I am a stubborn dude, but I have to say that I love it when I'm wrong--especially when it comes to Warrior predictions. Everytime I make a prediction--usually shortchanging them--the Warriors usually end up wooping the opposing team with the vindictive spirit of Gilbert Arenas. Tonight was no different.
Winning the BIGGEST game of the season currently puts the Warriors a few percentage points ahead of the Clippers for that 8th and final playoff spot. "Winning," however, doesn't quite capture how badly Utah got "served." In typical Oracle Arena fashion, the Warriors actually dominated on both ends of the floor! But the up and down game that the Warriors thrived in was jumpstarted by their activity on the defensive end in the second half. A combined 15 steals and 11 blocks, led to many of these:
Paperboy Millsap unable to run his routes with Biedrins in the way
(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
I don't think I can remember how many times several Warriors would collapse on a driving Jazz player, with some Warrior'(s) hands either poking or stripping the ball loose. I've noticed that the general pattern with any convincing Warrior win (at or away from the safety blanket called the Oracle), the Warriors assists, steals and free throws are way up. Even though Utah shot 20 more freethrows, it was good to see that the Warriors at least shot 30 compared to the previous loss where they only got to the line 14 times. Despite some pretty lousy calls and ticky tack fouls (Biedrins 5 fouls in 11 minutes..c'mon!), the Warriors stayed focus and played an extraordinary 48 minutes ball. Or maybe it was Nellie flashing the refs, the "Nellie Bellie," letting them know who they were messing with?
Swarming like killer bees, but not the Wu-Tang Clan
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Luckily none of Jazz's starters really got it going and Harpring, who I had as the random player lighting up the Warriors, put up an efficient but quiet 17 points. Some guys sitting around us in the lower bowl (section 101 row 9 to be exact) were surprised that Harpring, a dude 5-6 inches taller and perhaps 20+ pounds heavier, was taken down so easily when defending Baron Davis, who had pivoted into him getting him in the face with a forearm. Well, I guess getting hit in the face could do it to you...
With the Warriors controlling the tempo, getting easy buckets in transition and the three pointers going in as if they were the Suns (which is another sort of cautionary luxury... because we all know what happens when they don't fall), the Warriors cruised to an easy victory maintaining the 20+ point gap. You know it was over when Foyle came in with almost 7 plus minutes left in the game.
But really, the second biggest thing about this game is the unveiling of my mug to the GSoM community. As part of the Midwest/East Coast division and scout of the GSoM branch (and a few ad-hoc branches like Zorgon holding down the south in OKC and a few in Asia and Europe--forgive me for forgetting who those are), I'm usually m.i.a like Jarobi, the mysterious 4th member of the original Tribe Called Quest. But with seats like these, which you'll see below, I couldn't miss this game! To the GSoM community, I give you .... myself:
Just kidding, this isn't me. This was just hilarious. Okay, this is me...
I can also provide autographed headshots for anyone interested. Please send inquiries to our gmail account. Just kidding.
Even though the Warriors winning is what was more important, what's also important to GSoM is building community. The highly entertaining and crowd pleasing "GS Lightening crew" repped the Bay and the Warriors hard last night providing an incredible display of power moves. Kids don't try this at home! They came and gave us a shout at half time. They are some real dope cats and definitely show them some love (if you haven't already) at the games. Good meeting you guys yesterday and thank you again for the gifts.
Also, we officially met the infamous Asian guy holding up the "We Believe Playoff" sign. This dude is as real as they come when it comes to Warrior fans. Hash and I were looking for a bathroom after the game when we saw the guy sitting on top of a garbage can (not like Oscar the Grouch, who literally live IN the garbage can) holding up his sign. He was mad cool and I respect a dude who takes pride in his team and is willing to carry around a sign that is grammatically incorrect. But what matters most is that a lot of fans still "believe" and so does GSoM!
I give it up to Action Jackon aka Jax. He filled up the stat sheet with 28 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals in 33 minutes. Not only that, but he only need 16 shots, making 10, while also hitting 5 of 6 freethrows. Besides some control issues (which to me is more an expression of passion than necessarily recklessnes), Jax is team player doing what he can to get these much needed Ws in every "BIGGEST GAME OF THE SEASON!"
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Other photos courtesy of Hash Studios/GSoM Gallery. Stay tuned for Part II of GSoM photo AND VIDEO recap!
UPDATE: Check out Warriors May Finally Crack the Postseason over at Fanhouse