If and when all of this ends, this Golden State Warriors season showcase will almost certainly sit on the throne of basketball lore as the greatest story in basketball history along with the single ultimate showing of hoops ever shown and executed on the hardwood from Stephen Curry. In a 12-minute stretch spanning the entire third quarter, both put on display just the sheer smoothness and ruthlessness of this refined monster.
Given the New Orleans Pelicans were a bare resemblance of a corpse on the floor, it was no surprise they scraped to the low 30s in shooting percentage deep into the second half. That being said, the Warriors feasted on the non-shooters and crammed into the paint. Draymond Green provided superb help side defense at the rim and the rest of the team slid into place. Without Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes provided great switching minutes onto Anthony Davis. Shaun Livingston and even Andreson Varejao took care of the rest for the bench.
On offense, after a rough start, the Warriors figured out the switch defense of the Pelicans. Like the Warriors, Alvin Gentry formulated a defense where the point guard would switch onto Andrew Bogut, basically playing the type of defense Bogut employs against non-shooters himself. While it worked for a stretch, a quick adjustment called for quicker slips off the off-ball screens and from there, the game finitely ended.
It didn't hurt that Marreese Speights is the release valve that opens up the entire GSW offense not just from the bench but even the starters. You just cannot leave him open when he's running as hot as he is after a horrid start to this season.
Speights on his game, "I'll never get used to it but it's a blessing to be up here. It's a blessing to be able to help this championship team and win games. It's a blessing."
Do you think he knows he's playing well?
As Gentry explained about the game, and in doing so, the entire third quarter and last two season, "I thought we had a really good game plan for them. They had done a good job and then all of a sudden, the floodgates opened and that's what they're capable of doing."
And it opened on the chaotic rapture provided by Andrew Bogut's 3 to beat a shot clock buzzer. The moment it happened, Oracle Arena split open, and the celebration began. A Bogut block led to a transition crosscourt flip pass from Curry to a Klay 3. Then the ridiculous happened, and so aptly, on Curry's 28th birthday.
Leandro Barbosa surfed down the left side of the key, pump-faking Anthony Davis out of the play. As he pivoted towards an open layup, a glimpse of Steph flashed across the right baseline. Barbosa swung it to Steph who caught it off-balance, right leg swinging upwards, and before Darren Erman could stand up for the 23295th time screaming into the abyss, Curry flicked it into the net without so much a whisper. A couple possessions later, Curry nonchalantly dribbled the clock down and banked in a 33-foot jumper over Ryan Anderson's hopeless arms.
"Never from the top so that was a little luck." Steph claims it was luck.
As basketball would have it now and will for the foreseeable future, Stephen Curry's relentless run of his greatest hits has coincided perfectly with the greatest season and perhaps, team of all time. All of it is coming together as we near the most important stretch of the NBA season. I once posited that there isn't so much left to write, to say, or to hyperbolize about what appears fantastical as it unfolds before our eyes. But I, and I hope many of you join me, have given up on the notion that simply accepting what we don't think is possible is indeed achievable.
These Golden State Warriors are bending reality and our notions of what we hope and dream are possible. Most loudly and vociferously Curry is leading a style of play not so much unimaginable but one yet to have ever popped up in our memory banks. This season is a highlight reel stuck on a never-ending loop. And the Warriors and Stephen Curry are just celebrating any and all milestones and birthdays along the way.