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NBA Playoffs 2016: Warriors destroy the Thunder; sports as social lubrication

I sat in a bar and made some new friends last night as the Warriors thumped the Thunder.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday nights in Ridgewood, Queens can be surprisingly lit. In a middle-of-nowhere bar, I sat in a corner watching a grainy TV with the sound muted. Metallica blared. Rage Against the Machine screamed. Someone had a serious 90's metal/rap thing going on and had inserted multitudes of dollar bills into the jukebox. The hits of my youth paraded across the old wooden bar top like tiny, marching, metalhead elves.

Meanwhile, on the grainy television, the Warriors battled the Thunder. Back and forth. Back and forth. Both teams were laying it all out on the court. Stephen Curry was doing strange Steph things like this:

But suddenly, at one point, he went caroming into the front rows chasing a loose ball.









WTF guys??

Seriously, like, what in the ----------------REDACTED---------------------- godforsaken apocalyptic gentrifying hell hole is wrong with you? YOU BREAK THE MVP'S FALL. THAT'S WHAT YOU DO!! IF YOU HAVE FRONT ROW SEATS IT IS YOUR SWORN DUTY TO SERVE AND PROTECT!!!

Ugh. Just... Dammit.

Okay, I'm moving on, but nothing is forgiven.

So, luckily, he was okay. The game went on. Only thing he injured was his shooting-hand-elbow. Which, like, no big deal, right? Nasty bump tho, for realz. Again, wtf guys? Put down your phones and your beers and your pocketbooks and save the MVP.

The Warriors closed the half on an 8-0 run to head into the locker room up 57-49. And, really, they never looked back.

--- = ---

At the bar, it was someone's birthday. They'd dragged a huge gathering into the room and were taking shots and watching the game. I fell into a conversation with one of the guys. He was a musician. Turned out we'd played a bunch of the same clubs around the country.

"Wait," he said, "so you just...tweet about this stuff? And that's your other gig besides music?"

"Yeah, pretty much. I mean I write a lot as well, but I'm covering the social media stuff tonight."

"And, wait, you're just sitting here drinking beer...tweeting about sports. And they're cool with that? I follow SBNation, but mostly football. The Seahawks site."

"Oh awesome. Dude, I mean, it's called Sports Blog Nation, right? News by the fans for the fans. This is the best place to go! A bar like this. Because then I'm out in it."

"And you can just tweet whatever you want? And people read it?"

"I mean -- you know -- within reason. It's just like life: Make people laugh and don't be an asshole."

"Wow." He sat back, took a deep swig of his drink. "So, what are you tweeting right now?"

I looked back at the TV. I hadn't been paying attention as we'd been talking. Suddenly, Steph rose up, ball in hand, and hit a dank, dank three point shot.

"Wait," I screamed, "how the f--- did the Warriors get up by 20?!"

The Warriors were suddenly up by 20.

"Shit!" he  laughed, took another sip. " I don't know. Aren't you the one supposed to be watching this?!"

"Here," I whipped out my phone. "Check this out. This is basically what I do."

Typed some gibberish. My phone autocorrected. I laughed. I laughed because it had autocrorrected to some previous expulsion of jargon as I live tweeted another game in which Steph had done superhuman things.

My phone buzzed shortly thereafter. "Ha," I said, "look! @SBNation retweeted that!"

"Man," he shook his head. "Man. Let me buy you a drink."

Eventually the game ended. The Warriors had won, 118-91. My new friends paid their bill and wandered into the springtime night. I sat at the bar and watched post game highlights. The TV was still muted. The jukebox had transitioned to Creedence Clearwater Revival. Hunched over to my left, an old man mumbled along, only hitting a third of the words. I tipped the bartender, put on my thin jacket, headed out. It was raining. Just a little.

It's a pretty good life when the Warriors are winning. Hell, it's a pretty good life when they're losing too. We always say this, but sports bring people together. They are an icebreaker. They are social lubrication.

And everyone loves the Warriors. From the Bay Area to a side street of Ridgewood, Queens, everyone is enamored with them.

I still hold that this series is going seven games, but hot damn it felt good to watch a blowout last night.

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