For the last three seasons now, the Warriors have taken on the Pistons @ the Palace of Barbarians….err… I mean … Auburn Hills around this time in March, which also happens coincide with my birthday (and Zorgon’s too! Happy b-day Z!). Each time I promised myself I would go, only to battle it out with my conscious at the last minute, with my conscious eventually winning out. I wouldn’t deny myself this year and it definitely lived up the Warriors and Golden State of Mind’s creed: It was "a great time out!" and we were "unstoppable baby!"
props well deserved after dropping 29
(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Since leaving the college town that I live in is quite an adventure, I’ll narrate tonight’s game from a first person perspective, sort of in an ethnographic study of professional sporting events, ala those old-school anthropological studies.
Sheed teaching kids the fundamentals...of trashtalking
(Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
I had slept a total of about 4 hours the night before and was coming down from my coffee high earlier from earlier in the day. My girlfriend Lee was driving and I decided to take a nap. When I woke up, she told me that we were about 10 miles out, but still had 2 hours before tip-off. I looked outside and we were outside DSW Store. Groan. No offense to Lee, but being there reminded me of running errands with my mom -- unvoluntarily -- when I was in elementary school. The problem is DSW doesn’t have any shoes for men. And if they do, its like the shoes that are so uncool looking that even Payless won’t sell them! I was done browsing after about 5 minutes, but I waited for about 45 minutes for Lee.
So we eventually make it to the "The Palace" after wading through traffic for more than an hour. It’s a blistering 7 degrees outside and there are kids running around in shorts and a t-shirt. These Michiganders are a bizarre peoples.
We eventually make it inside and I head to the men’s restroom. I’m washing my hands when I notice the dude next to me is wearing a Richardson jersey. I look to him and say "Lets go Warriors!" and show off my retro-Warriors gear. He goes "I gotta be. My brother plays for them." Seemed like he was a fan out of obligation or like he was being held at gun point or something. I thought I just misunderstood him. It was sort of an awkward conversation just cause the men’s bathroom is a weird weiner-phobic space where men don’t really make eye contact or contact whatsoever. I hesitated shaking his hand, pausing to remember whether or not he used soap to wash his hands. Anyway, he asks where I’m from and I tell him Fremont and he goes "Oh! My brother plays for the Warriors" -- I guess this time more clearly. The dude was African American and I wanted -- as a joke -- to say, "Your brother is Biedrins???" but figure that it probably wouldn’t go over too well. Also, he probably doesn’t know who Biedrins is either. He tells me he’s JRich’s brother and you could tell he was proud to say it, too. I tell him I’m glad JRich is back and that we needed him really bad and he gives me a pound and says "stay up, enjoy the game."
enjoying Coke in a $5.50 reusable Pistons cup
The hot dogs there were pretty good. Best part about the refreshments? No lines.
Through out the first quarter, I’m bracing myself for the blow out or meltdown. I think this is the first time our real starting five has been on the court together. I cringe every time I see Harrington chuck a three pointer with someone in his face. Jax’s is somewhat out of control and his handles look shaky. Lee constantly reminds me, "Have faith in your team!" It’s a sloppy first quarter but the Warriors are staying in it. Biedrins has a couple easy 1 foot shots and shows some patience in the paint with his reverse spin hook shot.
sometimes, the Jax/Harrington duo is as scary as the Dunmurph sisters
As expected, the Warriors managed to dig themselves into a hole by clanking jumpers with defenders surrounding them or making errant passes. I pre-occupy myself with some nachos. As the Warriors begin to rally back and eventually take the lead before the half, I cheer "Lets go Warriors!" a few times only to have the guy behind me tap me on the shoulder telling me "We’re playing Golden State tonight." I responded that I knew and he then tells me "This is Piston’s country." I just said "whatever." The guy was pretty entertaining and his oogling over the cheerleader who came around to hand out free pizza nearly made the night alone. As she came up, he calls out "Hey girl!!! Hey! Hey! How’s it going???" She smiles at him and as she’s walking away, says really loud "DAAAMN she is SMOKING HOT! SHE IS A BABE!" Looks over at his friend and asks him, "She was smoking hot right? Right?" Its really no big deal to me, but when you put it in the context of families and young children all around, it really made it kind of hilarious.
During halftime, the Pistons show a PSA over their jumbotron reminding fans to behave themselves. Billups, Sheed, Tayshaun, and McDyess are in the PSA, urging fans to restrain from using profanity and physical violence at all times no matter who it is directed at (other fans or players). Funny that they need to put out a warning, as if the fans are unable to restrain their inherent violent urges…oh wait….
Foyle comes out early during halftime to run laps around the court. Oddly, he doesn't bother taking any shots, layups, or dunks.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was the third quarter and the Warriors were playing like the Pistons and the Pistons were looking like the Warriors. The Pistons were rushing their shots, missing easy buckets, throwing the ball away, while the Warriors played patiently swinging the ball to the open man -- usually JRich who seemed to be getting his shooting rhythm back. Biedrins is doing his best Tyson Chandler impression grabbing almost every rebound coming his way and its good to see other Warriors actually helping him out. Monta’s left hand kills me!!! Anyone ever watch the basketball episode of "The Office" and Stanley -- the least athletic person in the office -- is forced to play because Michael -- the boss --thinks he’s can play ball based on the stereotype that all African Americans can play basketball. Anyway, Monta dribbling with his left hand is somewhat like Stanley dribbling. If you’ve seen the show, you know how unfundamentally sound that must be and look like. Anyhow, the Monta as point guard experiment might not work if your point guard can’t handle the rock with both hands.
can't take the heat, get your a** out the kitchen!
There’s about 9:41 left in the 4th quarter and people are filing out so fast as if they got a curfew. Granted the Warriors are up 23 at the time, but really, what kind of fan is that? No offense, but if you paid as much if not more for the tickets I got, I would have tried to get my money’s worth. Monta and JRich continue to kill them from the outside. Lee and I try to get on the "smooch-o-vision" but fail.
For Zorgon: Lee and I chanted "We want Foyle" about 10 times.
At the end of the game, a guy with a throwback "The City" shirt comes up to say wassup and tells me he LOVES the Warriors. He looked a little faded, but I guess seeing the Warriors beat a playoff team can make you a little delirious. Before he leaves, we take a picture (to be posted shortly) and he yells to me, "We got the momentum! We’re finally hitting on all cylinders! Everyone is back, it is on!" I’m not as convinced, but hey, it is in Warriors fan’s blood to celebrate a win like its 1999!
GSoM breaks bread with Warrior fans across the country
UPDATE: Check out what these two good Pistons' folks thought about the game: Need4Sheed | Detroit Bad Boys
There are so many to choose from!!! JRich, JRich's Brother, Lee and her appetite for sporting event foods, or maybe the excitable Warrior fan from Michigan who never visited Golden State of Mind before. I would have to say it goes to JRich, just because its a feel good story. Playing at home in front of his family and friends must have been a great experience and getting the win -- along with getting the game high 29 pts on 5-10 from downtown -- must have been even better. It's great having him back.