In the third quarter of last night's eventual butt-whooping of a Game 1, Steve Kerr found himself displeased. He was not impressed by his team's energy. He was not impressed by their focus. He felt that they lacked a certain...je ne sais quoi, and so he punched the living hell out of his clip board. We covered this in the moment last night, but it's worth a few repeated views.
I was talking to SBNation NBA League Manager (and bicycle extremist) Seth Pollack last night, and he posed a simple answer to which I gave a snarky response.
His question? "Wonder what the score is since Kerr destroyed the clipboard?"
My answer? "A lot."
(Thanks Bram, real helpful)
But then, this morning, I got to thinking. What actually was the score after that moment? His insane Bruce Lee move did, in real time, seem to spark a huge run. He inserted the bench, and away they went.
So, let's see...What time did that all transpire? I know it was right after halftime, I know Kerr had just called a timeout...Let me sleuth around and...
Well, dang. That was easy.
From the Mercury News:
"We came out after halftime and we completely lost focus and started throwing careless passes," [Kerr] said. "We got lost defensively a couple of times and we had to kind of regain our focus and our edge."
Leading by just four at the time, the Warriors outscored Cleveland 48-37 after the clipboard was sacrificed.
Sometimes the thrill of the hunt is in the chase, not the catch. In this case, my questionable math skills were never even put to the test.
Kinda feel like smashing something, honestly. But, another time.
Kerr had the quote of the century in his post game presser.
Kerr on the clipboard: "Destruction eases some of the anger. I try to take it out on a clipboard rather than a player. It's better that way"— Sean Highkin (@highkin) June 3, 2016
I see him almost as a wise wizard sitting atop his mountain, with his dojo serene against the blue sky, a storm rolling in from the south. A particularly unruly student disobeys his commands for the thousandth time. His anger wells up inside, he expels energy through motion. Trees buckle and sway. A clipboard (or a stone tablet, or whatever) is broken.
Later, when all has calmed and the storm has passed, he consoles the frightened pupil, saying, "Destruction eases some of the anger." The pupil cowers, still afriad. The rice is getting cold.
Kerr looks out the stone window, says, almost to himself, "It's better that way."
As Andy and others have said before me, watching last night's Game 1 was a surreal experience after the slog-it-out, knock-you-down tumultuos Western Conference Finals vs. the Thunder. There were multiple times last night where a player would just...slip behind the defense.
I promise you Kevin Durant, Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka, and Russell Westbrook were just sitting at home, watching this, thinking, "Daaaaaaaamn everything. We would have roasted these dudes. Are you kidding me?!"
Here's another fun play, where Ezeli just decided to take a small stroll down the lane. Again, completely uncontested, because three different Cavaliers players had decided to run straight at Klay Thompson.
After the length -- oh, the terror, I still have night sweas remembering Games 3 and 4 -- of the Thunder, Game 1 vs. the Cavs felt oddly open and carefree. Remember, the Cavaliers have faced, in order: The Pistons (sweep), the Hawks (sweep), and the Raptors (won in 6). Not exactly a murderer's row of high powered offensive teams. None of those teams approach the offensive sophistication of the Spurs, or the terrifying length and brutal efficiency of the Thunder. I thought going in to the Finals that the Cavaliers would have a steep learning curve. I just...I just didn't expect it to be like that.
But, all that aside, the Cavaliers are a proud, dominant team. They will make adjustments, LeBron will get them back on track.
The most important thing to remember: Game 1 of the San Antonio Spurs vs. Thunder series. It really needs to be brought up. The Spurs decimated the Thunder in that game, winning by 32 points. Every single pundit and their mother declared the Thunder DOA. The talk shifted immediately to the Western Conference Finals most people had been expecting all year:
Thunder Spurs vs. Warriors. But, then, we all know what happened. The Thunder -- also being a very proud, experienced team -- turned on the jets. They ran the Spurs out of the building. They smothered them with size and ran away into the WCF.
Now, the Thunder held two obvious advantages over the Spurs: Length and youth. I don't see such an obvious counter attack from the Cavaliers. BUT, if there's one thing I've learned watching and covering this sport it's that I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL IS GOING TO HAPPEN ON A NIGHT TO NIGHT BASIS. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar and a braggart.
So, as we move forward into Game 2, it is important to remember a few things.
1.) Game 1 will have been all for naught if the Warriors come out disengaged or cocky and blow Game 2.
2.) The Cavs have frickin LeBron James on their team. This is an important thing to remember.
3.) When Kerr gets mad, he gets all the way mad. None of this noncommittal, let's-all-love-each-other type of garbage. That dude will judo chop your soul into a thousand pieces.