If history is any indication, the Warriors will be just fine. They were in this same position exactly one month ago: down 2-1 to an opponent who was playing stifling defense, facing a must-win Game 4 on the road, vultures and jackals of the press circling. They won the next three games to eliminate the Memphis Grizzlies, and all was right with the world.
That doesn’t make this a fun day to be a Dubs fan. We are all some combination of pissed off, bummed out, torn up, and hung over. Our boys were humbled last night by an undermanned Cleveland team that is playing with psychotic intensity, slowing things to a brutal grind and leaving no trace of the beautiful basketball team we’ve seen all season long. It kind of reminds me of the Vogons:
Billions of years ago, when the Vogons first crawled out of the primeval seas of Vogsphere, lay panting and heaving on the planet’s virgin shores… when the first rays of the young Vogsol sun had shone across them… it seemed as if the forces of evolution had simply given up on them then and there, turned aside in disgust and written them off as an ugly mistake. They would never evolve again. They shouldn’t have survived. The fact that they did is a testament to the thick-willed stubbornness of these creatures. Evolution? they said to themselves. Who needs it? What nature refused to do for them they simply did without until they were able to correct the gross anatomical inconveniences with surgery.
The natural forces of Vogsphere worked overtime to make up for their blunder. They brought forth scintillating jeweled scuttling crabs, which the Vogons ate, smashing them with large iron mallets; aspiring trees which the Vogons cut down to use the firewood for cooking the crabs; and elegant gazellelike creatures with dewy eyes which the Vogons would catch and sit on.
The Cinderella-boy-out-of-nowhere that everyone wants to talk about is Cavs guard Matthew Dellavedova, who had 20 points last night and has been making Steph Curry’s life miserable on the defensive end. I have mixed feelings about Dellavedova, because as a basketball player he kind of reminds me of myself: undersized and undertalented, surviving on sheer tenacity and guile bordering on mendacity. On the other hand, he is killing my team right now, and it makes no sense, and GOOD LORD WHAT THE FUCK.
Sorry. Just had to get that off my chest. Now, let’s look at the bright side a little. Just as in Game 3 of the Memphis series, the Warriors finally seemed to figure things out in the 4th quarter, mounting a charge that fell just short. David Lee was disinterred from his crypt and made himself useful, scoring 11 points in 13 minutes. Andre Iguodala was a rock of sanity and competence on both ends of the floor, as he has been throughout this series. Steph Curry shook off his funk in the last quarter, scoring 17 points and making things interesting at the end.
It hardly seems worth mentioning that LeBron James had 40 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists, because that is just how he do now. The 96 points that the Warriors gave up last night were not the problem; it was all the points they didn’t score, all the plays they didn’t make. Before Steph found the range they shot 7-for-28 on threes, and they ended the night at 40% from the field. That just won’t do, plain and simple.
Since history seems to be repeating itself – at least I hope it is – I will just repeat what I said back on May 10th, with edits as appropriate. The Dubs face their second honest-to-god must-win game of the season tomorrow night in Cleveland. Win that one, and they tie the series at 2-2 and get home court advantage back. Lose it and they go down 3-1, which is pretty much a death sentence. There’s not much to say about this; either they will or they won’t. Game time is 6:00, be there or be square.