|Final - 3.27.2013
|Golden State Warriors
Really this is Part III, but "luckily" I only had to recap two out of three of the Golden State Warriors' losses to the Sacramento Kings. See Part I here, from all the way back on December 19. I strongly contemplated just copy-pasting that entire article, changing a couple of stats and dates and names here and there, maybe add even more colorful language describing my profound feelings of unhappiness. Because almost all of it still holds true. And I'm so irritably annoyed by this game that whatever I write tonight is going to suck more than what I wrote then.
But that would be cheating. And — aside from all of those times in life that I've cheated — I'm no cheater. So here we go: let's experience the pain, disgust, and betrayal of this game all over again. Who's with me?
What is it about this Sacramento Kings team that brings out the worst, most unwatchable basketball from the Warriors? We're talking ugly stuff here. Missed layups, broken plays, lackadaisical effort on the boards, and absolute frigidity from the perimeter. Just uncharacteristic slop.
It starts of course with the starting backcourt: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. They combined to go 6-30 from the field, such a terrible clip that's even inflated by the two uncontested layups Steph dropped through in the last minute. That poor of a shooting display from a pair that together average 39 points per game is obviously not typically going to be the winning recipe.
Curry at least contributed as a passer, assisting on 12 of the Warriors' 40 made shots and turning the ball over only thrice. Klay? Well, he must have been uncomfortable with the indignation in defense of his recent glory being spouted by GSoMers. Tonight, he was out to prove that it's all been an elaborate hoax; his 1-13 FG, and 1-8 3FG, and lack of contributions on the floor otherwise, helped to sink them good and proper. It was Klay's worst shooting performance of the season, and Steph's 6th worst of the season. Again, hard to overcome that pair of sub-zero performances.
And you're certainly not going to overcome anything if you're giving up 16 offensive rebounds. The inability to box out, especially by David Lee (who still managed to pull 10 defensive boards), was infuriating. The Kings were quicker to loose balls, and more physical in their approach to corralling them. If the Warriors were going to shoot so poorly, they had to find some other area to gain an advantage — and energy on the boards was a logical place to look for it. They did find energy to pull down 13 offensive rebounds of their own (although three of those were probably on the same vaudevillian routine in which Lee and Andrew Bogut took turns missing shots right under the basket), but it just wasn't enough. And Mark Jackson, by playing Bogut and Festus Ezeli just a combined 34 minutes, wasn't going to make it any easier to find the advantage there.
And, well... that's pretty much it. I don't want to actually have to think about this game anymore, so I'll leave the rest of the game analysis to you stellar ladies and gents. And I'll throw a Warrior Wonder the way of Andrew Bogut, who looked really springy and spry early in the game, contributing on offense in new and exciting ways. So here, mate — enjoy.
In the end, the Kings looked like a team that wanted to show their mettle, while the Warriors looked like a team that wasn't actually any good. Mind you, the Kings didn't look like a team that was any good, either, and for good reason: they aren't. And therein lies the sandpapery rub: the Kings are a bad team with nothing to play for, while the Warriors are a good team that could have taken advantage of a Houston loss and defended that 6th seed. Instead, they laid an egg. An ugly, stinking egg.
Sacramento has had their number this year, for whatever cruel, unthinkable reason. And good for them — congrats to you and your fans, Sac, for bringing your A game against your Norcal brethren. But shouldn't that have been even more motivation to prove the flukiness of those two earlier losses? As if there wasn't enough motivation already, fighting off another team in Houston that's also had their number in protecting their playoff position?
The reasonable person in me wants to say, "Hey, can't win 'em all — let's put this one behind us and move on to the next one". I'll be the first to admit that I'm not always reasonable when I write about the Warriors, as I rather enjoy ranting and raving and overreacting and overreaching, all from my inner irrational fanhood. But even my elusive reasonable side has to ask: At what point do you stop permitting allowance for such losses? Is losing to the Kings an acceptable outcome for a team trying to prove that it deserves that 6th seed? Was this a must-win game that we instead pissed away, one that we look back on after the season (or hopefully postseason), point at it, and say, "Goddammit, that's the one we should have had. That stupid game right there."
That sort of retrospection is inevitable, and probably also useless, but probably inevitable. And it's going to drive me insane if and when it happens, and I'm forced to think back to this ugly, decrepit spectacle. Man, what a piece of crap.