Man. As a proud resident of Warriors Nation I can say that I've experienced all kinds of losses. I've seen the "never even close to winning" games (more than my fair share, I'd like to say), the "blown lead" games, and let's not forget our classic, "losing at a buzzer beater" game.
Tonight's game was the kind of loss that is always hardest for me to digest. To watch the Warriors spring back from a dismal first half and sprinkle some of that "We Believe" magic to get them back on top; only to end up giving it up in a mediocre overtime... well those are the games where you don't even want to talk to anyone afterwards. You just want to go to bed and try not to think about what could have been.
Lucky for me I've got tonight's recap. So instead of quietly meditating on the events that caused tonight's rollercoaster ride to come to a screeching halt, I get to share my frustrations with all of you. Misery loves company, eh?!
Monumental effort in the 2nd half.
Okay, before I get too deep into analysis, let me just stop and say that I am truly proud of the Warriors. They just came off an amazing 6 game run that even included a few NBA elites. In the past 7 games (yes I'm including tonight's game) we've seen the Warriors do some amazing things that has shown the hoops world (including many of us) that the "We Believe" movement was in fact not a fluke. So if you sense me getting too bitter, trust me, it has to do with the fact that I am writing this in the wake of a missed win that I really wanted. It's just hard to see them try to hard to get within reach of the W only to watch it lightly sift away through their fingers like so many fine grains of sand. (And the winner for the Pulitzer Prize in the category of Blogging is...)
Now I'm ashamed to say it, but I had counted us out of this one after the first half. While Al and the Warriors as a whole did a tremendous job of containing Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis offensively, they simply couldn't be everywhere at once. As a result, Jameer Nelson, Keith Bogans, and select others that we did not initially consider concerning before the game started... um, became concerns. (Here's that Pulitzer back.)
It was the standard tale of the Warrior Killer in the first half, except there were about 3 of them. In the meanwhile, the Warriors were missing their takes to the rim and shot after shot after shot. When the dust cleared and the halftime buzzer went off, I felt fortunate that we were able to head back to our locker room down by single digits.
Okay, this is the part where I drool over Howard for a bit. As well as we stopped him on offense (anything under 20 from him and I consider us defending him well), I can't believe how big this guy is going to be in the league. He's a rebounding machine and turned out 7 swats against us tonight. (Some of them were pretty embarrassing.) In the first half, it felt like our boys were driving into the lane and trying to shoot over Redwoods. It was frustrating to watch, but watching his potency down low made me less upset about the Warriors being behind.
Seriously, this guy is no joke.
Luckily, my lack of confidence in the Dubs was sorely misplaced because they came out with a hell of a second half. Let's drop some points about the game.
- Jackson was a huge catalyst with his shooting, netting 25 points without even dropping a bucket in the first half. Seeing is believing. When this guy nails a few shots and gets his confidence up a little; feed him the ball. Jackson truly kept us in the game offensively and was a huge part of our resurgence.
- Monta has a well rounded game overall. I'm proud to say that this is no longer a rare event for him. He's found his stride and is now looking to elevate his game further. Tonight he nearly put down a triple-double (missing it by 3 dimes) with a monster 12 boards, 7 of them offensive! He may look small out there, but speed goes a long way in his hands. Really wish that he had hit that buzzer shot but that's more the bitterness of the loss talking. Great game overall for Ellis.
- I know without the call we may not have even gone to overtime but shame on the ref for giving Howard that T in the crucial seconds of the game. It should say something when fans of the opposing team call a crucial foul in their favor for being ticky-tacky. It was clear to me that he was simply getting down on himself for blowing the previous dunk.
- Foyle swatted Baron. I'll assume an apology card is in the mail.
- Props to Beans for yet another double-double and some very aggressive boards (especially considering who you were pulling those over!) Further props for having a slammin' hot girlfriend. All that hair gel is starting to make sense.
- 14 players overall (7 from each team) scored in double digits. That's gotta be some sort of record.
- Jameer Nelson wins the Luther Head award for sure, missing a triple double by 2 boards.
- In a game where I would bet money that we would have lost on the boards we crashed the glass like nobody's business. When we couldn't get a hand on it, we tipped it wisely in the right direction. Our ability to gather rodmans were perhaps the most surprising thing I saw tonight. In the end, we ended up tying the Magic on boards (54-54) with more offensives in our corner.
- The Oracle was ripping tonight. You wouldn't have guessed this was a Monday game in a million years. Props to those of you that were out there.
All said and done, we lost a very hard fought battle tonight. Yes, there are a number of things that we could have gotten done in order to get this win, but the Warriors didn't disappoint.
Unless you count the whole losing thing.
I must give a huge nod to Monta for almost notching a triple double tonight but at the end of the day, Jackson was keeping us in this. His long shots and 3 point plays in the 2nd half are what finally got us the lead and helped the Warriors rally into overtime.