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What a journey: From the lottery to the Western Conference Finals

The Warriors have executed one of the most impressive turnarounds in league history. Sometimes I feel just like Riley Curry. Peering out from under the table at the media scrum. Confused by the pageantry and the lights.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

I was sitting in my house watching twitter, watching the buildup to the draft lottery last night, thinking, "Hot damn, we used to be here every year!"

The Warriors were there—on the podium, having sent some nervous team representative, hoping for a proper bounce of the balls—every single year. For the majority of my life.

And every year, I'd be hoping against hope that this would be the year they wouldn't screw up their pick. This would be the year that turned it all around. The Warriors would finally land a franchise player, draft well in the mid-latter part of the first round, build some momentum, find the right coach and then—waaaaaaaaait. And then someday, somehow, sometime in the way way WAY distant future, they could contend for a title. Or maybe just make it to the Western Conference Finals.


I'm still so shocked that this is real life.

To have the lottery drawing broadcast as the de facto pregame show made it even more surreal.

Also, my *thoughts and prayers* go out to the Posting and Toasting guys, especially Seth Rosenthal, who had put so much time, energy, and voodoo into trying to secure the Knicks the #1 pick.

--- = ---

The atmosphere in Oracle pregame was strangely subdued and empty, as many fans tried to navigate horrific traffic to make it on time for the 6pm start.

Stephen Curry was himself, which is to say he was unworldly.

This is both soundtrack and visual aid upon realizing the ghosts in the machinery have been whispering your name all evening and it's time to take it easy for a few months with the hallucinogens:

He was loosening up, getting his dancing moves right:

And then the game started.

The Houston Rockets came out fast. Firing. Strong. Suddenly, the Warriors were down eight. Ten. Eleven. At one point in the second quarter, the Rockets lead by 16 points.

Oracle was stunned. There were many who thought the Warriors would sweep the Rockets. After the bruising physicality of the Memphis series, surely the Warriors would run away from another fast paced team?


We all thought wrong.

But then Andrew Bogut picked up his third foul, and Steve Kerr went small, playing Draymond Green at the center. Dray Dray Day Day, all 6'7" of him. Hustling and outworking fools and cussing and dancing around the court like a goddamn prince.

The Warriors started hitting shots. The energy in the building shifted. People got up out of their chairs and started chanting. "Waaaarrrios. Waaaarriors. Waaaaarriors."

And then, right before the half, this happened:

Somehow, someway, the Warriors went into the half up by three points.

--- = ---

My wife got home during halftime and I breathlessly filled her in.

We made some dinner, nothing fancy, and then sat together watching the game. She had never really seen James Harden play before.

"What in the?! What is up with his beard?? That thing is outta control."

"Very true."

"What did—who told him that was okay?"

"It's his thing, I guess. Watch how he moves."

"What do you mean?"

"Check out how he moves. He has this really weird herky-jerky stutter step thing that no one can guard."

/Harden begins hitting step backs over Klay Thompson. After being up 11, the Warriors are suddenly only up by four in the fourth quarter.

"Ahh!! No!! No, tell him to stop! How can anyone stop that? It's...crazy how he dances around like that."


"Who is supposed to deal with..."

/Harden hits another jumper.

"Ah! See?!" she yelled, "This is why I don't watch sports with you. It makes me so damn emotional! I can't even handle..."

/Harden hits another step back jumper from the top of the key.

"Shit! Shit! What're they going to do?"

"I don't know. Hopefully something."

/Curry saves the day. With 3:12 left in the game, he calmly glides downcourt, pulls up, and hits this:

"Yay! Curry Curry! He's so cute."

/I shoot her a fake-stern look and then we both laugh.

"What? He is! He looks like he's 12! It's adorable!"

--- = ---

In the end, the Warriors won the game 110-106. Stephen Curry outdueled his MVP-nemesis James Harden, scoring a game high 34 points.

The Warriors took a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals. I just like those words. Western. Conference. Finals.

Post game, Riley Curry stole the show.

There's not much to dislike about this team. They are humble, grounded, uber-talented and well coached. Even their kids are awesome.

A long time ago, it seemed that the Warriors might never escape from the cellar of the NBA.

Now, in this amazing year of our Lord 2015, they are three wins away from the finals.

I know how you feel, Riley. I know how you feel.

I'm just as amazed by all the lights and pageantry as you are.

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