Look, I get that stringing together words is my entire job, but sometimes I run out of them. Sometimes I just don’t have the words to describe what happened.
Sometimes this is a good thing. Sometimes the Golden State Warriors do something so magical that I think, “how could I possibly do these actions justice merely with a blog?”
And sometimes they do something so ludicrously horrible that I think, “Where do I even start? Are there enough words? Are the bars open yet?”
This is one of the latter times.
Let’s skip straight to the final minute. The Warriors were losing by one point to the Washington Wizards, yet the game felt totally in control, because they had one of the best matchups in NBA history: Steph Curry defended by Dāvis Bertāns.
It went exactly as you would anticipate. Curry blew by Bertāns with all the ease that I imagine he would blow by me with, and finished with a nifty reverse layup to put the Dubs on top.
GET US THAT LEAD, STEPH pic.twitter.com/VzwRX6zGZy— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) April 10, 2021
The next sequence went well. The Warriors forced a tough shot, grabbed the rebound, and held onto the ball as Washington had a foul to give and the shot clock was turned off. They inbounded the ball to Curry, who protected the ball as he absorbed another foul, and he made both free throws to give the Dubs a three-point lead.
And then everything went to hell.
Washington brought the ball down the court, and the Warriors ceded an open three to Russell Westbrook. It was a little bit more open than they probably were hoping for, but it was the right person to leave open.
Westbrook missed. Badly. But what happened immediately after was perhaps the most back-breaking moment of the season, though it would hold that title for only a few seconds of game time.
The Warriors were unable to secure the offensive rebound, as Bradley Beal beat everyone to the ball. Beal grabbed the rock right before it went out of bounds, turned, and fired a game-tying three right as Andrew Wiggins attempted to block the shot, but apparently mistook Beal’s head for the basketball.
Beal made the shot, marched to the line on a very easy call for the ref, and made the go-ahead free throw.
Here, watch it again before checking what’s in the back of your liquor cabinet.
The Dubs were still in prime position. They had more than six seconds on the clock, trailed by a single point, and advanced the ball into the frontcourt.
Remember how I called Beal’s play the most back-breaking moment of the season, but only temporarily? Time for the new most back-breaking moment of the season.
Damion Lee inbounded to Draymond Green, and Steph Curry came streaking up towards Green, with Lee looking like he’d set a pin-down screen to spring Curry open, as the Warriors have done millions of times.
But Lee slipped the screen, Green found him cutting to the hoop, and he looked like he had a wide-open layup.
Rookie Deni Avdija made a brilliant rotation to meet Lee at the rim, and rather than trying to make the layup or get fouled — which Lee probably should have done — he tried to kick it to the corner, only to throw it away.
Shoutout to Steve Kerr for this play design. Should’ve been the game-winner for Golden State. pic.twitter.com/urqM8ylEBe— Jake Winderman (@jakewinderman) April 10, 2021
You can see the vision for Lee, even though he should have just gone to the rim and not over-complicated it.
And you can see a brilliant play design by Steve Kerr, even though with six seconds left you’d kind of prefer just putting the ball in Curry’s hands and not over-complicate it.
But they over-complicated it, and they lost, 110-107.
It never should have come down to that play at all, as the Warriors somehow came out of the gates with no energy or aggression, especially on defense. Despite having two days off, and being at home, Kerr called the team’s first-half defense “terrible,” and truthfully, that was a rather kind assessment by him.
The Warriors are not a good team. And they seem to be relishing the opportunity to remind us of that.
At least they do it in new ways each time.