Ugly win versus a team going nowhere in the Toronto Raptors, I know. But there's that fine line where you can't stand a certain quirk about something or someone, versus just accepting it or him for what it, or he, is. If you've followed me on Twitter recently, you know that I can't stand aspects of David Lee's game. Like he should never dribble the ball or that he doesn't box out. If you've followed any major NBA writer lately, you probably know about D.Lee getting ridiculed as being "The Golden Gate".
But you know what? I'm done with that. I accept him. He brings a particular acumen (hustle) that is only bested by one other NBA player off the top of my head (Joakim Noah), he has passion, and he puts up numbers. And guess what, that's the Golden State Warriors in a nutshell.
Embrace the warts.
Embrace the 15 rebounds, 12 of them offensive, by Amir Johnson.
Now, if the Warriors hadn't already proven they can rise up to challenges like the Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Miami Heat, then I might still have some issues. This young team will rise up just as much as they'll play down. I'm sure of it.
As most of you know, I run basketball leagues and tournaments for a living. I have about five or six rec league teams that I'm currently helping with in terms of roster adjustments. I play on two of them. It's hard to play perfectly every single game. When you play a team you're supposed to win, it's hard to annihilate them. That's just basketball.
Now back to the game. And hit up the comments if I miss anything, which I probably will. Most of these are things I tweeted or retweeted during the game, but it's good to look back...
- The Warriors' starters actually don't mess up (too much). Interestingly, Mark Jackson subs out Stephen Curry, Lee, and Andrew Bogut with 5:00 to go, down 15-12, in the first quarter. Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson remain. The bench pulls the team to 22-22.
- Sarunas Marciulionis in the house! Obviously to see countryman Jonas Valanciunas. Btw, watch The Other Dream Team. Do it now.
- Jarrett Jack coming in and hitting a few shots in a row, erasing memories of the roadtrip.
- Steph starts the 2nd quarter as the only starter, replacing Festus Ezeli as the Warriors go small, with Carl Landry their tallest player.
- Bogut with another vintage nice dish that Fitz calls "Tic Tac Toe" on the air.
- Curry with some more turnovers, some of them bad. D.Lee with an horrific crosscourt pass that sails all the way to Joe Lacob, who looks angry being the recipient of an NBA ball (that he obviously has to give back -- boo NBA be like the NFL haha!).
- MJ ends the first half with Jack in for Barnes and the remaining four other starters.
- Aaron Gray making a cameo appearance for the Raptors despite killing the Warriors last time in Toronto. Ahh, NBA coaching.
- Steph back to form as he leads a break, looks at Jack while delivering what Jim Barnett calls the "feathery" lob to Bogut. Slam dunk!
- Nice inbounds sets by the Dubs. Thank you, Mark Jackson.
- Kent Bazemore solo celebrations on the bench, in the absence of Jeremy Tyler and Charles Jenkins.
- An exquisite left-handed, behind-the-back pass from Bogut in the interior to Barnes out at the right-wing three-point line. Harrison attacks and draws a foul, but that's the one time I wish he would've not attacked and settled for the trey, for selfish ESPN SportsCenter Warriors highlight purposes.
- A lob by Steph to Barnes that sails too high, but Barnes gathers and dunks it anyway, over two Raptors!
- Some (more) brain farts. Draymond Green checking into the game and immediately shooting an early-shotclock trey. Steph fouling Kyle Lowry's three-point attempt that had no Raptor inside their three-point line to rebound. By now the Dubs are down six, late in the third quarter.
- Meanwhile, and perhaps the attention was on DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay, Andrea Bargnani has hit for five (five!) treys. I mean, what else does that man do?
- One of several turning points: Steph tries a floater, misses, gets the o-reb, tries another floater, misses, but Landry is there for the putback. Warriors down only 5. But the quarter ends with the Warriors down 8, a 15-point swing. Klay Thompson sat with four fouls.
- Klay comes in and nails a couple treys. Eight-point deficit whittled down to two just like that! That's one of the things we need to embrace about the Warriors. Very few teams can do that outside of Miami (Ray Allen), OKC (Kevin Durant) and the Clips (Jamal Crawford). Klay even added a left-handed assist off the PNR, to boot.
- Lee gets a pass up top from Steph, passes back to Steph, Steph pulls a trey, swish. Turning point. Warriors up two, 96-94 with eight minutes to go.
- Another bone-headed bad pass by Steph leading to a Gay fastbreak, then D.Lee getting more attempts blocked, then another, then Bargs missing some jumpers that would've really changed the game for the Raptors, but then an embarrassing botched handoff by Lee to Curry that leads to a fastbreak foul by Steph, his 5th. MJ actually has three Warriors with five fouls in down the stretch. Then the Raptors double-teaming a look into Bogut with D.Lee weakside doing nothing but watching. Ugh.
- Barnes nails an open trey when the Warriors need it most.
- THEN. IT. HAPPENED. The Black Falcon crosses Rudy up top right-to-left and soars in for the left-handed scoop, and-one. Somewhere, Michael Jordan is watching that highlight and getting on the phone to Phil Knight, "Pry my son from Adidas, please. The man needs to be wearing the Jumpman."
- Thanks to Barnes, the life of the Raptors deflates. Even two or three consecutive easy putbacks by Amir over D.Lee, nor two missed free throws by "2 Jz" to keep it a two-possession game, can change the outcome. Warriors win, decisively in the end, but horribly getting there.
- I didn't hear clearly, but in the post-game interviews, Bogut mentions that a trainer (?) suggests he play on Wednesday, but a coach (Jackson?) watches him work out and asks if he can go tonight. Bogut replied at the workout, "They said I should play Wednesday." Coach responded, "Who's 'they'?" Oh geez. C'mon guys. Text messaging and smartphones are the norm now.
Although I really, really want to pick Barnes because of those two or three ultra-spectacular moves not to mention the huge three-pointer -- and there's a good chance I'll get to interview him after practice on Thursday -- the WARRIORS WONDER goes to Klay because he brought the Dubs back to life in the 4th.
Please hit me up, preferrably on Twitter (@poormanscommish), if you have any questions you want me to ask The Black Falcon on Thursday.Follow @poormanscommish