And now, the conclusion of Chapter 2.
"Hey, you can't tell yourself to throw it down!" Baron barked as they transitioned to defense. Beans gave Baron a puzzled look. "Never mind, just guard ..." and it was too late. Bynum ran past him and caught the ball for an easy dunk.
The battle started off slow for the Warriors. They had no rhythm as sloppy play after sloppy play gave the Fakers an increasing lead. The slyest Faker named Fisher schooled Monta Ellis for a couple baskets as Jackson threw a pass to the front row forgetting the fans can't actually play.
"Bam, another one ... I'm so pretty!" Kobe hissed as he banked another ridiculous shot with a spin over Pietrus. "No wonder we beat you nine in a row, you guys can't hit anything!" And he was right. The first quarter was ugly. The Warriors were able to hit every inch of the rim and still unable to have the ball drop. "I can do this all night long". The mental beat down had begun.
The first quarter ended 17 to 28.
The mood wasn't much better in the second quarter. What made it worse was the fact that the Fakers put in their bench players, who drove past the Warriors practically on every single play.
"Damn man who are these guys, we're getting killed out here? Farmar, Turaif, Radmanovic, Vujacic? Where the heck are we anyways?" Barnes panicked as the Faker reserves out rebounded, out hustled, and out played the Warriors on every possession. They were the deadliest kind around ... the ones you didn't think could hit you. As Kobe sat on the bench the Faker lead kept increasing. Farmar hit a 3 and made a steal at the other end of the court. Tuaraif would grab an offensive rebound and get fouled going to the line.
They could have kept these guys in all game!
"Hey Ellis, they should call us Errington. You know because we are a good one-two punch. Or maybe Hellis ... oooww I like that". Harrington laughed as he made 8 of 15 for the night and 3 of 5 from downtown finishing with 22 points. This ended his personal slump and he looked like the old Harrington they needed.
Ellis paid no attention as he used his quickness to attack the basket. He finished with 19 points and 6 assists which kept the Warriors from imploding at the half.
Halftime, Warriors 47, Fakers 54.
"Ok guys ... we're bleeding out there. Just do a little this and do a little that and we'll be back in it." Nellie started to do the six step break dance move as be popped another beer.
"Coach, can I get in?" Hudson pleaded
"NO!" all 11 Warrior players yelled in sync.
"So when you guys can do this ..." coach was now on his back attempting a windmill "we'll win the game I promise."
That was all they needed to hear and see for that matter to start the 3rd quarter. Monta and Harrington continued to lead the bunch closing the gap from 13 to 5.
But they still weren't able to take the lead, most in part because of Bynum. This guy was a monster in the paint that ended the night with 17 points and 16 rebounds. He made a couple more sweat slams, a nice block, and you can tell in a couple years he's going to be very good in the league.
Third quarter, Warriors 83, Fakers 85
"Oooohhh fourth quarter and I'm starting". Croshere couldn't hide his excitement. "Ooohhh look I just made a three pointer".
The end was nearing. Time running out and the added pressure of a 9 game losing streak to the Fakers pressed ever harder. Still down by 10 with 8 minutes remaining, the mist parted for a split second as the lights shone down and something occurred that changed the game completely. Kobe pulled his groin. Maybe a gift from the Karma gods, it was apparent that Kobe's groin was holding him back. He couldn't explode to the basket or defend very well which gave the Warriors another chance to take the lead.
With 2:20 left in the game and down by 5, Baron made an incredible 3. Seconds later he pushed a fast break, swinging the ball to Jackson to tie the game.
"Give me the ball! I'm going to end this streak" Baron demanded and he did just that. With Kobe sitting on the bench because of his groin Baron took over in Baron fashion. With a one point lead and 19 seconds left Baron made a step to the basket, pulled back and drained a floating 3 pointer which won the game. "I AM LEGEND! I AM THE WARRIOR WONDER!"
He is Legend!
Blowing kisses to the largest crowd in Warrior history the place went crazy. The Fakers were finally defeated. After having the lead all night, they hung their heads and walked off the court as the Warriors celebrated. Kobe looked back and glared promising another exciting rematch in March, and then grabbed his groin and left.
Warriors Won 108 to 106!