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 a statistical level 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 away 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.