Friday, May 3, 2013

Warriors-Nuggets Game Six: More Of An Opera Than A Game

Aussie For Win
I need to note this for the record, before I get into the guts of this unfor- gettable series... I had no real rooting interest in either team, coming in. Steph Curry is on my fantasy team and Andre Iguodala has my fondness for his service as a Sixer. I love Andre Miller and Kenneth Faried unconditionally; Ty Lawson is all kinds of great. I think George Karl is a twerp, and Mark Jackson might have been the worst color analyst ever on national TV games. I lived in the Bay Area when the Warriors were terrible and went to a few games; their crowds always deserved better, and never got it, but it's not as if I ever rooted for them. I picked the W's to win because Denver was banged up and Karl is a secretly terrible playoff coach, but I tend to forget about my picks in the heat of actual game, and just go for whoever is playing the better ball. Denver is the platonic ideal of starless basketball, and oddly inspiring, given their lack of shooting and free throw talent; I would have rooted for them against just about any other team in the tournament.

And yet, by the end of this series, I was ready, as seemingly was the rest of the national broadcast crew and audience, of throwing on one of those canary yellow gamers and going all-in for the Dubs. They're just that much fun to watch, and also that downright exasperating. They're kind of like a beautiful puppy; even when they make a mess, you can't stay mad at them.

In this game alone, David Lee came back to do his Willis Reed impersonation, and gave the team two meaningful minutes. Andrew Bogut played the game of his life (14-21-3 with 4 blocks), and kept the Warriors in the game in the first half, and the Nuggets from turning the offensive board into a mosh pit. Draymond Green gave them a great bench game, and made every Celtics fan on Twitter gnash their teeth over how they drafted Fab Melo instead of him. And when Stephen Curry got hot in the third quarter (really, the only quarter he was good tonight), they turned the entire game around, and got enough of a lead to take it home.

This would have been a wildly different series if Faried had been healthy all series long; of course, the Warriors can say that about Lee. Denver was doomed from the time they lost Danilo Gallanari, but as good and useful as he is, he's not guarding Curry. And as good as Lawson played, Curry was the difference in the series.

When their freakishly accurate weapon is hitting, the Warriors have a *spectacular* offense; either Curry or Klay Thompson is draining you from distance, or the bigs are dunking when you desperately try to get the ball out of their hands, and the Warrior guards are throwing lasers down the lane to cutters. The only real respite is that the team is turnover prone, doesn't get too many stops on their own, and no NBA team, no matter how good they are at shooting jumpers, can make them all night... but when they are dropping, as they were in the third quarter when the Nuggets looked like they were trying to hold back the ocean with a broom.

The end of this game was as ugly as you could imagine, if you were rooting for the Dubs. They turned it over 10 times -- no, seriously, 10 times -- in the fourth quarter. Some of them were so bad, you wondered if the team had been secretly replaced by 7th graders. Denver's athletic and aggressive on defense, but there's just no excuse for a home team with a big lead to hive so many opportunities in a closeout game. But in the final moments, Jarrett Jack (so underrated he's overrated) hit a pair of free throws, Denver went to the curious strategy of giving it to Miller on an iso 35 feet from the hoop (I love the guy, but behind the arc, he's pretty hopeless), and the Oracle home crowd went home happy.

Golden State has lost 29 straight in San Antonio; their last win in that town was in 1997. (No, seriously.) They've got more of a chance to beat the Spurs than the Lakers did, in that they have actual NBA players in the back court and a home crowd that doesn't act like the last days of the Roman Empire, but I can't give them more than a 1 in 10 shot at pulling the upset. But that doesn't matter right now.

They've just gave us one of the best series I've ever seen. More than that, they owe to no one.

Go Dubs!


snd_dsgnr said...

Great game, great series, but it deserved better than Reggie Miller calling the deciding game.

DMtShooter said...

Me, shooting alone at my driveway hoop, alone, drunk and without shoes, deserves better than Reggie Miller.

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