On the one hand, I don’t want to talk about the Warriors – that’s the Golden State Basketball Warriors, the only sports team I allow myself to really care about anymore – because they are playing so incredibly well right now, it seems foolish to do anything but sit quietly and enjoy, On the other hand, I don’t want to talk about anything else.
The Dubs have played only four games, but they have won them all. And last night they shellacked the LA Clippers, the team that bounced them out of the playoffs last year, in a way that can only be called ruthless. The Clips looked shocked, Chris Paul looked like he wanted to run and hide, Doc Rivers looked like he wanted to pull his hair out except his hair is about three micrometers long and that’s not possible.
Yes, it’s a little early to gloat. I know this. But when am I going to gloat if not now? The best part was watching Clips power forward Blake Griffin – a big, strong, talented guy who is also a total crybaby – suffer at the hands of the Warriors’ Draymond Green, who played phenomenal defense and hit four three-pointers. Here is Draymond running back down the court after one of them:
Out of context that looks a little dickish, but trust me, in the moment it was entirely appropriate.
I could go on and on about Steph Curry, who was his usual baby-faced-assassin self; Klay Thompson, who battled through a tough shooting night and hounded CP3 on D; and Andrew Bogut, who showed the Clips what a real tough guy looks like. But I have stuff to do.
All this giddiness won’t last forever, of course. It could end as soon as Saturday, when the W’s play the Houston Rockets. The Rockets are playing great too and haven’t lost a game either. So I’m going to savor this feeling while it lasts, like a fine wine with a long, slow finish.
It’s been a while since I could just post about whatever I felt like, so I thought I might take a few minutes to update you, faithful readers, about some of my ongoing obsessions.
According to every source of information at my disposal, Abe Vigoda remains alive. Among those who have shuffled off this mortal coil since I last wrote about Abe (2/25/11):
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Just to name a few. Whereas Abe’s to-all-appearances-imminent death has been a running gag in popular culture for about 40 years now. Long may he reign. Read more »
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.
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.
Richard Jefferson gives Klay Thompson a hug for all of us.
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.
You might not think so, but Carl Landry is very happy in this photo.
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?