It is my unpleasant and self-appointed duty to fill this space with words about last night’s basketball game, which had a brilliant start — a 12–0 Warriors run, after which I was sending giddy texts to everyone in my address book — and then, as the Old Man says, “little by little it started going to shit.” The wife and I sat on our barstools at the recently reopened Tomo Sushi in Arcata, sadly eating delicious food as what seemed like a sure thing went slowly sideways.
I wish there was some excuse, some quirk, some extenuating circumstance that I could cite. And yes, the W’s were missing key cog Andre Iguodala, who sat out with a leg contusion. But that shouldn’t have mattered; the Warriors simply let a game that they had in their grasp slip away. The Rockets just appeared to want it more, and that does matter, even at this rarefied level of competition.
On the other hand, isn’t this what I keep asking for? Some challenge, some competition, some adversity for my team to overcome on their way to glory? So here you go, bright boy — on Thursday the Dubs will play a road game that they really need to win, no kidding around. Happy now?
So this morning I was reading a Serious News story on the New York Times about the uneasy alliance between Israel’s Netanyahu government and evangelical Christians, who don’t really like each other but find it convenient to work together in pursuit of their respective goals. But shallow person that I am, it was the following paragraph that really caught my attention:
“You have this evangelical who ends his prayer knowing full well that it’s inappropriate, that the Jews there are going to be upset that he did that, and not able to answer ‘amen’ to his prayer,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Such an explicitly Christian prayer, he warned, revived old fears of many Jews that evangelical support for Israel is “a way to sweeten us up and get us soft to get Jesus through the back door.”
After two days of camping it was a little disorienting to find myself in a loud, colorful sports bar in Sacramento yesterday, waiting for Game 3 to start. Confusingly too, despite the presence of about 23 big screens, it took a while for us to get TNT on one of them; and when we did, Shaquille O’Neal was talking about gun control, then Charles Barkley said some things about mental health. The general feeling was of a slightly, though not disagreeably, skewed parallel universe.
When the game finally got underway the Warriors had the same starting lineup they’ve been using (what they now call the “Hamptons 5”: Curry, Thompson, Durant, Iguodala, Green), but a new defensive scheme designed to keep Steph from being picked on defensively. It did not go well at first. With Curry scrambling to get back to his own man rather than switch, the Rockets found the open man and got a few easy baskets.
In the first minutes of the game the Rockets built what seemed like a substantial lead. A look back at the play-by-play shows that in fact their biggest lead was 4, at 8–4. At that point the W’s took a timeout, immediately after which Steph Curry hit his first 3 of the game.
Over the annoyingly long interval between Games 2 and 3 there had been a lot of loose talk — even from yours truly — about “what’s wrong with Steph.” The truth was that his floor game had been solid, but his long-range shooting had not been what we expect it to be. And after making that one triple, he continued to struggle throughout the first half, even as the W’s slowly built a solid 11-point lead. (more…)
Throughout this year’s playoffs, the Warriors have made a habit of gifting every team with one victory at home, just to reward the local fans for all they’ve done. This meant writing off Game 4 in San Antonio and Game 3 in New Orleans; but in the case of the Houston Rockets, who had home-court advantage, it was necessary to surrender Game 2 — otherwise there would be no more games in Houston.
Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself today, the morning after my beloved basketball team phoned in a sadly lackluster performance. The numbers tell the story; even Kevin Durant, who scored 38 points, was –28 for the night. Klay Thompson was largely absent, and something is definitely wrong with Steph Curry, who is 2-for-13 on threes over the last two games (though his overall field-goal percentage, assist, and rebound numbers are pretty good).
But all that will be forgotten if the Good Warriors show up at Oracle Arena on Sunday, when Game 3 will tip off shortly after 5 P.M. Unfortunately that is three days from now, giving the Dub Nation 70-something hours to stew in its juices. Perhaps we will grow as people during that time. Wouldn’t that be nice?
James Harden’s idea of defense is trying to blow Kevin Durant over.
I was a little antsy as I sat on my couch last night with a gray cat in my lap, waiting for Game 1 to tip off already after four long days of no basketball. My Warriors were set to face the Houston Rockets, owner of the league’s best record at 65–17, and one and a half–point favorites according to the oddsmakers.
The first couple minutes did not go well. A defensive lapse left James Harden all alone for a three, which he buried. Big Clint Capela rejected Kevin Durant’s first shot attempt with authority, then slammed home an alley-cop dunk on the other end. Draymond Green got a technical 1:07 into the game for shoving Harden under the basket, and was lucky he did not get booted summarily from the game. Andre Iguodala picked up two quick fouls and headed to the bench.
But despite all that the Warriors never trailed by more than 9, and had closed it to one at the end of the 1st quarter. The game was tied at 56 at halftime. (more…)