How the Golden State Warriors Are Feeling Today


Joyous. Victorious. Celebratory. Exhilarated.

They probably feel the way this music sounds.

Ronnie, a guitar player from Botswana:

Denver’s game plan was to make life messy for Curry, Thompson and Jack.  With the exception of Curry’s 14-point, 5-assist 3rd quarter, they succeeded.  Thompson and Jack were a combined 5 of 23 from the field.  More than anything, Andrew Bogut must be feeling some serious redemption in this moment.  After all of the injuries, the endless time-tables, rehabs, and trade-related chatter of the 18 months, Bogut’s 14-point, 21-board (7 offensive), 4-block highlight-reel of a game propelled Golden State to the second round.  Bogut’s ability to keep Denver off the glass enabled Curry to catch fire in the third, as the human torch tends to do in these playoffs, after he takes his magical halftime potion.

Third-Quarter Curry Flurry and Bogut Boost:

  • Went from down 2 (42-40), to up 10 (63-53) during first 6:40 of the 3rd; 23-9 run.
  • Golden State 33, Denver 20
  • Steph Curry: 14 points (4 of 5 from distance), 3 assists to 1 turnover
  • Andrew Bogut: 6 points, 3 offensive rebounds, 7 total rebounds

3rd Quarter Summary

TIME DENVER SCORE GOLDEN STATE
11:49 42-40 Klay Thompson misses 26-foot three point pullup jump shot
11:48 Kenneth Faried defensive rebound 42-40
11:33 Andre Iguodala makes 17-foot two point shot (Ty Lawson assists) 44-40
11:14 Kenneth Faried shooting foul (Carl Landry draws the foul) 44-40
11:14 44-41 Carl Landry makes free throw 1 of 2
11:14 44-42 Carl Landry makes free throw 2 of 2
11:03 Andre Iguodala misses 18-foot jumper 44-42
11:00 44-42 Carl Landry defensive rebound
10:41 Kenneth Faried personal foul (Harrison Barnes draws the foul) 44-42
10:32 44-42 Klay Thompson misses layup
10:30 JaVale McGee defensive rebound 44-42
10:23 Ty Lawson misses 26-foot three point jumper 44-42
10:22 Kenneth Faried loose ball foul (Carl Landry draws the foul) 44-42
10:22 Kosta Koufos enters the game for Kenneth Faried 44-42
10:12 JaVale McGee shooting foul (Stephen Curry draws the foul) 44-42
10:12 44-43 Stephen Curry makes free throw 1 of 2
10:12 44-44 Stephen Curry makes free throw 2 of 2
9:48 Wilson Chandler misses 11-foot two point jumper 44-44
9:47 44-44 Andrew Bogut defensive rebound
9:34 44-47 Stephen Curry makes 26-foot
9:18 Wilson Chandler misses 26-foot three point jumper 44-47
9:17 44-47 Andrew Bogut defensive rebound
9:03 44-50 Stephen Curry makes 26-foot three pointer (Andrew Bogut assists)
9:00 Nuggets Full timeout
8:52 Andre Iguodala makes 27-foot three point jumper (Ty Lawson assists) 47-50
8:34 47-52 Carl Landry makes 15-foot two point shot (Harrison Barnes assists)
8:11 Kosta Koufos makes two point shot (Andre Iguodala assists) 49-52
8:02 49-55 Stephen Curry makes 25-foot three pointer
7:50 Wilson Chandler misses 27-foot three point jumper 49-55
7:48 49-55 Carl Landry defensive rebound
7:33 49-55 JaVale McGee blocks Andrew Bogut’s shot
7:33 49-55 Stephen Curry offensive rebound
7:26 49-57 Andrew Bogut makes two point shot (Stephen Curry assists)
7:05 50-57 Carl Landry shooting foul (Ty Lawson draws the foul)
7:05 Ty Lawson makes free throw 1 of 2 50-57
7:05 Corey Brewer enters the game for JaVale McGee 50-57
7:05 Ty Lawson makes free throw 2 of 2 51-57
6:47 51-57 Carl Landry misses 12-foot
6:46 51-59 Andrew Bogut makes two point shot
6:46 51-57 Andrew Bogut offensive rebound
6:28 51-59 Harrison Barnes personal foul (Kosta Koufos draws the foul)
6:18 Wilson Chandler makes two point shot (Ty Lawson assists) 53-59
5:58 53-59 Stephen Curry misses 25-foot three point jumper
5:58 53-59 Andrew Bogut offensive rebound
5:41 53-61 Andrew Bogut makes driving layup (Stephen Curry assists)
5:28 Ty Lawson misses two point shot 53-61
5:26 53-61 Andrew Bogut defensive rebound
5:22 53-63 Carl Landry makes driving layup (Stephen Curry assists)
5:22 Wilson Chandler shooting foul (Carl Landry draws the foul) 53-63
5:22 Nuggets Full timeout

Final Two Minutes

In a disastrous final two minutes, the Warriors nearly gave their 9-point lead away, the lead slipping to 2 (90-88) with 0:33 left.  Five turnovers in those two minutes were a reminder of how inexperienced the Warriors are.  It forces you to consider if the Nuggets had tried a genuine full-court press at times in this series, instead of the partial-press they employed, would the Warriors have been able to handle it?  In all, the young Warriors turned the ball over 9 times in the 4th quarter, 4 from Curry, 2 from Jack, 2 from Green, and 1 from Thompson.

George Karl’s Coaching Legacy

George Karl is now 1-9 in playoff series in his coaching career.  It doesn’t make him a bad coach.  Losing to the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs twice in his first three years in Denver was nothing to hold against him, in terms of his legacy.  Losing to the Lakers two of the next three years wasn’t much of a knock in him either.  The Lakers fell to Boston in 6 games in 2008, then beat Orlando in 5 in 2009.  Losing to Utah in 2010 didn’t help Karl’s case.  Losing to up-and-coming Oklahoma City in 2011 was tough.  Facing the Lakers last year and losing was expected, but must have had Karl wondering what he’s done in his life to deserve this.  He coaches in a city with a distinct advantage in terms of home court (the altitude destroys opponents during the regular season–this year’s Denver team went 38-3 at home), but he can’t get past that first round in the playoffs.  Defense wins in the playoffs, and Karl has never been a master strategist on the defensive end.  The breakthrough 2009 season, in which they made the Western Conference Finals, beating New Orleans and Dallas before falling to the Lakers in 6, is history.  This year ends the same way 8 of those other 9 years ended: a solid regular season and a first-round exit.

George Karl is now 1-9 in playoff series in his coaching career.  It doesn’t make him a bad coach.  Losing to the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs twice in his first three years in Denver was nothing to hold against him, in terms of his legacy.  Losing to the Lakers two of the next three years wasn’t much of a knock in him either.  The Lakers fell to Boston in 6 games in 2008, then beat Orlando in 5 in 2009.  Losing to Utah in 2010 didn’t help Karl’s case.  Losing to up-and-coming Oklahoma City in 2011 was tough.  Facing the Lakers last year and losing was expected, but must have had Karl wondering what he’s done in his life to deserve this.  He coaches in a city with a distinct advantage in terms of home court (the altitude destroys opponents during the regular season–this year’s Denver team went 38-3 at home), but he can’t get past that first round in the playoffs.  Defense wins in the playoffs, and Karl has never been a master strategist on the defensive end.  The breakthrough 2009 season, in which they made the Western Conference Finals, beating New Orleans and Dallas before falling to the Lakers in 6, is history.  This year ends the same way 8 of those other 9 years ended: a solid regular season and a first-round exit.

Advancing to the Second Round – the State of the Western Conference Playoffs

The San Antonio Spurs await Golden State in the second round.  Few will predict the Warriors have a real chance of getting beyond San Antonio.  Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith were in agreement on Inside the NBA that Memphis-San Antonio in the West Finals is a lock.  They are most likely right.

The image of a hobbling Blake Griffin ruins the Clippers hopes of sending that series back to Memphis, though Jamal Crawford has been hiding away a huge quarter within him somewhere.  Lamar Odom and Bledsoe have made little impact, unable to intimidate the Grizzlies’ ball-handlers (Mike Conley).

The Rockets, meanwhile, have a shot at forcing a Game 7 tonight, and as improbable as it sounds, may keep that momentum going into Sunday.  Still, it’s hard to believe Kevin Durant will get zero help in Game 7 at home.  Kevin Martin can’t go 0-for-10 again, can he?

The Warriors will face San Antonio, and they will hear about the 23-straight losses in San Antonio.  The Warriors transformation included stretches of very solid defense, which allowed them to become a tough road team early in the year.  The win in Denver was evidence of the fact that this Warriors team is capable of surprising on the road.  Still, the Spurs are as steady as anyone, but they have a depleted front line with Tiago Splitter’s injured ankle.  It’s hard to know how Parker’s ankle is really doing, as the Lakers guards who matched up with him are exactly useless in terms of defense.  Without David Lee, the Warriors will struggle to keep San Antonio off the glass.  Andrew Bogut’s presence is critical, but it’s unlikely he can give more than 30 minutes per night.

Not Without Us: Rookies Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green Come Up Huge

Harrison Barnes’ ascension over the last 6 games has been truly remarkable, shooting 13 of 32 (40.6%) from long-range, while turning the ball over only 4 times in the six contests, while filling in for David Lee, whose surprise appearance in Game 6 will not likely mean he’s available for the San Antonio series.  He came out to give the crowd a lift, and then hobbled off.  While Barnes shot 36% on the year, Draymond Green shot a measly 21%.  However, Green came up huge in Game 6, hitting 2 of his 4 attempts.  Green’s 6 of 12 from distance was as improbable as any performance in the series.  If NBA scouts knew Green could hit a three-pointer, he’d have been drafted late in the first round, as his defensive toughness, his length, and his energy were never in question.  My friend David and I were discussing Green early in the year, when he filled early at power forward, and the team took off, upsetting good teams on the road After beating the Clippers in early November, the team went 6-1 on an early December road trip, with wins over Brooklyn, Atlanta, and Miami.  The swagger that this team has today stems from those early season lessons, building confidence through difficult wins on the road, bonding together.  And that bond is plainly evident as you watch these guys play.  About as refreshing as a Pimm’s Cup.

They play with as much joy as that guitarist in the Youtube clip above, Ronnie.

In reality, the Warriors chances of winning 4 of 7 from San Antonio are pretty slim.  But if they somehow manage a road win in Games 1 or 2, like they did in Denver, this series will certainly be interesting.  And if not, their season will still be wildly successful compared to the last several years.  First it was the Giants, then the improbable run of the  A’s, then the 49ers, and now it’s the Warriors turn.  Man, are Bay Area natives getting spoiled with these post-season riches.  I should know.  I’m from Boston.

Go Celtics! Go Warriors!  Go Playoffs!  This is exhausting.

Jonah Hall writes the Darko Index because he can’t help himself: the thrill of playoff basketball is simply too much.

Contact Jonah at darkoindex@gmail.com

About these ads
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 298 other followers

%d bloggers like this: