Does it really get better than this? A big Warrior win and 350 GSoMers all in one place. First, I have to give a big thank you to everyone who showed up, you made the event special and a night I won't forget. For those of you who couldn't make it, we wish you were there. That was an amazing night and definitely the loudest I've ever heard the arena. In a regular season game with playoff implications, the crowd noise was deafening with screams and loud bangs of the thunder sticks. I wonder what the arena would be like in a playoff game. The sold out Oracle was truly one last night.
Now to the game...
This was a matchup of the 2nd (Washington) and 3rd (Golden State) highest scoring teams in the league. So I expected some fireworks and I sure got some. The Warriors played very little defense in the first half as the Wizards got a lot of open shots. They put up 73 points in the first half! The Warriors scored "just" 64 and took a 9 point deficit to the locker room. With about 3 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter, the Warriors were down by just 5 but that quickly ballooned to 12 as the Warriors struggled to close out a quarter. They were actually lucky that the deficit was only 9 as Barnes hit a 3 with 24 seconds remaining. The lack of any passion on defense had me worried that it was going to be like that all night long.
The Thunder Sticks were handed out at the half and we went crazy with them
I'm not sure what Nellie told them at the half but this game was won in the third quarter. The Wizards outscored us in every single quarter except for the 3rd. Look at the 3rd and the Warriors outscored the Wiz 38-21. Here's what I saw. The team was causing havoc with the Wizards offense. They got in the passing lanes and deflected a lot of passed. They forced a lot of turnovers and were able to convert those at the other end with easy shots on a fast break. Their activity on defense also forced the Wizards into some bad shots and were able to contest many others. As a result the Wizards didn't shoot nearly as well in that period. But it's not enough to just make the shots difficult, you have to rebound and that's what the Warriors did. At the 8:19 mark of the 3rd quarter, the Wizards went 1-5 from the field and had 6 turnovers. This allowed the Warriors to storm back and take a 78-75 lead. Unlike the 2nd quarter, the Warriors closed this quarter strong. The game was tied at 90 with 3:31 remaining. That's when Baron took over. He knocked down 2 three pointers, 2 free throws, and got Biedrins a dunk. He contributed on 10 of the Warriors next 12 points and the Warriros took a 102-94 lead into the 4th.
GSoM getting crazy in the 4th
The 4th felt like a back and forth game as the Warriors would pull ahead by double digits only to be brought back by some deeeeeep three's from Arenas. The Wizards eventually cut the lead to just two at 126-124, but the Warriors held on from there with a big three from JRich, a 3 point play from Baron, and a Biedrins dunk. The Warriors didn't let the refs decide this one, they won this one outright. Game Over.
Monta was on last night with 24 points, 8 boards and 4 steals. It's amazing how well he finishes his drives. He's got such great body control that even when he looks like he's in an awkward position, he can still put the ball in the bucket with ease. He really has this uncanny ability to change direction in mid-air to adjust to the defender and finish his drive. Last night was just one of those nights where he makes a difficult layup looks easy.
Biedrins did a great job too of finishing. He's been doing it all year, but last night it felt like he made everything. He shot 10-14, many of those on dunks. He just elevates so quickly and uses his body well to shield the ball from the defender that he really doesn't get blocked often. Combine that with his nice footwork and understanding of how to space the court and you get these great nights from him. 24 points and 12 rebounds to go with 5 assists as he anchored the middle for 45 minutes.
So much for my prediction that Stephen Jackson would have a big game. He gets T'd up for arguing a foul call on him and then gets T'd right after for arguing even more. So he gets ejected in the first quarter. Was it because he was struggling early on? I mean 4 turnovers in after 3.5 minutes is probably extremely frustrating but there's no need to lose your cool on a foul. It seemed like every time he touched the ball he lost it. It's very disappointing to see him blowup like that and it worries me. He's supposed to be the guy who's been through the playoff race before and can show this team how to win down the stretch. Instead, he's getting kicked out on a foul call. The Warriors need his defense and ball handling ability in the game, not in the locker room.
What can I say? The man played one of the best games I've seen him play. In the preview I wrote that he couldn't get caught up in a battle with Arenas. They sure did battle but the reason he played so well was because it wasn't just a battle of him and Arenas. He had the team running on all cylinders. He took over when he had to by knocking down big shots and dished the ball when he had to get everyone involved. He showed why he's the leader of the team. He nearly had a triple double, 34 points, 15 assists, 9 boards, and 4 steals. Combine that with the fact that he shot 10-16 and got to the line a ridiculous 14 times converting 11 of them. He was constantly on the drive and didn't settle for jumpers. The outside shots he did take were open and really played within the flow of the offense. This is the Baron that we all know and love. This is the Baron that can take us to the promised land. This is our MVP.
Only if Baron celebrated with us in section 205-207
Random notes from the game:
I was sitting next to MVP for the 4th quarter and had a good time talking to him. Cool guy, especially when he hooked me up with some thunder sticks. So when the crowd started chanting M-V-P I thought he had 18,000 fans.
- So this girl throws up in my row (row 2) while I was away from my seat at halftime. Then she sits there next to it and tries to deny it wasn't her. Who in their right mind would sit next to someone else's vomit? Whatever you were smoking or drinking you need to stop and not clear out an entire row who paid for those seats. Sorry I just had to rant about that. That was the only downer on the night.
- Rich from Dream League hooked us up with some dope T-shirts. If you don't know what Dream League is, it's a non-profit Asian-American basketball league committed to improving the lives of inner city youth. The next season is starting up in mid-April. Atma and I have a squad but we didn't do so well last season. Definitely check it out. If you sign up, we just might ball against each other.
- Definitely the loudest and most energetic people at the game. I walked over to section 205 and looked up. We had rows 10 and above. Guess who the only people standing were during the exciting 3rd and 4th quarters? Yup rows 10 and above. Same with section 207. I was in section 206 and nearly everyone was on their feet. The Warriors need to get us a permanent spot in the lower bowl so the players can really feel our energy.
- You probably saw us wearing the GSoM Night t-shirts. They were hot right? Unfortunately, we couldn't sell them inside or near the arena so we couldn't get them to everyone who wanted one. We still have 30 available and you'll definitely want one to remember last night. So if you want a t-shirt, send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject "GSoM Night T-shirt" and we'll ship you one for $20. The t-shirt is the same price, $20, but we'll pay for shipping.
The 350 folks from GSoM definitely get the Warrior Wonder for the game. We cheered hard for that team and they came through. That was the most fun I've ever had at a Warrior game. Thank you to everyone who showed up. We gotta do this again.
Also check out: Recap Part II: Warriors 135, Wizards 128 - GSoM In the House!!