4.28.2007

I Don't Worry About Destiny



I have a lot of things I will write if the Warriors pull this off. I've typed them up several times, and keep opting to delete them. There's one thing, though, that needs to be stated, no matter how this shakes out. The Mavs were once supreme Nellie-ball, and then Avery came in and modified them to talk a little like the Spurs. Which, of course, means that they would be better suited for "playoff basketball," while retaining some of their more dynamic assets. Here's the thing, though: Golden State is capable of dominating them, and I can't quite figure out how. The Warriors play the kind of basketball I wish would count for something, but almost always doesn't. They make the Suns look a little too glib and establishment, reminding you just how much Phoenix depends on the omnipotence of one of the most traditional position roles. And while Phoenix has struggled against "real" teams, the Warriors are waxing chaotic against Mavericks supposedly made over in the name of the "real."

I'm not ready to say that these two Warriors wins will change the landscape of the league. I will say it if they pull this off, but now it would be premature. Here's what I can confidently assert, though: in one week, they have made significant contributions to the Suns revolution. The Mavericks have the advantage in all the familiar playoff-tested categories, and yet the Warriors have made these all but irrelevant. What's more, only a crazy man would say that the Mavs aren't back on their heels. Golden State isn't just beating the odds, they're inverting them in gut-wrenching fashion.



The current situation is all so unlikely, and so hallucinatory, that it seems like it must be an aberration or outlier. What could we possibly conclude from it? That the Suns will win a championship? That Golden State became the best team in the league when they got their gang together? That the Warriors are a smarter running team than Phoenix? That the Mavericks were all a house of cards? At this point, an eventual Dallas win would squelch these neurotic rumblings. If the Warriors took the series, though, our only choices would be denial or total anarchy. Because the way they're playing, and the way Dallas is responding, that's anything but luck bearing down on an Achilles. That, my friends, is what you call proof through revelation.



A few other stray notes, primarily from Nuggets/Spurs:

-Image of Baron Davis's ammo fedora. Note: if this had been a normal weekend for me, I wouldn't have needed the comments section to know that Skeets had posted this. My apologies to him and his family.

-One of our own shows up on Slate, with some surly thoughts about playoff watching.

-Walton on J.R.: "He can be either the best player on your team or the worst, sometimes from one possession to the next."

-Walton's Spurs-slurping is some homer-like tension deflation. It just gets weird, though, when he pines for Maurice Lucas on the Spurs but then berates Denver for bumping Tony Parker in the paint.

-Marcel Mutoni said to me last night that he thinks the Warriors hate the Mavs. Not sure about that, but J.R. Smith has some serious contempt for San Antonio. Because of that aborted trade, maybe? Anyway, the Recluse said Smith was playing "like he was in a fight." I wouldn't hesitate to say he's somehow combined "wild card athlete" and "enforcer."



-I don't get the Spurs. Since they invariably pull off whatever's necessary in the end, can you even ever say they're vulnerable?

-Shouldn't announcers get together and standardize "rise up" versus "raise up?"

-By that same token, how can we even judge if the Nuggets are playing them close or not?

-I don't even know why I'm watching Jazz/Rockets. Someone just wake me up if McGrady advances.

36 Comments:

At 4/29/2007 12:58 AM, Anonymous brendo said...

100% hit rate. I couldn't disagree or add a single otherwise interesting and unique though of my own if I tried.

 
At 4/29/2007 1:20 AM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

Watching the games, I can't shake the feeling that these playoffs should be more exciting then they are. the idea of these games are exciting (warriors upsets, mcgrady advancing, suns lakers rematch). They make for good storylines. But very few of the games so far have actually been fun to sit down on the couch and watch, with the exception maybe of the first 2 suns games. Even in the series that are still close, its like the teams are just trading blow-outs.

 
At 4/29/2007 1:45 AM, Anonymous Ben said...

To the fedora: http://www.thebasketballjones.net/2007/04/27/baron-davis-kick-ass-bullet-fedora/

 
At 4/29/2007 2:40 AM, Blogger Colonel D. Williams (Ret.) said...

I'm trying to understand why Smith would be mad at the Spurs. Is he upset the trade didn't go through? Trust me, Pop wanted to get rid of Barry. It wasn't their fault it didn't go through on time. Or, is he mad that the Spurs would dare try to acquire his services? It makes no sense but I understand how pro athletes must concoct bizarre challenges to their dignity to find motivation.

On another note, Big Shot Bob has announced this is his last season and he seems to be playing like he actually gives a crap again.

 
At 4/29/2007 4:22 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

the underplayed storyline of this golden state/dallas match-up is the increasing deterioration of marc cuban's mental health.
if the warriors pull this off, anything— from a murder-suicide (avery johnson, victim) to cuban in the fetal position for five straight hours— and i mean anything is possible.
THAT is the most compelling part of this series, running and gunning and baron davis' comedic timing be damned.

 
At 4/29/2007 4:27 AM, Blogger bobby said...

Not since the Showtime Lakers of the 80s taking on the glitz and glamour of LA has a team embodied the culture of a city so wholeheartedly. The Warriors have officially answered the centuries old question: What would Hyphy basketball look like?

 
At 4/29/2007 8:09 AM, Anonymous padraig said...

bobby: I've been wanting to post a comment to that effect for over a week (actually, watching the Warriors frequently makes me want to raucously scream OAKLAND at the top of my lungs) but I couldn't find a way to articulate my thought lucidly. This current team reminds me of how much I love living here each time I watch them play. Not only that but they're continuing on in a fine Oakland athlete tradition for (mostly) better and worse; Rollie Fingers' GOAT mustache, Mr. October, Ricky Henderson, Eck-Man, the Snake and Dave Casper and Biletnikoff, Rick Barry, of course Nellie's own TMC and even crazy old Spree.

The super-gulliness of S-Jax, the ghetto fabulous savvy of Baron (who even looks kind of like a streamlined Mistah FAB), Andris Biedrins' flashes of scary brilliance embedded in endearing awkwardness, the general roiling chaos...this is where I fail to make the leap from concept to articulation but suffice it to say that this year's team has come to embody the Oakland's very unique and unprobable spirit in a way that most teams simply don't. Finally, consider this: Nellie=Jerry Brown.

 
At 4/29/2007 8:20 AM, Anonymous padraig said...

sorry to double post but I realized I had another, separate point, namely that the Warriors have also been playing good to fantastic defense for most of the series so far. But even on the defensive end their style is totally unorthodox; mostly a matchup zone hybrid I think (the kind of garbled mish mash Nellie usually comes up with as a defensive scheme) and their team defense is pretty awful but nearly everyone is solid 1-on-1 defender. Even Biedrins, the only fairly traditional big, is pretty quick for a 7 ft dude. Devin Harris and the Jet just haven't been able to get into the paint and without dribble penetration the Mavs just can't break down their defenders 1-1 at an efficient enough rate. Josh Howard is the only dude who's consistently been able to create his own shot.

Another of the Mavs' problems is that they're getting beat by the quickness of the Warriors' big guards enough on the offensive glass to offset the extra rebounds for Dirk and DampiDiop. I was thinking the same thing watching the Nuggets/Spurs; having AI and Steve Blake in the backcourt is a killer on the supplementary rebounding that your guards are supposed to provide (of course Denver has more serious problems).

 
At 4/29/2007 11:17 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

That the Suns will win a championship? That Golden State became the best team in the league when they got their gang together? That the Warriors are a smarter running team than Phoenix? That the Mavericks were all a house of cards?

No, no, no, probably.

 
At 4/29/2007 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking like another Spurs championship. sigh. This league is going to be so fun when Duncan and Shaq retire. At least Shaq's on his way out.

 
At 4/29/2007 5:56 PM, Blogger bobby said...

Pad: When will we see Baron Ghostride the basketball?

P.S. the Warriors play the most physical brand of defense I've seen in a while. It puts the refs in a precarious situation, because if they called every foul, the Warriors would all foul out in about 3 quarters. This really throws off the Mavs because they keep thinking they are getting fouled, but nothing is getting called...

 
At 4/29/2007 7:37 PM, Blogger richmindseed said...

(I didn't read this blog till a couple days ago when there was something posted on GSoM about it, but you're now on my must-read list - excellent writing!)

re: the Ws hating the Mavs

I think a post you made the other day about the emotion the Ws play with explains this sensation pretty clearly. For me, this is why I love rooting for this team - I feel connected to them in a way I don't feel connected to the other teams I root for (Niners, A's, Sharks, etc), even though I've been a Niners fan longer than I've been a Ws fan. Perhaps this has to do in part with the game of basketball itself, the beautiful poetry of motion that describes this sport at its finest, but it seems far more likely that it has to do with the sheer humanity of the Ws. This sounds a little silly, but open up NBA 2k7 or NBA Live 07 and look at the players who now make up the Warriors' rotation, and compare them to the players the Mavs have. The defining characteristic of this team is its flawed nature, as the numbers now staring you in the face will attest. Raw talent wise, there is no way we steal even a game off the stronger, more talented, BETTER mavericks. But we have that indefinable something - teamwork? chemistry? - that makes us a great team. Or to put it another way...

WE BELIEVE!

 
At 4/29/2007 7:54 PM, Blogger T. said...

allow me to dickride the Warriors for a bit (my East Bay credentials: I went to Cal). I think my favorite part so far of the Warriors playoffs run is Baron getting all his old high school classmates and show biz buddies (He went to Santa Monica Crossroads - pretty much the high school of choice for scion of the entertainment industry)

Has any team pulled in the glamor and street together like this since the 1980s Lakers?

What do Kate Hudson and Keak da Sneak have in common?

 
At 4/29/2007 11:11 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

I think Reggie Miller just said "adversadility". Anyone care to provide a definition?

 
At 4/29/2007 11:30 PM, Anonymous W.C.G. said...

"Raw talent wise, there is no way we steal even a game off the stronger, more talented, BETTER mavericks."

baron, j-rich, s-jax, pietrus, biedrins, harrington, and mon-tay is nothing to scoff at. hickory high this ain't. the warriors' problems this season have been new system, new players, and injuries. having righted themselves on all three fronts, they're not really an "8 seed" in the sense that the orlando magic are.

that said, as a mavs fan i'm depressed because this series is exposing this team quickly. dallas can't score in the paint (even against small dudes) and doesn't have a three-point shooter. stack playing the role of the "corner three guy" just doesn't cut it. this team basically goes as far as an endless array of 12-15 foot jumpers will take it.

oh, and baron's shot was effin' ridiculous...

 
At 4/30/2007 12:17 AM, Anonymous W.C.G. said...

update: baron's personal 5-0 end-3rd-quarter run was equally ridiculous.

 
At 4/30/2007 12:37 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

I think Dirk is a great player and all, but tonight is a prime example of why he shouldn't be MVP this year. Something just doesn't seem right with him.

Of course, now he'll average fifty ppg for the rest of the playoffs and make me looke an idiot.

 
At 4/30/2007 12:38 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

I meant to say "look like an idiot". I guess I don't need any help doing that.

 
At 4/30/2007 12:45 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

What a game!

 
At 4/30/2007 1:00 AM, Blogger T. said...

WARRIORS!!!!

If my Rockets flame out, I'm totally on the East Bay bandwagon.

 
At 4/30/2007 1:03 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

Holy shit!

 
At 4/30/2007 1:19 AM, Blogger BenQRock said...

Holy shit, indeed. The Warriors are fer real.

 
At 4/30/2007 1:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...That the Mavericks were all a house of cards?"

The Mavs can win many games but I am yet to have faith in Dirk or the rest of the teams response to pressure. The Mavs are walking around dazed with the same green around the gills look they had last year after taking one too many rides on the D-Wade roller coaster.

 
At 4/30/2007 1:34 AM, Anonymous blindblue said...

TNT came in from a break playing Blackalicious' "Release." I bet they intro game 6 with Zion I. TNT needs to broadcast all the playoff games, I can't stand that fucking "Right Now" Pussycat Dolls shit.

 
At 4/30/2007 1:57 AM, Blogger shoefly said...

The only thing that could have made that any better was Baron doing Sam Cassell's "big balls" dance after nailing that fading 21 footer. That team plays like their insides are aflame.

 
At 4/30/2007 2:17 AM, Anonymous padraig said...

holy fuck. this series has been more awesome than the rest of the playoffs combined so far. the GSW officially now has it on like donkey kong.

if the Warriors can wrap this up (and it seems likely given the Mavs' seemingly shattered mental state and general malaise) I don't think the Rockets/Utah winner will be able to contain them but I just can't envision them making it past the impossible (as always) to fluster Spurs. I don't think that FD and "right way" are mutually exclusive but SA/Warriors would be the ultimate FD/anti-FD cataclysm, no?

One of the Warriors most endearing/frustrating qualities is their penchant for doing things that are completely gratuitous b/c they just can't stop themselves that either lead to turnovers or spectacular plays that are way more difficult than they have to be. Matt Barnes is the king of this, throwing unneccesary alley-oops and behind the back passes on the break left and right. Did anyone else laugh out loud at S-Jax's random 360 spin on his pass to Jason Richardson on an early fast break? It's not like it helped him avoid a defender; it just looked kind of cool and it seemed like that's why he did it.

blindblue: hear hear. bring on hiero and lyrics born and dre mac and (why not?) opivy. I'm sick of Bill Walton and the Pussycats.

I'm dreaming of a Warriors/Bulls final wherein Sir Charles will challenge the city of Oakland to a race at halftime of game 1. Oaktown will be represented by our new mayor, 71 yr old impeccable Ron Dellums, formerly known as Congress' Apartheid/evil stuff challenging badass for like 3 decades.

 
At 4/30/2007 2:20 AM, Anonymous randyduck said...

I haven't seen season 4.

The Warriors are Omar; the Mavs are Stringer; the Spurs are Brother Mouzone; the Nuggets are Bodie; the Suns are Avon.

Kobe is McNulty.

 
At 4/30/2007 9:28 AM, Anonymous Scott said...

padraig I too laughed out loud at jackson's "random 360 spin" on the fast break pass.

coming as it did after the crazy matt barnes 2-on-1 lob pass with the shortest guy on the team as the recipient, it seemed so...inevitable.

 
At 4/30/2007 9:42 AM, Anonymous the racoon said...

Nellie! the fuckin Mad Scientist.

You know Nellie's eatin this up. He had to be tweaked by hearing, for two years, the media talk about how Avery 'cured' the fatally flawed Mavs.

Underrated coaching move of the series: Nellie waiting till game 3, and the return to the friendly confines of Oracle arena, to start young biedrins.

Now hes got 3 games to beat that 3-2 zone one time.

 
At 4/30/2007 10:14 AM, Blogger T. said...

holy crap! much respect to randyduck. well, for referencing randyduck.

unless its really randyduck, then even cooler.

 
At 4/30/2007 12:11 PM, Anonymous Josh said...

Can't "rise up" and "raise up" be used to mean (or at least connote) different things? Though I don't know if NBA announcers ever use that distinction.

But on the same subject, shouldn't they also standardize "untracked" versus "on track"? Or maybe there's just the one guy that says "untracked", but I have to admit, it kind of bugs me.

wv: ameze - we runnin this rap shit

 
At 4/30/2007 12:37 PM, Anonymous fulminating said...

well, fuck, now randyduck has come up with the perfect combination: warriors and the wire.

- warriors = omar: relentless, ultra gully, code of honor; or are they marlo stansfield and his young ruthless killers?

- mavs = stringer bell tryin to go legit (big man D), scary to everyone except the upstarts; gets got.

 
At 4/30/2007 1:13 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

The Warriors are definitely the up-and-comers on the Wire. Baron = Michael (right combination of understated arrogance and actual talent to lead, show no fear, and scoff at other people's hype while creating his own), Stephen Jackson = Namond (athletic, brash, pretty much crazy...Jackson probably brings more to the table than Namond, though), Monta Ellis = Randy (solid back-up guy capable of stealing some headlines), Al Harrington = the car-stealing little man (both have skills enough to be completely interesting on their own, but mostly just play the aloof, supporting role), and, finally, Adonal Foyle = Dukie. I'm thinking it works. Especially considering those kids seriously put themselves on the map in Season 4. If they have to be one person, though, I'm picking Michael.

 
At 4/30/2007 1:57 PM, Anonymous randyduck said...

I don't think the W's are Marlo, who's obsessed with taking Avon's crown. Like Omar, Oakland doesn't care about who runs the corners--they're content to lay in the cut and fuck up whoever comes through.

Watch out, Utah/Houston. (I don't know, Houston is Prop Joe and Utah is Frank Sobotka? Who cares?)

Is Garnett Carver?

 
At 4/30/2007 4:49 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

No offense to randyduck (good job on incorporating The Wire into this though), but you gotta see Season 4 to get those references updated. I'd explain what I mean, but that would mean spoilers which I'm sure you don't wanna hear.

I think this series is not so much about Nellie's or GS's style overtaking the "real" Mavs or anything like that, so much as it is exposing that Avery Johnson (COY last year notwithstanding) is just a really inexperienced coach, and Dirk is not The Man that Cuban and all of Dallas wishes he was. The perfect mirror of this series is the Lakers-Suns series from last year, and to a lesser extent this year. Why did the Lakers push Phoenix to 7 last year, and why have they played them close in 3 of the 4 games so far this year? It ain't Kobe, it's Phil. If the Mavs had a coach like Phil (or Sloan or Larry Brown, or Van Gundy or Pop, etc) the Warriors wouldn't be able to continue with Nellie's gimmick; just like the Nash-Dirk-Finley-Nellie Mavs weren't able to run that stuff against the Lakers and Spurs a few years back. The Mavs are in trouble in this series cause Avery doesn't know how to make the adjustments and press his advantages and exploit Golden State's weaknesses. There's a reason the lowly Lakers were able go to 4-0 against Golden State this year, and once again it's due to the coaching.

The Warriors may win this series, but they're going to have a much harder time going up against such playoff-tested minds as Van Gundy, Sloan & Pop.

 
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