Ian Wexler and William McManus (Billy Mac), two GSoM fictional characters, met on a BART train last week. If you missed it, read it here .
Ian recently moved to the Bay, but loves the NBA and his new digs in San Francisco. He’s all in on the NBA’s three-point revolution. The Warriors can do no wrong. Billy has lived in Oakland over half a century, played high school ball with Bill Russell, and has held onto Warriors season tickets for decades. He loves the winning Dubs teams of the past few years, but still needs convincing on their style of play. They decided to watch a game together. Billy Mac invited Ian over to watch the Warriors away game against the Pelicans. He’s late. The first quarter just finished.
Ian walks into Bill’s house. Billy greets Ian warmly and tells him to remove his shoes. The game is blaring from the living room, and Billy leads Ian to the brown leather couch facing the TV. Billy sits in a weathered, black recliner adjacent to the couch, and a coffee table in between them has a family-sized jumbo box of Triscuits and two mugs filled with orange juice. The second quarter is just beginning.
Ian: Man, thanks again for having me. I’ve never been over to West Oakland before. Sorry I’m late.
Billy: Make yourself at home Ian! Glad to have you over! I can show you how to really watch the game of basketball (tilts head forward to peer over glasses with a knowing glance).
Ian: Warriors are missing Zaza Pachulia and Shaun Livingston for this one. Livingston was suspended a game for bumping the ref last night. You see that?
Ian: I know. Livingston should be careful though. We need the backups on nights where the stars can rest.
Ian pours himself a cup of juice. Pauses to take a sip of his refreshing beverage.
Ian: So we are going up against Boogie Cousins tonight. You watch him much? He’s really good. And you like big guys, you know dudes who get those layups.
Billy: Oh! That boy can play. I just don’t like when Cousins starts dribbling all around like he’s “Pistol Pete”. God blessed you with all that body, don’t turn into a point guard!
Ian: But he’s also such a baby. Just constantly whining to refs.
Billy: That’s the Tweetin’ generation, always cryin about somethin’.
Ian: What did I miss from the first quarter?
Billy: Eh, Pellies hitting shots and we ain’t. We’re down 33 to 26, but we’ll get it together. Get on some of these Triscuits, buddy! (Ian smiles and takes some)
Ian: Patrick McCaw just got stuffed…(waits for TV to pan to McCaw). Ah blood! (cowers in couch)
Billy: You squeamish? (Ian nods) Refs didn’t call a foul? (crunching Triscuits loudly) Cousins hacked him across the face like Floyd Patterson!
Ian: (regaining his comfort) May have been a clean block. The Warriors don’t have players like Boogie, but they do everything else better. I’m fine with Kevin Durant even guarding Boogie. He scores however he wants.
Billy: Durant sure has picked up that defense under Coach Kerr.
Ian: He has, and he could actually win Defensive Player of the Year.
(Billy shoots a skeptical side-eye Ian’s way before reaching for another handful of Triscuits)
Ian: (Steph with another missed three). He’s going to get hot. Did you see how he’s wearing all those bandages? Because he’s getting fouled so much and doctors don’t want them to get infected.
Billy: (sips orange juice) That boy never gets any foul calls! He’s out there looking like the Walking Dead!
Ian: That’s a good show. I’m impressed you know that. The Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday just scored 8 points in like a minute. The beauty of the three-pointer.
Billy: Yeah that 3-pointer is keeping a lot of players bills paid. A lot of guys couldn’t have made it back in the day when I played because they would have been required to actually do something besides stand around, waiting to shoot.
Ian: You are so wrong, man. It’s because they lacked ability. Holiday is on a $126 million dollar contract. Man, Holiday! Again!
Billy: (slaps knees in disgust) Play some damn defense! Did Rajon Rondo just hit a three?!
Ian: Yeah, that’s him. I actually think I am a better 3-point shooter than Rondo and I suck. Down 12. Not their best stretch, but they’ll come back.
Billy: Oh yeah, Warriors are a third quarter team — everybody knows that. But it ain’t gonna be easy if we keep letting these boys score at will.
Ian: It’s such a long season, we can’t worry about stretches like this. They’re going to happen. I heard Kerr on a podcast this week and he actually understands how the Warriors aren’t always going to be able to bring it every night. It’s just not sustainable.
Billy: (clears throat dismissively) Defense is always sustainable, Ian! Why are they letting Rondo go on a one-man, 8-0 run??
Ian: (goes silent and watches two bad offensive Warrior possessions) And Swaggy P and Steph just missed more threes.
Billy: It always seems like these crappy teams play us like it’s a Game 7 (shakes head and digs hand into box of Triscuits). I bet you Steph rides that pick-and-roll with Draymond or KD the rest of the night.
Ian: IF they play. Kerr may just call it a wash.
(E’Twaun Moore hits a three, Warriors end half down 69-49)
Halftime hot takes:
Ian: I’m just reading on Twitter that New Orleans led 44-43 with 5:30 remaining in the first half when Cousins committed his third foul.
Billy: (strokes chin thoughtfully) So you’re saying Cousins is the problem?
Ian: He’s always good. Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday are playing in over their heads. And the Warriors shooting is a bit cold. Steph is -26.
Billy: What’s “minus”?
Ian: Oh. when Steph’s been in the game, the Pelicans have outscored the Warriors by 26 points. (Looks at Twitter some more)
DeMarcus Cousins exited with 5:30 left in the second quarter. It was 44-43 Pelicans. The Warriors were a -19 over the next 5:30 against a non Cousins/AD Pelicans lineup.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 5, 2017
Billy: Man, all these stats. Stats, stats, stats! We are just out here getting our butts kicked, ain’t no minus about it! I know one thing, it ain’t the Warriors bench fault. They outscored the Pelicans 15-5 that half. These starters gotta get it goin’.
Ian: Yeah they do.... I mean, that’s a stat right?
Billy: True! (chuckles and reaches for more Triscuits)
Ian: So now that I’m hanging out in Oakland what should I do after I leave tonight? I took an Uber here.
Billy: (tiredly rubs forehead with the back of his hand holding the crackers) On a Monday night? Shoot, you might as well go home to your wife and watch the Netflix. Wait, are you married, Ian?
Ian: No. Don’t even have a girlfriend. Too much time working. But I’m on Tinder. No luck though.
Billy: Oh, I heard about that Tinder (frowns and shakes head dismissively). There’s nothing but trouble on that, believe me buddy. Almost as much trouble as the Warriors are in right now. (Turns back to the halftime “highlights”, if you will) I feel like we’ve been down 20 in New Orleans before, and we saw what happened back in the playoffs. All we gotta do is turn up the intensity, we know these guys can’t shoot this hot forever. What’d they shoot from three that half? The Pelicans?
Ian: (looks on his phone). Wow, 50%. The Warriors only shot 25% from 3-point range.
Billy: (incredulously, eyes wide) FIFTY PERCENT? Oh hell nawww — it must be Jrue Holiday’s birthday today. Steph gotta D him UP.
Ian: (Get’s another alert on phone) Hey, did you hear about what Patagonia did today?
Billy: Pata who?
Ian: Like the clothing...Never mind (laughs)
3rd quarter (Kerr said they “bleeping sucked,” more on that later)
Durant called for traveling violation.
Billy: WHERE ARE THE DAMN FUNDAMENTALS?! (stands up shaking fist at television) IT’S CALLED A PIVOT FOOT! MY GAWD! (a barking, raspy cough comes up and momentarily knocks Billy off balance)
Ian: Billy! Chill — your heart may stop. They’ll get there. KD’s mad at himself, he gets it.
Billy: (slowly sits back down wiping his mouth) Wait did that sideline reporter just say Coach Kerr told her the team “bleeping sucked” that half?
Ian: He’s a gamer. Playing with Michael Jordan and for Greg Popovich will get you like that. They’ll respond.
Steph to KD for the DUNK!!! pic.twitter.com/Cd2ukoIF4Y— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) December 5, 2017
Billy: Damn, is the lead down to 13 already? I told you Ian! You didn’t believe!
Ian: Wait, I never said I didn’t bel--
Billy: WE BELIEVE BABY! That’s Warriors basketball! (gets up clapping hands and shouting in direction of kitchen).
Ian: If you sat down and watched you’d see it’s down to 10. Draymond just hit a three.
A minute passes.
Ian: JAVALE with the AND-1!!! Warriors start second half on a 15-0 run.
Billy: Flip the switch baby!
Final 10 points of a 15-0 Dubs run to begin the 3rd quarter pic.twitter.com/u5seM4we6G— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 5, 2017
(McGee wacks Cousins in the face and Cousins flops to court for extended time)
Billy: That’s payback for McCaw big fella!
Ian: (on Twitter)McCaw’s out for the game, but his x-rays were negative.
Billy: Wow, that could be big with Livingston out.
Ian: The bench is certainly thin.
(Kevin Durant eurosteps around Cousins to pull the deficit to 78-72)
Billy: What’s that funny lil’ layup step called? Euro?
(Klay Thompson three brings the deficit down to 78-75 followed by a Cousins technical foul)
Ian: You got it. I tell you man, this team. See, Cousins is such a baby. Always crying at the ref. Thanks for the tech!
Billy: So much talent…(sips orange juice from mug) and no heart.
Ian: That was an amazing sequence by Steph. He’s keeping us in this thing.
Billy: Are we seeing a (stifles a cough) Holiday-Curry shootout? Wow!
Ian: And that’s why he’s the second best player in the NBA.
Billy: Check your phone and compare Holiday to Curry for me after three quarters, son.
After the 3rd...— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) December 5, 2017
GSW - 88
- Curry: 27 pts, 7 ast, 4 reb
NOP - 91
- Holiday: 32 pts, 5 reb
Ian: Steph has 27, Holiday has 32.
Billy: Is that why they are paying Holiday all that money?! Sheesh. And is Draymond the point guard now without Livingston and McCaw?
Ian: Iguodala is running some point guard too. But it’s not ideal.
Cousins and Draymond jaw at each other
Billy: Get in his head Dray! That boy is soft! He don’t want it! (nods toward Ian’s untouched mug of orange juice). You haven’t touched your O.J. Ian.
Ian: I’m focused on this game. I’ve also never drank O.J. during a basketball game.
Billy: You missing out, son (Iguodala scores, he takes a big sip from his cup). LET’S GO! That’s that defense!
Under six minutes left in the game
Ian: Damn Steph, don’t foul! (turns to Billy). Steph just committed his 5th foul.
Billy: (Heads go into hands) Play smarter, not harder, young fella. That’s happening a lot this season.
Ian: Someone else is going to have to step up.
Ian: That’s why we got him. I love Swaggy P. Might get a jersey
Cousins flop trying to Steph’s 6th foul pic.twitter.com/EkhQnQEwPA— warriorsworld (@warriorsworld) December 5, 2017
Billy: (cackles in laughter) Did that giant just throw up a horrible three and flop when lil’ Steph came over? How much “minus” does Boogie have tonight, Ian?
Ian: (smirking as he reads box score from phone) Cousins is -32 on the game.
Billy: He’s a big ol’ minus! He ain’t no real big man!
Durant and Cousins are ejected
Ian: These guys need to stop getting ejected. Cousins, I expect. But that’s Durant’s second ejection in three games. They need to stay cool!
Billy: Was KD always this mouthy in OKC? Sheesh (looks down at empty Triscuits box). Damn, I knew I shoulda asked my wife to grab two boxes from Safeway.
Ian: Where is she anyway? I was hoping to meet her.
Billy: Monday night prayer meeting at the church. I usually go with her but I figured you being new in town and all, you could use a friend. (eyes Ian’s mug) You sure you don’t want that orange juice?
Ian: Well, next time.
Curry leaves the game :( pic.twitter.com/jBvMfxxtMq— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) December 5, 2017
Billy: You gotta be kidding me! (jaw drops in disbelief) The game is damn near over!
Ian: Oh no...this is bad (rubs face in hands). Anyone, but Steph. ANYONE! Billy, I’m scared. He’s everything to this team.
Billy: Maybe this will get everybody to start playing four quarters of solid basketball instead of waiting for him to go all “Unanimous” every night.
Ian: It’s just...the ankle.
Billy: I mean... (faces Ian somberly) Nobody died. You wasn’t alive during the wars.
Warriors were a +56 in the second half the past two nights— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 5, 2017
+26 in Miami
+30 in New Orleans
They're now 19-6
Ian: Hey man, I really appreciate you having me over tonight. It’s an honor to come to your house and all. Next time, I’ll come during the day and you can show me around the neighborhood. And we’ll have to go to a game soon.
Steph crunching back into the locker room with his ankle heavily wrapped pic.twitter.com/3RUoUPz4mX— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 5, 2017
Billy: (absentmindedly) Huh? Oh, I’m sorry buddy, I was just watching Steph limp around like a wounded german shepherd. Yeah, yeah, let’s definitely meet up real soon, I think this season just got a little more interesting (abruptly coughs intensely into his arm).
Ian: Yeah, I’m going to grab some food in this neighborhood called Rockridge. I tell you, this East Bay life is way different. How’s that cough been?
Billy: It’s bad. (aggressively clears throat) But, it’s always bad. (sighs and rubs eyes sleepily) Don’t worry about me, though. (blinks a few times as if clearing cobwebs and grins) Go Dubs.
Ian: Pray for Steph and get more Triscuits. Later, Billy.
Which Warrior Waxed Wondrous?
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