5.02.2007

At Least Fear Keeps You Warm



I am a sentimentalist and a man prone to sympathy so I'm glad Dirk found a tiny bit of musk there at the end. And while I am not a fan like all the rest, wishing ruin on a team you rooted for last spring is a little shitty. But man, I wish Golden State could have pulled that off. I can't begin to say this enough ways: I don't really like anyone on that team except for healthy Baron and Monta Ellis, and I certainly have no special attachment to the franchise. The underdog-as-moral-figure does nothing for me, and the barbarism of the Warriors' style doesn't strike me as a of Suns-like grand innovation. If everyone played like this, there would be a civil war and plenty of lost souls, and the weird thing is that it's not too hard to imagine.

What they are is the embodiment of all that I find exuberant, emotive and just plain resonant about the sport of basketball. It's not just the moves, or the "score until there's no points left" and "play defense faster than we can keep track of" philosophy. Watching this team, you can feel everything that the game signifies for my breed of spectator. There's chemistry, and humor, and an overwhelming sense of badness. And yes, like someone said yesterday, there's that teleological bent toward success. Incoherent as this may sound, the Warriors are the soul of my NBA worldview. That's not to say that I wouldn't rather see certain others players (THE LIST STARTS NOW) put in their position, for any number of reasons. Yet that only makes their cause more urgent, and more personal, for yours truly.



I feel queasy and all-too-sober right now. If the Warriors lose, I lose as well. If they exit the playoffs, a large swath of me goes dormant. They make me feel alive, and you can't blame me for getting a little defensive about that.

48 Comments:

At 5/02/2007 1:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a Mavs fan and even I love Biedrins. Even with that FT routine.

 
At 5/02/2007 1:25 AM, Blogger Louie Bones said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5/02/2007 1:32 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

queasy is the perfect word.
gs gave more than a game back tonight.
the onus is obviously on gs, and i'm not sure they can handle it.
people are relying way too much on that crowd...
also, everyone on the mavs is coming out and saying that all the pressure is on the warriors.
it's true, and also brilliant.

 
At 5/02/2007 1:45 AM, Blogger crazylegsjackson said...

If GS loses in 7, it's going to be hard to care about the rest of the playoffs. And it's basically a coinflip now.

 
At 5/02/2007 1:52 AM, Anonymous Petey said...

That was Oakland's last best chance, I do think.

Can't no one say they didn't make things interesting.

 
At 5/02/2007 1:53 AM, Anonymous padraig said...

crazylegsjackson: you said it.

Truly that was terrible. I'm not predicting doom yet though. The Mavs needed a complete GSW collapse to barely eke one out at home after nearly collapsing themselves. The pressure's on the Warriors now? Bullshit. They're a freaking 8 seed who barely snuck into the playoffs and they've taken the team that should've by all rights won a championship last year to the brink. Not only that but they've also embarrassed and made them look awful in the process. I'm not guaranteeing a Warriors victory but I am saying that despite what Sir Charles (who btw could really do all of us a favor by just putting Wade in his goddam 5 so they can stop making those irritating commercials) and others are claiming the pressure is still on the Mavs. Let's see Dirk have an unterrible game away from Dallas.

This series, win or lose, has really soured me on the Mavs about whom I was previously very ambivalent. People on FD complain about the Spurs being the antithesis of FD but what about Dirk and Co.? Seriously, they're like a 2nd rate knockoff of the Spurs except they can't dominate (forget the worthless regular season) anyone and their key players usually get worse in the clutch not better. Look, I'm not a hater. Dirk had a great 3 minutes after a mediocre game and Devin Harris was awesome in the 4th quarter. But even if they do beat the Warriors how is anyone going to take Dallas seriously?

*there are probably an infinite # of more deserving players than Stephen freaking Jackson but that's who we got so we might as well right to the end. and because I just can't help myself, fuck the Mavs, fuck Cuban (watching that dude repeatedly lose it has truly been wonderful), fuck Dirk, fuck the Jet and Stackhouse and Devin Harris. Josh Howard is still cool by me though.

 
At 5/02/2007 2:05 AM, Anonymous fix_the_knicks said...

ignoring tonight -- in which the mavs won only because golden state was unable to run a coherent play or get a decent look in the final 90 seconds -- and thinking about the big picture, encompassing last year's finals... wouldn't you have to say that all of the mavs problems ultimately reflect on avery johnson and the demeanor that he has created for this team? i'm not even talking about the x's and o's and substitutions, where he's merely mediocre but not an outright liability. he just seems like pretty much the mostly tightly wound guy ever, and surprise, his team just seems to play tight at all the key moments. they don't handle adversity, they stop trying hard when calls go against them, they're just straight up mentally weak. it just seems like avery's style works great for squeezing out every last win in the regular season, but it's killing them in the playoffs.

 
At 5/02/2007 2:14 AM, Anonymous donita reason said...

word.

i still believe; game 6 is at oracle. i'm looking for the warriors (and, really, is that not the perfect fucking name for this team?) to come out game 4 style.

in some ways, though, i never want this series to end.

 
At 5/02/2007 2:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

fix the knicks... no disrespect but that is some of the dumbest shit i've read on this site. If you watched Avery play he knew how to pick his team up as a player for San Antonio... if you want to get technical he also was credited by Dirk for helping him pick it up tonight. Coincidence that Dirk has a decent game after slumping as hard as he did the first few games??
It's one thing to say Avery isn't wiley... fine he's young. When has Dirk been in the finals before last season???
What happened in game 7 against San Antonio last year??

 
At 5/02/2007 2:41 AM, Anonymous W.C.G. said...

fix the knicks: that's exactly what i came on here to say. rock on. these mavs are a tennis prodigy with an overbearing dad.

although, i gotta say, inserting austin freakin' croshere and giving him the greenlight was either a masterstroke or the coaching equivalent to one of those s-jax "so stupid it's effective" shots...

 
At 5/02/2007 2:54 AM, Blogger Glenn said...

It looks cryworthy now, that the Warriors somehow managed to go from 20+ down to 9 up with 3m to play and still lose. But frankly, I expected this loss. If Dallas has any pride at all, they can't get run in five games with the last one on their home court by an 8 seed. That would be pathetic. So I don't feel at all that suddenly the Dubs are in trouble, or that somehow this game unexpectedly turned the tide. A win tonight would have been just ridiculous. I think the Warriors stole this series when they won game 1.

But I find myself in agreement with the original topic post... the Warriors play the kind of game I want to watch. When Dallas started milking their lead in the first half, I wanted to flog them. I hoped every 24-second violation felt like a dagger. That is just no freakin' way to be a winner.

It occurred to me that losing to that style of play is annoying, but losing to a team like the Warriors who just come right out and show you "We're better athletes than you. We're better shooters than you. You suck!" is demoralizing. The Warriors somehow make the other team feel less manly... even winning looks like they won on a courtroom technicality.

When Baron threw that alley-oop to J-Rich I thought it was over. That's the way to storm into someone's house and announce yourself. Dirk can sink a million 3-pointers and it still looks like a freakishly tall guy taking chicken shots.

 
At 5/02/2007 3:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are a lot of intangibles in play here; they're seldom discussed.

GS wins, Nellie gets a powerful victory over his diabolical arch-nemisis. When he thinks on his career in his twilight, winning this series will be worth unfathomably more than the $6.6M over which he's about to fight Cuban in court.

Mavs lose, Avery's job is in serious question. I'd stake my anonymous status on it. Public shaming is suddenly a prime mover in his motivation.

Mavs lose, Dirk becomes an MVP that represents old caucy voters jumping on top and inside of eachother. A poor choice at best with the decision affecting his future award electioneering.

If Stephen Jackson is suspended for game six, then referee discretion is in question.

 
At 5/02/2007 9:45 AM, Blogger AdamAnt said...

It blew my mind last night when GS went up 9 then decided to use clock and force contested shots under the gun. S-Jax's hold at half court until 6 seconds remain and heave signaled the end for me. You've been killing the Mavs by running and gunning.

The City also appeared to not get any kind of penetration in the 4th last night even with Diop out and Croshere patroling the middle

 
At 5/02/2007 10:12 AM, Blogger Martin said...

First off I am rooting for the Warriors and would take morbid delight in a Cuban/Mavs demise. That said I admit I found joy in watching last nights game. While I don't particularly like Dirk as a player, I could appreciate last nights narrative. Watching Dirk tether on the ledge of abysmal failure only to find the fortitude to produce greatness in the face of tall odds was totally FD. Earlier in the day Dirk appeared to be a beaten man. He was facing indictment on multiple counts of impersonating an MVP; His defense attorney Avery had abandoned him to be devoured by the ESPNs and interwebs who played the judge, jurors and executioners in the kangaroo court of playoff basketball.

When the Warriors went up by 12 with 3 minutes left, a Mavs first round exit must have seemed inevitable to even the most optimistic fan. And I gotta give props to a player that can come through under such pressure. Godly feats by godly beings are simply mundane and to be expected. The fallen Mavs assumed a human identity last night that validated the awesomeness of their victory. I think that is the reason I enjoyed the Mavs victory but was embittered by the Spurs win over the Nuggets.

 
At 5/02/2007 11:00 AM, Blogger spooky said...

Golden State = The Golden Horde. Stephen Jackson does not take prisoners.

 
At 5/02/2007 11:07 AM, Blogger Kyle said...

I feel like people are forgetting how good the Mavericks can be. Doesn't anyone think that the 15-0 run to end the game swings the momentum towards Dallas? All it takes is a bad game six (or worse, 6 fouls) from Baron and this series is knotted up and back to Dallas. And then? Who knows. I fear that the Warriors lost the series with all the errant threes (J-Rich, drive to the hoop!) at the end of the game last night.

 
At 5/02/2007 11:11 AM, Blogger Glenn said...

I agree that last night was great redemption and excitement for Dallas. As long as the Warriors still win, I think I'll be happy for the added drama.

I also agree that I don't like *how* the Warriors used up the clock. It's cool with me if they consciously use it, but that should be by whipping the ball around, looking for an open drive, not just dribbling it away at the top.

 
At 5/02/2007 11:32 AM, Anonymous Sheed&Pippen&Bonzi&BabyJermaine&Pippen said...

I'm sorry, I'm just not in this whole "I hope this series never ends" camp. For me, this series needs to end Thursday night, period.

In most cases I would be distraught and convinced that there would be no way that the low seed could bounce back and take the series. Much like the way I felt last year after the Kobes dropped game 5.

However this Warriors team is different, as has been said so many times. Who knows what is gonna happen? Of course we will speculate, but the fact is that this team could win by 30 in Game 6 or lose the next two by 50, I wouldn't be all that surprised either way. This is partly what drives us all mad about watching the Warriors.

I've been a mess about this series since the game ended last night. Never have I wanted a team that I wasn't a fan of to win so badly. I have no idea what to expect, but one thing is for sure: as my brother said to me after the game last night "its ok dude, Stephen Jackson is polishing his pistol for Thursday right now."

 
At 5/02/2007 11:49 AM, Anonymous CA said...

That Stephen Jackson comes from the same small Texas town as Janis Joplin seems appropriate.

 
At 5/02/2007 11:50 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Seriously, they're like a 2nd rate knockoff of the Spurs except they can't dominate (forget the worthless regular season) anyone and their key players usually get worse in the clutch not better

Indeed. This series isn't about the "barbarism" of the Warriors, or how much fun they are to watch, or the underdog story. It is about the exposure of the Mavs. I like Cuban, but his team, lead by Dirk, is not legit.

There is a difference between the 1998 Yankees (a dynasty at their peak) and the 2001 Seattle Mariners (a good team that overachieved in the regular season, but that was not great enough to win). Guess which one is this Dallas Mavericks team?

At least Seattle was slayed by a giant. The Warriors are just a very talented team that is exposing every weakness the Mavs have, all at once. That win yesterday by the Mavs accomplished one thing - it saved Dirk from an offseason of criticism and self-reflection. At least he got his big moment of clutchness, justifying his existance.

It doesn't matter, though, because the Warriors will run the Mavs right out of Oakland on Thursday night. All they have to do is establish Jason Richardson (the true "best player in this series", even if he hasn't dominated enough) early, and the Mavs will have to play catch up from get go....

 
At 5/02/2007 12:02 PM, Blogger emynd said...

The up-by-9 breakdown was tragic, not just because it happened and the Warriors lost, but they lost because they did so by playing “the right way.” I mean, “the right way” certainly isn’t dribbling around for 20 seconds and throwing up a horrible shot so it’s not like they were Larry Brown-ing it out there, but, as Reggie Miller incorrectly said “The Warriors need to use the clock right now and milk this lead.” No. That’s not what they needed to do, that’s not what they should’ve done, and in their heart of hearts, you know damn well that’s not what they wanted to do… they wanted to run, throw some alley-oops, hit a couple 3s and be up by 19. They just kinda fell into that “right way” crap it because it seemed like “the right” thing to do.

The thing that scares me about the next two games is that the Warriors may have forgotten how to be themselves. I know it’s kind’ve dramatic to have that fear just because they blew a 9 point lead as quickly as they got it, but their under-dog, “we play basketball as fast and as wildly and as fun as possible” ethos crumbled when they were REALLY TRYING TO WIN. And now they’ve got to go home and REALLY TRY TO WIN and I REALLY DON’T WANT THEM TO LOSE.

I’m just scared the Warriors have lost the freedom and innocence that allowed them to go up 3-1 in the first place.

If the Nuggets and Warriors both lose in the 1st Round, I will be physically, mentally, and emotionally broken.

God be with me. God bless the Nuggets. God bless the Warriors.

-e

 
At 5/02/2007 12:06 PM, Blogger patrick said...

When Golden State lost last night it wasn't only a blessing for the Mavericks, but a blessing for all basketball fans because they get to see the Warriors play like barbarians for at least one more game. There is no telling how terribly they will be shredded in the next series. Savor game 6 and 7 gomavs

 
At 5/02/2007 12:10 PM, Anonymous eauhellzgnaw said...

This has nothing do do with anything, but has anybody seen this NY Times article about racial bias and NBA refs?:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/02/sports/basketball/02refs.html?ex=1178769600&en=e738eb8c20e09f0d&ei=5070&emc=eta1

 
At 5/02/2007 12:42 PM, Blogger Glenn said...

>> When Golden State lost last night it wasn't only a blessing for the Mavericks, but a blessing for all basketball fans because they get to see the Warriors play like barbarians for at least one more game.

I don't get this point. The "barbarians" almost pulled an even more mammoth upset than the first three. The most barbaric move on the court was Jason Terry blindsiding and piledriving Baron Davis. I'm amazed he didn't get run for that.

 
At 5/02/2007 12:46 PM, Anonymous Laphonso said...

Reggie has to go. While I enjoy his Stengellian abuse of the English language, his opinions on the Warriors are garbage. Too much time spent in the Knight-bred Motion Offense state of Indiana and worshiping at the altar of "Moving Without the Ball" have warped his thinking and prevent him from understanding the glorious mess that is this Warriors team.

Let's all do ourselves a favor and turn Reggie down tomorrow night. No more hand claps. Basketball may not be music, but the Warriors symphony of destruction is Parliament and Baron Davis is George Clinton. Get up for the down stroke, put on some P-Funk, and watch the Warriors make a Mothership Connection on Thursday night.

 
At 5/02/2007 2:19 PM, Blogger Matt said...

I like how the warriors bring out all the music references, and not just any music, but music people like to DANCE to.

Fuck appreciating a Spurs sonata, let's hit the club and tear some shit up tonight!

 
At 5/02/2007 3:14 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Alright FreeDarko-ites, this one goes out for all of you, from one George Karl (via Rototimes):

5/2: Nuggets guard J.R. Smith will not play for the rest of the first-round playoff series against San Antonio, the San Antonio Express-News reported. “He’s done,” coach George Karl said, nodding when asked if Smith’s ill-advised long 3-pointer with Denver trailing by four with 26.9 seconds left in Monday’s Game 4 was the “straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Karl is laying down the law.

 
At 5/02/2007 3:20 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

J.R. POST BY SUNDOWN. SIT TIGHT.

 
At 5/02/2007 3:23 PM, Blogger johnny5 said...

I like how the warriors bring out all the music references, and not just any music, but music people like to DANCE to.

Meanwhile, all I can hear on the Dallas practice court is a tone-deaf Nowitzki singing along to Michael Knight. Yeah.

 
At 5/02/2007 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blindsiding and piledriving? Really? Seriously?

 
At 5/02/2007 4:35 PM, Anonymous fix_the_knicks said...

anon0217: In their last two playoff series, the Mavs are 4-7 against two teams that are/were incontestably less talented. 0-5 on the road, which is not a coincidence. So the refs gave DWade a couple of bs calls, and the Mavs just whined about it, and folded. Easy explanation: MENTALLY WEAK. Seriously, you want to debate that?

As I see it, that leaves two choices: blame Dirk, or blame Avery. And maybe there is some blame for Dirk. But every time they cut to Avery pacing around, looking like his head is about to explode... I mean, that's fine for when he was the starting point guard, but it's not exactly the portrait of loose confidence that you might see from Pop, or Riles, or PJ, or any other NBA champion coach that I can think of.

 
At 5/02/2007 4:36 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

wait, janis joplin and bun b are both from the same place?

 
At 5/02/2007 4:36 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

Speaking of the music of Warriors, an unexpected convergence has resulted in a Morris Day reference on today's Sartorialist post.

 
At 5/02/2007 4:43 PM, Blogger Glenn said...

>> Blindsiding and piledriving? Really? Seriously?

Terry lost the ball OB and Baron leaned over to get it. Terry possibly interpreted Baron's aggressiveness to inbound as some sort of attack, so with Baron focused on the ball, Terry grabbed him and threw him backwards towards the ground. Baron lay there for about a minute, which possibly could have been some acting, but there's no doubt that Terry still did this. The refs called a technical, but left him in the game.

 
At 5/02/2007 4:45 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

if i told you about east texas you would not believe me.

 
At 5/02/2007 5:05 PM, Blogger crazylegsjackson said...

I thought the Jackson ejection last night was gross, especially in light of the fact that they didn't toss Terry. The game was :08 from over. Did he deserve a T? Maybe. But maybe the NBA should think about restructuring the rules if sarcasm is a higher crime than battery.

 
At 5/02/2007 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's funny that Warriors fans are bitching about the refs now. Like they're getting screwed out of the NBA finals or something...

 
At 5/02/2007 6:04 PM, Anonymous styler said...

they had a play drawn up for melo and jr just hoisted it...i think the whole squad was pissed...of course, what if it woulda gone in? i hope he's not done in denver

 
At 5/02/2007 6:23 PM, Blogger Babydaddy said...

Anon 5:46--tossing a dude for clapping is different from the garden variety bad call. Mistakes are part of the game. Ejecting SJ was that other thing.

 
At 5/02/2007 6:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OH MY GOD... When did it become illegal for a player to clap during a game? That is three ejections in three weeks for in-game clapping going back to the Duncan-Crawford saga. If the refs are trying to stop players from clapping I wish they would tell the players so games can stop being affected by ejections due to this most benign of protests.

 
At 5/02/2007 6:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn skippy, this clapping = ejection bullshit ia retarded. The refs are coming across as insecure pussies.

 
At 5/02/2007 7:28 PM, Blogger Steve said...

emynd made a great comment. While it disappointed me to no end that the Mavs pulled it out, it was fascinating to see how the Warriors instantly turned from a pack of rabid wild underdogs into the 'overdogs' after going up by 9, with unfortunately logical results. It adds another layer of subtext to the series- the Warriors are just as humanly fallible too, after all. I don't even consider it a choke job as much of a momentary loss of identity.

The other observation that comes from Game 5 is that the Warriors are so simply bad (not bad meaning bad but bad meaning good), they can't win by being good, they can only seal the deal by continuing to be bad.

If the Warriors have a similar lead next game, Baron will not allow the Mavs to trap him. The only reason why they did force him to give it up, was because Baron was on his heels, trying to run time off the clock. If he counterattacks (as he will next time) he beats the trap, and suddenly its a 5 on 4 fast break and Beidrens dunks the ball to seal the series (even though he clanks the And-1.)

 
At 5/03/2007 12:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glenn is an idiot.

The S-Jax ejection was stupid, but I agree that he has to live with his rep.

Port Arthur isn't East Texas. And Jimmy Johnson is from there as well.

 
At 5/03/2007 12:52 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

how is port arthur not east texas? i live in houston, and if go east on I-10, i pass port arthur and beaumont before hitting the louisiana state line.

 
At 5/03/2007 5:46 AM, Anonymous GOsmokeaCUBAN said...

GSW does not have the pressure on them and they played that game in dallas which would have been hard anyway to play there but now there are back on homecourt with the loudest fans right now in the NBA....They have 2 games to try to win so that makes Dallas try to win 3 straight....If you didnt know GSW has ended their 17 game streak and have been beating them consistently for a couple years. There was a trade after the allstar break and they key players were injured and came back during this time. They ended the season as the hottest team in the NBA So, what would happen if they lost?

Mavs lost: Dirk gets the blame, People doubt him as a MVP if he selected, Avery could be let go, and alot of player changes for the next year.

Warriors lost: Lose the series, knowing you did good vs a top seed with 67 wins.

I wouldnt be sad if they warriors lost becuase this was an exciting series but I believe they will be on fire for Game 6 and send the Mav's packing ^^ GO Warriors !!

 
At 5/03/2007 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it's literally east of Houston, but that doesn't make it "East Texas". It's known as the Golden Triangle, and it most certainly is not East Texas. The Piney Woods region north of that is East Texas.

 
At 5/03/2007 11:05 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

this is the part where i admit that i still don't understand where dallas is in relation to houston, and that my girl has been egging me on here. she has conceded and feels like "a terrible texan."

wikipedia basically says that the golden triangle is sometimes lumped in with east texas, but either way the piney woods are the dominant identity of "east texas."

i like "golden triangle" much more, anyway. thank you for setting me straight.

 
At 5/03/2007 8:42 PM, Blogger Glenn said...

>> Port Arthur isn't East Texas. And Jimmy Johnson is from there as well.

That's an argument? I can't take your idiot charge seriously, considering the source.

 

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