Last night, the Warriors had their backs against the wall. Lose, and they would have to trudge home. They would have to endure a veritable waterfall of hot takes and crying MJ memes. They would have to walk through King's Landing naked, with a craggly old woman in a funny robe ringing the shame bell. All the world's eyes would fixate on their failures. The whole world would revel in their defeat. People want "world peace and harmonious existence," sure. But really, deep down, people want to see the great ones torn down and humanized. It's a sadistic, hard-wired human desire. For, how else are we supposed to appreciate our own struggles?
That being said, the Warriors came out last night and played with a reckless, ugly abandon that eventually garnered them the victory. Stephen Curry battled his own body, ending with a gritty 31 points on 9-20 shooting, including 3-8 from beyond the arc. Draymond Green ended with 11 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots in 39 minutes of feisty, fiery play. Andrew Bogut, reborn from the ashes, ended with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Harrison Barnes, somehow, ended with a game high plus/minus of +12.
But more than any of the individual stats, this game was characterized by rough, rugged play. The refs, perhaps wanting a Game 6, decided early on to "let 'em play." The Warriors weren't called for their first foul until some point in the second quarter. (I hope -- sincerely, I hope with the deepest of hopes -- that this stops Warriors fans from complaining about the refereeing in this series. C'mon man. Just, c'mon. Let it go. Yeah, things have been rough. But the first quarter and half of last night's game was a lopsided joke that favored the Dubs. Okay, moving on.)
Here are a few of my favorite rough and tumble plays from last night.
1.) Draymond blocks a shot, screams a whole bunch, and easily could have been T'd up
Not much more to say, other than that I thoroughly enjoyed this play. I was alone in a middle-of-nowehere bar with the TV blaring and I'm pretty sure I woke the upstairs neighbors with some spectacular clapping and yelling.
2.) Draymond is just flat out kicking dudes in the head now
Apparently, he feels emboldened by his recent brush with suspension, and knows now that he is scott free. I mean, c'mon. The Game of Thrones dudes [SPOILER ALERT, SERIOUSLY IF YOU DON'T KNOW THIS I'M HELLA SURPRISED BUT, ALSO, STOP READING] can't kill off Jon Snow again until, like, probably never again. Draymond is in the same boat. If he didn't get suspended for the Adams nutshot, he sure is hell isn't getting suspended for this. Also, I have never been this flexible in my entire life.
3.) Not content purely with his ambitious high kicks, Draymond decided to take on the refereeing world (yes, he got T'd for this)
Draymond Green plays with a reckless abandon we've grown to love and cherish, but... Man... Those dudes have families and stuff too. Love? Kindness? Do unto others? I guess not so much in the Western Conference Finals.
4.) Draymond started expanding his repetoire
They say that the true test of proficiency is accuracy under duress, right? Maybe Dray is just seeing where and what he can kick? Like, he got tired of balls and head shots? Time for some adventure? That's my guess.
Mr. Miyagi approves of Draymond's kick pic.twitter.com/tFqjRyPg8T— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD_) May 27, 2016
5.) Feeling left out, Steven Adams decided to just punk a bunch of Warriors
This is intense. I look at Adams, remember he is only 22, and then feel extremely nervous about a.) Game 6, and, b.) the rest of this supposed Warriors "dynasty," especially considering there is no way Durant leaves OKC now.
Adams! https://t.co/kHNg4CeW12— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 27, 2016
6.) This wasn't particularly "physical," but this mustache twirling hit me in some strange, sensually visceral way
I apologize for nothing.
I have no idea if Game 6 ends up being as Wild-West-y as Game 5. I suspect it will be, if only for continuity's sake. I have no idea what will happen. The easy thing to say is this: The winner of Game 6 will win the series. If it's the Thunder, then, duh. If the Warriors can somehow pull their collective s--t together and steal a road win, then...I think they pull it out in Game 7 in front of the home crowd.
But, that's a long ways away. It's an epochal millenium between here and Game 7. In the middle, only the void. Only darkness. Only the rocking, rolling Chesapeake Energy Arena with those blue coller fans paying normal-ass prices and not having to contend with the ever-creeping reality of gentrification. Their seats haven't yet been bought out by high end auto dealers and techies. They still remember how to show up on time and how to cheer and how to wear their same-color shirts.
Damn, now I'm just sad.
If you thought Game 5 was nerve racking, you ain't seen nothing. Game 6, tomorrow. In which we see if this magical roller coaster of a season limps onwards or if it derails, bursts into a thousands shards of flame-fire, and ends in an all-consuming darkness.