Location: Evergreen Ave. Personnel: Me, KT, GD, GG, Olive the cat T-shirt: Golden State of Mind
This time we had our Champagne at the beginning of the game, in the form of mimosas. Mine was mostly juice, though, because I needed to be laser-focused for Game 7.
This despite the fact that after a wonderful Saturday I felt like I had achieved the sense of detachment that would allow me to accept any result. Asking for a fifth title in nine seasons is a bit greedy, after all; maybe the joy should go to some underprivileged town like, say, poor Sacramento — where the fans bring cowbells to the games because Phil Jackson once called it a “cowtown,” which it is, figuratively if not literally.
But I don’t decide these things. Steph does.
I said in the Game 5 post that I had run out of superlatives for him, and they haven’t invented any new ones in the meantime. I guess “Steph” is a superlative of its own at this point. Several times a game I just shake my head and say “Steph,” and everyone knows what I mean.
Unsurprisingly, I enjoy writing about the victories more than the defeats. Winning is more fun than losing. Everybody loves Champagne and confetti.
But losing teaches you things about yourself. Do you lose your composure and start pointing fingers and citing conspiracies? Or do you accept what’s happened and your role in it, and try to do better next time?
I am willing to take the blame for this one because I wore a t-shirt that had previously been worn for a loss — in part to try to disabuse myself of the idea that my shirt choices affect the outcome of the games. But I guess they do. In my defense, Headband Klay had an excellent track record before this year — 4–0 in last year’s Finals — but apparently has lost his mojo.
I am also guilty of putting into type the idea that we were going to win, although I think I qualified it pretty well. But I did use the word [redacted], which may have been enough to anger the basketball gods.
It’s been a wild, topsy-turvy year in the NBA playoffs. Last night the #8 seed in the East, the Miami Heat — who only snuck into the playoffs via the back door of the play-in tournament — eliminated the #1 Milwaukee Bucks. Meanwhile the Lakers, who also qualified through the play-in, are on the brink of bouncing the cocky young Memphis Grizzlies in a series that has put many of us longtime Laker-haters in the uncomfortable position of sort of rooting for them. And perhaps most surprising of all, the New York Knicks won a playoff series. The Knicks!
For a minute there it seemed like the Stark Fist of Removal was coming for the Warriors too. When they lost the first two games of their series, and then Draymond Green got suspended for Game 3, there was much doomsaying in the Nation: It wasn’t just the season coming to an end, it was the world. The group chat became a deathwatch.
Is it OK if I give myself a pat on the back here? It was at this point that I texted my friends:
In the end this will just be a dramatic moment in our 2023 championship video.
Which is a long way off, I know. We’re still in the first round and there are still games to be played. Last night I was reminded of the sad tale of Tracy McGrady, whose Orlando Magic went up 3–1 on the Detroit Pistons in the first round in 2003. Feeling euphoric, T-Mac told the press, ““It feels good to be in the second round.”
Location: Brodnitz Residence, Alameda Personnel: Me, Dan, Bob T-shirt: Is Potato
This was one of those games that simultaneously reminds you why you watch sports and and makes you question why you continue to do so. It was entirely too stressful for something that technically comes under the heading of “leisure activity.” After 47 minutes and 59 seconds of high-octane basketball, nothing was decided until Harrison Barnes’ three-point attempt caromed off the side of the rim and the hearts of all the world’s Warriors fans resumed beating.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed myself. There was food, there were friends, and the outcome was the desired one. But I’m ready now for a couple days off. Game 5 will be Wednesday, and unfortunately will take place in Sacramento, where things did not go so well last week. My project between now and then is to convince myself that my team has Seen the Light and can win one on the road, which they will have to do at some point if they want to win the series. Given 80 hours to work with, I think I can do it.
Location: Evergreen Ave. Personnel: Me, KT, Sid the cat, Olive the cat T-shirt: When It Rains, It Pours
Since Steve Kerr took over as coach in 2014, the Warriors have never been down 2–0 in a playoff series. Until now.
In a way this is not surprising. The W’s were 11–30 in road games this season, versus 33–8 at home. So there is every reason to believe they can win the next two games at Chase Center to get back in the series. But still, it’s a painful and unfamiliar position to be in, and there will be three days of excruciating hot takes to endure before Game 3 tips off on Thursday.
The number that stands out from last night is 20, which is the number of turnovers my team committed. To be honest it felt like 50 — the ball was flying all over the place, and not in a good way. You just can’t play sloppy like that in games that matter. Can I get an amen?
Also the Kings’ defense was playing really well, or at least I think it was. Things got a bit frantic for a while there. There may have been some yelling at the TV.
It got so frustrating for Draymond Green that when Domantas Sabonis got a little handsy in one 4th-quarter sequence, Draymond went full Christian Laettner on him:
It is not out of the question that Draymond will be suspended for the next game, which would be, how you say, Bad. We’ll see what the league says today. Or maybe you will: I very much want to run off into the woods, or whatever, and stay away from all forms of media until about 7 PM on Thursday.