easy? Maybe because the Warriors have already overachieved to a rather staggering degree. This is the first playoff experience for everyone on the team who matters, and they’ve been playing without their only All-Star, David Lee. (Asterisk, Lee has made a couple of cameo appearances post-injury; this registers on the inspiration scale to be sure, but on the statistical scale mattereth not.) And yet they bounced the #3-seeded Nuggets from the playoffs and have played the #2-seeded Spurs to a standstill.
After losing a subpar Game 3 and suffering through a God-awful first half of Game 4, in which they scored 34 points, the W’s showed huge heart and came back to force overtime. (Let’s not mention the questionable shot at the end of regulation by Jarrett Jack, who also made several great buckets in addition to his usual heart-attack-inspiring, turnover-prone bball performance art.) In the overtime they simply dominated, outscoring the Spurs 13–3 and ending the drama with merciful quickness.
What more can I ask for, really? If the Warriors lose tonight, it will simply be a return to sanity in a world turned upside-down. The Dubs are a young team who will have lots more chances. If the Spurs lose, it will be a shameful failure and perhaps the end of them as a force in the NBA. Tim Duncan is in the twilight of his career, Manu Ginobili is one knee injury from spending all his time in bars with Diego Maradona, and while Tony Parker has looked great in this series, he turns 31 this week and that kind of quickness doesn’t last forever.
I’he heard the phrase “playing with house money” applied to the Warriors more than once in the last couple weeks, and it is apt. So… everything on blue, and let it ride.
These are exciting and turbulent times in the Warrior Nation — our team has made history twice already this week. First it was the bad kind of history, where they blew a 16-point lead with less than four minutes left in regulation, then lost to the San Antonio Spurs in double overtime. Some of us, and I’m not naming any names here, thought that would crush the spirits of the young men who get paid millions of dollars a year to play basketball with a picture of the Bay Bridge on their chests.
Well surprise, surprise: Last night in Game 2, the Dubs again ran out to a big lead — this time behind the sizzling hot shooting of Klay Thompson — but this time they did not fuck it up. They did make things interesting along the way. As their lead dwindled in the 4th quarter, at one point I glanced around the bar and saw a fellow fan huddled into a corner like an abused puppy afraid of being hit again. But in the end they had enough heart to hang in there, and they ought to love themselves for that.
This was historic because it broke a 30-game losing streak for the Warriors — it was the first time they had won in San Antonio in 16 years, and the first time Spurs senior citizen Tim Duncan had lost a game to the W’s at home. As someone who had watched many of those 30 games, I don’t mind telling you, it felt really good.
Now the series is tied 1–1 and the next two games are in Oakland. A promising situation, but for the record, I’m taking nothing for granted. The Spurs are a great team, and the world of sports is capricious, and the W’s are still playing shorthanded, etc. etc.
But still — this is one of those golden moments that reminds sports fans why we do it, why we suffer through painful seasons and changing lineups and irritating commentators. Because a team that plays together and with inspiration can do things that seem impossible. Right? Right.
It’s another happy day in Warriorland, but I think that what many of us are feeling is more akin to relief. Our boys did indeed win Game 6 of their series against the Denver Nuggets last night, advancing to the second round of the playoffs. But they did so in the most terrifying way imaginable, taking an 18-point lead in the 4th quarter and leading us to believe it was Happy Happy Fun Time, then committing turnover after turnover (or throwing the ball all over the place, as coach Mark Jackson put it) and coming within a hair’s breadth of pissing the game away.
But in end the the Dubs prevailed, 92-88, and there was much rejoicing in the Nation. I would like to personally here in public express my gratitude to Andrew Bogut, who had the game of his life when we needed it most, and Draymond Green, the unflappable rookie who repeatedly saved his teammate’s asses.
Also Carl Landry, who was his usual solid-as-a-rock self, and Stephen Curry, who had another one of those crazy third quarters (3 is a magic number for Steph, apparently). And hell, the whole Warriors team, who have brought me and mine a lot of joy over the last couple weeks after it looked like they were down for the count.
Up next are the San Antonio Spurs, an elite and well-seasoned team who have always had our number. Well, who knows…when you believe anything is possible, right?
Don’t let the baby face fool you — Stephen Curry is a mean, mean man.
What he did to the Denver Nuggets last night was downright cruel. Scoring 22 points in less than six minutes of the third quarter — that’s the basketball equivalent of pulling someone’s heart out and showing it to them while it’s still beating.
Didn’t Steph’s mama teach him that it’s not nice to treat people that way? Even if those people are your opponents in an NBA playoff game. As he rained in one shot after another — ridiculous threes, floaters, runners, and what appeared to be a 12-foot underhand scoop off the glass — all I could do was sit there and marvel at the discourtesy he was showing for his fellow professionals.
All the fight went out of the Nuggets after that. The Dubs lead the series 3–1 now, and stand on the brink of an unlikely series win (though nothing, of course, is guaranteed in this crazy world of ours).
During Curry’s run last night, a friend of mine texted that he was being “preposterous.” Jarrett Jack, in this delightful piece of video, calls him “ridiculous”:
Use whatever word you like — I just hope he didn’t learn his lesson and doesn’t anytime soon.
Today is a good day to be a Warriors fan — as good a day as we’ve had in six years, at least. Against all odds, our team stepped up and beat the Nuggets last night, as I sipped whiskey at Sidelines in Arcata, drumming my fingers on the bar and occasionally leaping up from my seat and making a spectacle of myself.
The Nuggets didn’t seem to know what hit them, and frankly I felt a little bit that way myself this morning. We Warriors fans are not well-equipped to handle success, especially when it comes in so surprising a fashion. (The whiskey may have had something to do with it too.) I’m not complaining, mind you; the day just keeps getting better and better, and I’d love to have three more just like it in the next week or so.
I haven’t written much this year about the Warriors, who are doing just fine anyway, thank you very much. Or at least they have been up to this point. There was a bit of a tragedy on Sunday, when the Dubs not only lost a close one to the Denver Nuggets in their first playoff game since 2007, but lost power forward David Lee to a torn hip flexor.
I am having a hard time finding a positive way to spin this. Lee, an eight-year veteran and two-time All-Star, was playing in the very first playoff game of his life when he decided to challenge shot-blocker Javale McGee at the rim. It was a smart play going into McGee’s body to neutralize his jumping ability; but the results were…ugh, well, let’s not discuss it anymore.
Now my boys have to face a strong and deep Denver team without their best big man, not an appetizing prospect by any stretch of the imagination. But you never know. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson could go crazy. Carl Landry and Andrew Bogut could step up into the void. Jarrett Jack could bust out his Boom Dizzle imitation. Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green could forget they’re rookies and do something special. Hell, Kent Bazemore could turn out to be the second coming of Sleepy Floyd.
Don’t look at me that way. It could happen.
And what elevates this achievement to a whole other level is that he didn’t just cheat, he didn’t just lie — he lied so boldly and so successfully that he actually filed, and won, libel suits against people who were telling the truth. Think about that for a minute. This is a historic achievement in mendacity that ought to be recognized — if not celebrated, exactly.
I find myself wondering about the mechanics of how they did it. Part of the reason I was willing to believe that Lance was clean was that it just seemed too hard to cheat that well for that long while under constant scrutiny by a phalanx of drug testers, not to mention the entire population of France. But somehow he and his teammates pulled it off.
A lot of people are very pissed at Lance right now. I personally can’t summon up much in the way of anger over all this; more than anything I’m just sad. Sad that cynicism won another one. Sad that cancer patients have to learn their hero was a fraud. Sad that people like Lance think winning is worth the cost of their integrity and self-respect. And sad that right now, people all over France are cocking an eyebrow and saying “Je vous l’avais bien dit.“