Dubs, Dray, Klay, etc. etc.

It’s been a month and a half since I posted my statement doubling down on Draymond and the Warriors. How’s that working out?

In terms the world will understand — that is, wins and losses — not so great. In that time the W’s are 10–10, not disastrous but hardly what you’d call encouraging. They currently occupy 12th place in the West, a game and a half out of the play-in tournament, and the conventional wisdom has written them off.

Not without reason. Above and beyond the obvious problems — a chronic inability to make baskets or to prevent opponents from doing the same — there has been something ineffably Wrong with the Dubs all season. Then a couple weeks ago an assistant coach suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack in the middle of a team dinner.

This is of course horrible but I couldn’t help seeing it as a scene in some future 30 for 30: This was where things turned around, the squad pulled together to win one for Deki (Dejan Milojević, 1977–2024, RIP), whose spectral presence on the court could be glimpsed by those with a certain kind of eyes.

Since then the Warriors have won two games and lost two, which doesn’t quite fit the narrative. But the losses have both been by one point, including a gutting double-overtime heartbreaker against the Lakers. So there is reason for optimism. Wait: There’s always reason for optimism; it’s a mindset. There’s reason for a judiciously measured spoonful of hope, I guess is what I mean.

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My Statement on Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors

“That brother needs help.”
—Josef Nurkic

A lot of people (hi Mom!) have been asking where I stand on the current situation in Dub Nation, which is, to put it succinctly: tire fire.

For those of you who are mercifully oblivious, my team currently stands at 10–14, and the truth is worse than that. Not only have they blown numerous 20-point leads this season, but their bellwether, their heart and soul, my wayward son Draymond Green is at the lowest ebb of his career. Just a few games after returning from a five-game suspension for going all Derek Chauvin on Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert, he whacked the Suns’ Josef Nurkic in the side of the head with a flailing arm and is now suspended indefinitely.

It’s bad. I’m always the first to defend Draymond, but I’m having a hard time doing it anymore. About all I can do is sigh and shake my head.

Having said that, here is my official position.

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Round 2, Game 6: Lakers 122, Warriors 101

Location: Evergreen Ave.
Personnel: Me, KT, Johnny the cat, Olive the cat
T-shirt: Strength in Numbers

It was of course foolish of me to say that there would be “no more (emotional) rollercoaster for a while,” as immediately on the heels of the news that the Lakers’ Anthony Davis would be playing Game 6 after all came reports that the Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins had sustained a rib cartilage fracture and was listed as questionable. Wiggins was absolutely crucial in Game 5 and the prospect of playing without him was not an appetizing one.

And right after that we learned that ex-Warrior Kevin Durant and his new team the Phoenix Suns — considered title favorites by many — had been eliminated by the Denver Nuggets. Possibly I experienced an emotion akin to schadenfreude in that moment, though in theory I have nothing against KD, a massive talent who often seems confused about his direction in life. I can certainly identify with the latter, if not the former.

In the end Wiggins did play and it mattered not. “It’s a make or miss league” is something you’ll often hear NBA talking heads say, and it’s the truth. Last night the Warriors shot 39-for-103 (37.9%) from the field and 13-for-48 (27.1 %) on three-pointers. You’re not going to win doing that.

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Round 2, Game 5: Warriors 121, Lakers 106

Location: Evergreen Ave.
Personnel: Me, KT, Johnny the cat, Olive the cat
T-shirt: Strength in Numbers

As I was laying in bed Tuesday night, thinking vaguely about sheep but too lazy to count, I realized that a part of me was ready for the emotional rollercoaster that has been this year’s postseason to be over. It’s been a struggle from the drop and after the high of Game 7 against the Kings, the slow-motion horror of losing three out of four to the Lakers — who weren’t even supposed to be here — had depleted my last reserves of optimism.

But then yesterday I grokked that there will be no more rollercoaster for a while. Either the Warriors will win three in a row or the season will be over — no middle ground remains. So I was back in front of my TV at 7, eating delicious cod and drinking Lalande-de-Pomerol (whatever that is), and on the whole feeling pretty good about the world.

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Round 2, Game 4: Lakers 104, Warriors 101

Location: Evergreen Ave.
Personnel: Me, KT, Johnny the cat, Olive the cat
T-shirt: Keep Calm and Curry On

This was a hard-fought nail-biter of a game, and though obviously I am not pleased with the result, I can’t complain about the entertainment value. The lead changed hands about 50 times and in the end, My Personal Savior had a good look at a 3 that would have won it, then inexplicably threw the ball out of bounds with a second and change left on the clock.

Though the Lakers’ stars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, both had decent nights, the game was won for them by someone named Lonnie Walker IV — who, after not scoring in the first three quarters, somehow poured in 15 points in the 4th. Several times I was seen to leap up from my couch and yell, “Who the fuck is Lonnie Walker?”

Fortunately Olive the cat was there radiating calm, which kept me from getting too exercised. She did a good job of closing the game after Old Man Johnny covered the first half. Next time I attend a game in person, I may take a personal comfort animal along.

So Tuesday morning dawns on a 3–1 series deficit. Teams have come back from 3–1 before — in fact, in 2016 it happened two series in a row. The Warriors trailed Oklahoma City 3–1 in the Conference Finals before coming back to win, then went up 3–1 over LeBron’s Cavs in the Finals before snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

But you can’t win three games at a time. Tomorrow night’s Game 5 now becomes an elimination game, and fortunately is at Chase Center. Home cooking is best; just ask Gary Payton II, who in the first quarter last night ran straight off the court into the locker room without checking out of the game, apparently in some sort of distress. Some of us watching guessed he had to go #2, but today word is he threw up in his mouth. In any case, on the next Warriors possession, Draymond Green fired a pass to where Payton was supposed to be and the ball was caught by a bemused Lakers coach.

That possession might have come in handy at the end of the game. But there are always so many could-have-beens and might-have-dones and what-the-fucks. Today’s mission: leave all that behind, clear the ol’ noggin, and look to the future.

Round 2, Game 3: Lakers 127, Warriors 97

Location: Evergreen Ave.
Personnel: Me, KT, JR, EBR, NR, K?
T-shirt: 2018 Championship

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s a 57-point turnaround from Game 2 to Game 3. There’s not a lot to say about last night’s fiasco except that everything went right for the Lake Show and wrong for the Dubs.

How bad was it? Steph Curry, normally the most automatic of free-throw shooters, missed two of his three attempts. The Warriors committed 19 turnovers and it felt like 90. Draymond Green and JaMichael Green, who both started, combined for all of 4 points versus 7 personal fouls and 2 technicals. It was ugly.

Many years ago the Starland Vocal Band, best remembered for “Afternoon Delight,” had a tune where they sang about being “blessed with forgetfulness.” And that is my mantra for today — have a good Sunday, forget about the horror, wake up Monday with a clear head and full heart.