5.04.2007

Something Else Altogether



(BASKETBALL IS NOW JAZZ. And I am exhausted. So you will have to make due with several different sizes of the same photo of Alan Shorter, who always makes me think of this night.)

You know what, this does change everything. Fuck pointing to the Suns, minimizing Dirk, or saying the Mavs lost this all by themselves. The Warriors took this one fair, square, and definitively, with Dallas floundering so often that it couldn't have been a function of weakness or rust. That could explain spells, but the tenor of this series was one team dominating another with a few pastures of relief. Sports fans, this is what happens when the league's best team is rendered helpless, when all its shiny devices and weathered hooks clank about aimlessly

Golden State toppled the best team in the league, one built to do absolutely everything right, by throwing everything out the window. It almost doesn't make sense to talk basketball theory in reference to their style, since it's operating on a level that a total novice gets as well as you or I. In fact, it's so simple and naive, it's almost revolutionary. Use athleticism, scoring, and bravura on both ends of the floor, like the way I've always said that Amare's blocks are an extension of his dunks. Basketball is now officially jazz: this is Ornette Coleman 1959 all over again, but with millions of dollars and headbands.



Anyone with an understanding of the recent Association knows that athleticism and hustle are generally at odds with each other. And that, speaking in cliches now, offense shacks up with the former, defense the latter. Of course this isn't true for individual stars, but across an entire roster it's exactly why modern roles have gotten so specialized. Nellie is able to play a bunch of crazed nether-ballers at the same time because he's convinced them to marry heaven and hell, to break down these walls that guide this day and age's basketball. It's hustle with a cocksure attitude, and brazen demonstration with the added credibility of hard work. The Mavs had no answer for the Warriors because this strategy goes against the very culture of the sport as currently constituted. Like the Spurs, the Mavs are reactive, set up to deal effectively with all known challenges. Those unknown unknowns, though, are the ones that'll get you.



The Suns were once sort of like this, and they were no match for the rationally-devised Spurs. If the Suns win a championship, it proves that Nash, Amare, Marion, Barbosa, Bell and the rest have just about everything on lock, and can get their uptempo on without a care in the world. What the far less stacked Warriors did, though, was like that '04-05 team: running all the time because they had no other choice, as if to mask their deficiencies. But that team lacked vision; they hid from their traditional weaknesses, rather than addressing them directly. Golden State, on the other hand, has found a way to turn the very question on its head. What the Warriors hath wrought isn't about personnel, it's about a state of mind.

If it seems like I'm going over the top here, it's because there's really no other option. The Warriors just pulled off the tallest upset in NBA postseason history, convincingly, by flummoxing a team designed to be perfect. For it to make any sense, there has to be a sea change happening here. There's no way to argue with this win. All that's left to quibble over is how many people will actually see it—and see the Warriors—for what it really is. This will never become a footnote, but it remains to be seen if anyone notices how far-reaching this accomplishment is.

83 Comments:

At 5/04/2007 2:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Possibly the most FreeDarko moment in the League's history. This is Miles Davis repeating "A love supreme" over and over again. I have a final at 8:30 and I don't even care.

 
At 5/04/2007 2:59 AM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

having a final at 8:30 is freedarko.

 
At 5/04/2007 3:04 AM, Blogger Colonel D. Williams (Ret.) said...

This is the SHAPE OF JAZZ TO COME.

The Warriors are the heart of a champion and the mind of a madman, which is the best way to describe Stephen Jackson. Though Davis is the MVP, Stephen Jackson is the Mario Elie on LSD - the guy who's been there, done that, won that, but with so much extra baggage, it's like he just got back from Vietnam. A hero, but one that's Seen the Elephant and you don't know what to think of him.

It's another way, its the Summer of Love all over again. Enjoy it while it lasts. When its over, we'll all move off to the country and try to figure out what just happened.

But as much as this moment is like pure jazz, the question remains - can they beat the Utah Jazz?

Answer me that young Bethlehem. The Utah Jazz are to Spyro Gryo as the Warriors are to Charlie Haden and the Liberation Music Orchestra. Good times. Good times.

 
At 5/04/2007 3:09 AM, Anonymous Rick Paulas said...

Even though I read this site almost daily, I've always had a problem whenever something was categorized as being "FreeDarko". I figured it was some grand concept like quantum physics; while I'm sure it makes sense to advanced minds, but my level of education was too small for me to comprehend it fully.

Not anymore.

With this past series, I firmly believe I understand the concept of FreeDarko. The Warriors have been Newton's apple, or Archimedes' bathtub; a concept so difficult to grasp is now simplified to the fullest. My life will never be the same.

 
At 5/04/2007 3:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Coltrane)

 
At 5/04/2007 3:20 AM, Blogger Lou said...

You killed it Bethlehem... I grew up in Berkeley, love the W's.

When I look in the mirror, I see...

This team is amazing.

 
At 5/04/2007 3:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How sad will this postseason be when we've seen Wade get swept in the first round, an 8th seed beat the number 1 seed, and the Suns looking healthy and powerful; and the Spurs STILL end up winning the championship. Shoot me.

 
At 5/04/2007 4:55 AM, Anonymous padraig said...

Fuck everything. The Warriors=the champions of basketball. It doesn't matter what happens to anyone in the rest of the playoffs. That hideous shriek in the background is the sound of Mark Cuban's mind imploding and shattering into a million pieces; meanwhile Stern laughs nervously as he contemplates a world hideous beyond imagination where of-all-people-Stephen Jackson ANNIHILATES his squeaky clean German MVP mind, body and soul.

The Warriors remind me of an idea I read either Mr. Shoals or Dr. LIC posit about the Nuggets some months back. Their roster is like a sick joke (to paraphrase the original, what is the punchline that follows Boom Dizzle, a 7 ft Latvian, S-Jax and a Morris Day backup dancer walking into a bar?) cobbled together to perversely mock the Mavs' flawless, beautiful construction.

I realized the essence of why I love Matt Barnes, grotesquely awesome style aside, tonight. You know QBs who have a propensity for throwing interceptions, that look they get right before they cut loose that says "you know what? #### it. I don't even care. I'm gonna throw this ball as hard as I can and it's going to be a touchdown or pick but even if it's an interception everyone is going to know that I threw the shit out of it" (rex grossman is the master of this). That is Matt Barnes as the world's most preposterous point forward, with unneccessary behind the back looks on fast breaks the lead to turnovers and rifled one-arm passes 40 feet through traffic to an endless parade of swingmen. That is the Warriors. They are hellbent and whether they crush you or fall flat on their faces everyone will know they did the shit out of it. Here's to a team that is equally like to win an actual NBA title or to be swept horribly be Mehmet Okur and lose 50+ games next year.

 
At 5/04/2007 6:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this shit is the truth. best breakdown of the game i've read all morning.

 
At 5/04/2007 6:41 AM, Anonymous Jason said...

As stunning as this victory is, it isn't against a team that was made to be perfect, to quote "do everything right".

The Mavs, if you recall, are short of a low post presence. Yes, the traditional Shaq-Duncan style low post presence. How different would the outcome have been if Dirk had a game down at the block?

 
At 5/04/2007 7:07 AM, Anonymous sinister dexter said...

there's a guy writing about basketball at huffingtonpost.com: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-elliott/well-its-over_b_47586.html
he's style is like a freedarko knock off. what's up?

 
At 5/04/2007 8:26 AM, Blogger Joseph said...

I can't believe that it took me so long to start coming to this site. You're so right about the GS being jazz... looks like they're just going out there doing whatever, a little improv here and there but jazz is more than that. it's about cool, even if people don't get it. I love the site. So original, creative, and intellegent...jazzy even. Keep up the good work.

 
At 5/04/2007 8:59 AM, Blogger Kirk Krack said...

my homey zizek would say this was just as much a case of Avery & co. being unable to deal with their "unknown knowns": the regular season record being a symptom of their expectation of failure in the playoffs; the playoffs as the "return of the repressed," with the added anxiety of stephen jackson figuring as the exact element that some hoops disciplinarian ("MY way!!") like avery or cuban (?) could never discipline. (this is the "smart" basketball blog so we can talk like this right?) qed the collapse was overdetermined and the mavericks had always already lost this series going into it.


anyway I hope all this gsw hype leads somehow to a widespread popularization of people ghostriding their whips.

 
At 5/04/2007 9:12 AM, Blogger Martin said...

You are right Anon 3:24, for the revolution to succeed Spurs basketball MUST be taken down along with their lite versions- the Bulls, Rockets, Jazz and Pistons. Anything less would only affirm the dogma that championship teams must be hitched to the yoke of the Larry fucking Brown 'Right Way' or live in the rarefied air of a Jordan/Wade/KBShaq 1-on-5 otherworldly superstar system.

Sadly majority of the teams left in the playoffs are apostles of either the aforementioned established principles as such odds are in favor of one of them winning the title. Unless one of the two surviving barbarians in the society- The Suns or GSW can rush the walls, yesterdays win will be relegated to a footnote. Demagogues of the establishment will point to the Mavs demise as evidence that they were not "right way" enough or that Dirk lacked the "Jordanesque" gene. The revolution will once again be smothered and the dictatorial structure of divvying championships amongst the Spurs, Wade and LBJ(destiny!) will be restored. Freewheeling basketball teams will return to their status as novelty acts ala the Harlem Globe Trotters or the And1 tour. Assembled merely to entertain the audience but with no discernible likelihood of playoff success.

 
At 5/04/2007 9:27 AM, Blogger Brother Joshua said...

not just jazz, classical music too, as seen through berlioz' "symphony fantastique":

baron's career pre-this year was the first movement. we were introduced to the theme.

the first half of this warriors season was the second movement. rising and falling, portraying a lonely soul (davis) amidst gaiety.

the end of the season when everything was coming together was the third movement. the artist (davis) and his beloved (the game) calling back and forth. movement ends with distant thunder (what we all were starting to recognize in the warriors near the end of the season)

this series was the fourth movement, a fevered dream, and last night was the end of that movement, the part everyone knows with the drumroll, beheading, and head (of the mvp and maybe nba as we know it) hitting the ground.

and the rest of these playoffs may very well be the fifth movement. spirits marching through the graveyard, church bells, the twisted beautiful vulgarity of the lover's (the nba's) theme.

the warriors are the new heavens and the new earth.

 
At 5/04/2007 9:34 AM, Anonymous therightwade said...

i know the crap out of warriors

 
At 5/04/2007 9:49 AM, Blogger Kyle said...

James Lipton would have trouble coming up with some of the grandiloquence in these comments.

On that note...If you haven't seen the Warriors Game 6, get it, watch it, put it in a lock box for one year, then watch it again. It is a performance so scrumtrulescent, I can barely move.

 
At 5/04/2007 9:56 AM, Anonymous westney said...

I don't think they have to win it all to validate this laboratory accident, they've already won what they needed to. The Suns - maybe... they were carefully crafted to win and most certainly can't be categorized as "organized chaos" as much as D'Antoni would love to. Yes we're all amazed at what they do, but we can see it coming. The players have roles, they're well-practiced and disciplined.

Not so with these Warriors. Every move is new, fresh, free. It's what happens when a student decides that they've had enough of what the teacher had to say and now they're going to think for themselves and they know its right. They work because we've never seen a team full of 6-8 guys who can all handle, drive, finish, shoot, rebound, defend 1-5 and help each other equally. Baron is the heart, Biedrins is the elbows.

Which brings me to my point. The future of basketball is expressed in the debate over Durant/Odom. Everyone says, "well if you want to win you take Odom." But this is a team full of Durant-style ballers** and they seem to be doing just fine. It's a new mold, and it really only works with chemistry, but then again, what championship team in any sport can win without chemistry?

** Not an actual Durant comparison per se

 
At 5/04/2007 10:24 AM, Blogger Martin said...

Westney, are right about the key difference between GSW and the Suns. With the Suns come with the inevitability of a Nash drive and dish to Amare for a dunk. I am constantly intrigued while watching these Warriors play. Aside from the defensive interchangeability you have described, on offense you can never really predict what they will do- will it be a 3 pointer from SJax, BD, Pietrus, Montay or JRich? Will it be a drive to the basket finished off with a thunderous dunk orchestrated by any off the previously mentioned players. Even their clinching victory stubbornly refused to adhere to any semblance of a script. It eschewed the increasingly familiar narrative of Baron Davis laying down the closing hammer in favor of the unexpected in SJax winning the game for GSW. The interchangeability and uncertainty of GSW's style is not only a must watch for any non-fascist basketball fan, it also makes it almost impossible for an anal Larry Brownish apostle to toil on devising a successful counter strategy.

However, my point is that an eventual Spurs championship will only reaffirm established system. The system that preaches- given the first pick in the draft, you take Oden if you want to win a championship and the multi-faceted Durant if your goal is to bring fans to the games.

 
At 5/04/2007 10:45 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

I've said this before, but now it can be said again: The next two weeks will determine the path of the NBA. You have the Suns-Spurs, and the Warriors-Rockets (possibly Jazz, but the Rockets would be more poetic). New NBA vs. Old NBA. Big man (Oden) vs. Swing man (Durant).

As for the signifance of this series - well, it proves that Nellie and the Warriors style can beat the 3rd best team in Texas. Anyone who brought into the hype of the Mavs as a legit contender failed to recognize what they really are - a jump-shooting team that still soft on defense after all these years, and lacks toughness in the paint. Getting out rebounded by a smaller team? More points in the paint for the Warriors? Not hating on the Mavs, but I never saw them as legit contenders.

The Warriors absolutely dominated this series. The dominated game 1, 3, 4, and 6. Game 2 was a referee-aided win for Dallas. Baron and Jackson ejections served their purpose, bringing publicity to the refs and forcing them to call the rest of the series straight, which they did (except for the end of Game 5, the two touch fouls on Baron, and Dirk hacking Jason Richardson on his three). So, aside from a monster 1st quarter in Game 5 (the rest of that game was all Warriors, up until the last three minutes), this series was ALL WARRIORS.

It wasn't even fair. You almost have to feel bad for Cuban and the Mavs, who are going to be called out this summer by the same media that incorrectly elevated them.

 
At 5/04/2007 10:59 AM, Anonymous zsnb said...

As much as I'm elated by the ridiculous upset we have all been witness to, I have trouble imagining what happens if, by some future confluence of luck miracle and skill GSW make the finals and play the Pistons (this is of course hinging on the belief that they can stop the truth that is Deng). Free Darko asks us to be an elevated fan, to cheer not based on regional or quasi-familial allegiance, but root for a team that satisfies our metaphysical desires. This I can do to a point. But if there is a matchup between GSW and D-town, between new and old... fuck it, I can't with good conscience root for GSW—no matter what it means for the future of basketball. Go Pistons.

 
At 5/04/2007 11:00 AM, Anonymous Taliesin said...

Last year, during FD's crusade against Wade, the Heat were the establishment. And a year later, the roles are reversed?

I'd hesistate to quantify Dallas as a paragon of "right way" teams. Yes they play defense, but every team has to be able to do that. Whatever "right way" stands for, I doubt running the jet as your one and a 7 foot jump shooter as your primary offensive weapon are part of that equation.

I love what happened in this series, and GS, their exuberance and will and their fandom are a symbol of what makes basketball great, but I'm hesistant to say we are now living in a world of "Heroes." Nelson hatched Dirk, raised him, and just ended him. He attacked his lack of "traditional" post up game. There is a disadvantage to being 7 ft on the perimeter. Take two shooter of equal talent, one 7ft another 6'6", and odds are the smaller man is going to be able to transition and get to the rack better than the big guy. See last year's finals, where Wade played big. Gs's trimuph was that of the Baron and His Merry Men; they played bigger than they stood, and the Mavs came up small

Now if we get GS/SA in the Conference Finals, then I will be waiting with bated breath, trying not to stare directly at the sun.

 
At 5/04/2007 11:04 AM, Blogger Joey said...

A few assorted SB thoughts to be blogged at a later time to be determined:

1) Dirk Nowitzki was not just a letdown and a non-MVP, but he wasn't even one of the five best players in the series. Those dudes would be Baron, Jackson, Pietrus, Howard, and Stackhouse (the only Mav who was unequivocally not scared). Dirk might even really have been something like tenth best: Richardson outplayed him; Biedrins outplayed him; Jason Terry outplayed him; maybe even Diop, who everted greater influence on the makeup of each game. Completely unreal, although somewhat unsurprising. I never thought Dirk would be this bad, but I also didn't think he was a top-five MVP candidate this season. He's just not a real leader.

2) You know whom you'd never want to go to war with? Devin Harris. He is like the talented-but-not-as-talented rich kid trying to front like he's something else but who ultimate goes crying to his mother when times get tough. He is not hard.

3) Harping upon the Mavericks' shortcomings is easy because they were a team that received so much coverage and were anointed as a favorite, but this was more about Golden State winning than Dallas losing. As this post says, the Warriors are playing in a way that was largely fictional before. In college, when one team is much more athletic than its opponent, it usually just tries to out-jump and out-run guys. But you can't do that in the NBA, because while Amare and Yao are vastly different, most guys are faster and stronger and bigger than even the best of the college players. Look at game four--the block that an older, bad-knee Stack put on Jason Richardson at the rim was a reminder that the NBA is just different than other basketball. So to be truly superior, you need the talent and the work ethic. Golden State made that happen against Dallas. And that is awesome.

 
At 5/04/2007 11:04 AM, Anonymous sleeperaxe said...

The Warriors are redemption. And ain't nobody don't love themselves a little bit of that.

You have a team led by men that are talented and flawed. Their talent is what makes them good, but their flaws are what make them great. Last night was glorious because Baron Davis' body gave out on him AGAIN, and he still dominated. Steven Jackson finally got himself the spotlight for something that didn't involve his fists. And Nellie, well he showed that insufferable prick Cuban who's boss. Cuban deserves everything he feels right now. The Warriors are redemption, and Cuban is karma. The bad kind.

 
At 5/04/2007 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow... Sorry... First time on this site... There is a place for a different view...

This series had it all, whether GSW fizzles or not. It was the pure joy of playing it right. This is sportsmen competition at its best. Sport for play, sport for fun… Celebration of liberation through sport…

I have had it with the "killer instinct"... “I am a robot, I am a washing machine.”

 
At 5/04/2007 11:13 AM, Blogger Brother Joshua said...

@Taliesin: you an architecture fan or a welsh poetry fan?

 
At 5/04/2007 11:14 AM, Blogger MC Welk said...

"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know." (Spyro Gyra)

 
At 5/04/2007 11:20 AM, Blogger Glenn said...

The Warriors are also Ramsey Lewis, anointed as a "midget" by so-called experts, and rallying to release "The In Crowd."

To all the Dallas fans who

...thought the Game 5 "choke" was the W's best chance and a turning point

...thought it was "funny" that W fans didn't like the lopsided officiating

...still think that Dallas didn't actually get beat but beat themselves

...thought the confetti after game 3 was worth mocking

...said the Warriors were a bunch of barbarians who would eventually fall the the might of true Dallas basketball

SUCK ON IT !!!! HARD !!!

 
At 5/04/2007 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darkofan: Fabulous composition. At the risk of going from the sublime to the ridiculous, it is important that the Warriors do well in the next round if the league is to make evolutionary progress. The orthodoxy that Freedarko shuns will read its own vidication into the result if they get swept in the next round. The Warriors have serious deficiencies. For all their fluidity and nerve, other than Baron, they have trouble working off the dribble and driving. Other teams play off them becasue they are so quick and look like threats off the diribble. Steven Jackson was fabulous , but he has moments when he can not competently put the ball on the floor. Nelson knows these things, Gundie may know these things , Popovich certainly knows that you can safley play up on the Warriors (assuming you can get back on defense fast enough). It will be interesting, and imnportant , to see what comes next.

Finally, Dirk is such a minority in context, that he really won't carry the ethnicity baiting some of the commenators try out in the last two pieces. His contribution is admirable. Imagine coming up in a place where the closest exposure you could get to urban American basketball was to watch the championship series on TV at 4AM. Freedarko is big enough to empathize.

 
At 5/04/2007 11:30 AM, Anonymous taliesin said...

@ Brother Joshua: def. the the poetry. Any association with flw is icing.

 
At 5/04/2007 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Joey: Just want to step in and defend Dirk here for a second. His numbers were not MVP-like; but he only had one truly horrible game, and he could've scored 40 last night and it wouldn't have really mattered. GSW were better. I'd say unequivocally that Baron, Jax, Howard and then maybe Stack outplayed him (if only on grit and determination - remember Stack brought little the first 3 games). But everyone else you listed had concerted effect on only a couple of games. Nowitzki still put up 20-10, he was just hampered endlessly by the Warriors D and (I'll say it) AJ's system.

IF YOU CANT POST UP SHOOT THE FUCKIN 3

-disgruntled mavs fan

 
At 5/04/2007 11:33 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Darkofan is on point:
important that the Warriors do well in the next round if the league is to make evolutionary progress.

Beating the Mavs was tremendous. But it proves only that the Mavs were beatable. For the Warriors to truly signify anything (a harbinger of change, the future, a new possible route, anything) they have to beat someone else, either the Rockets or the Jazz. Despite the Mavs > Rockets/Jazz, the reality is those teams are far more "traditional" than the Mavs. The are control the paint, hard defense types. Beat a team like that, and The Warriors = The Future is Now.

Get swept, and The Warriors = The Mavs Really Fooled Us, Huh?

 
At 5/04/2007 11:37 AM, Blogger V said...

There's not much left of the old west anymore. Just a few crumbling buildings...

I don't feel well this morning. Not at all. And it is not easy for me to stand tall, not easy to stand at all, in fact, against the incoming tide of Free Darko.

But I will. I will stand and I will wade out into the waters, knowing that as surely as the tide washes in, it will recede.

The Mavericks were my team. They were from my home. You might say that I loved them. I will not bring up the despair of my youth, watching those Mavericks in the early part of the last decade, for that matters little now. This is about this team, this season, this series.

The Mavericks stood for excellence. Perhaps we are all flawed but exuberant, striving for the unlikely upset, dreaming of shedding our shackles and toppling our greatest foe, especially if that foe is ourselves. If that is true (and it is), then Golden State is our team. Moreover, their freedom and their instability screamed out to us of potential. Not just the potential of our own greatness, however momentary, but the potential that the old ways CAN be cast aside and trampled by a revolution. And that is what is heralded on Free Darko - signs of revolution.

And yet... the Mavericks strived, but strived for something different. I see myself in them. They strived for perfection, and in their failing showed how unattainable perfection is. Some might say their failed quest was Sisyphean. And no glory will be noted in their struggle, since the rock they once pushed never reached the summit and is now tumbling down the mountain, gathering speed.

After all, the rock the Mavericks strained against was no virgin boulder. It has been placed atop mountains before. It is said that, at times, Michael Jordan sustained perfection for periods longer than thought possible in this modern era, where the air in the lowlands has grown almost too thick for legends to survive. But I could not relate to Michael Jordan. I was young and his victory seemed assured. These Mavericks tried to scale the heights in the real world, absent of legend, with victory all too uncertain. They risked everything this season. They answered the cries of their critics and the aching of their hearts with a run at the hallowed 70, where only Airness had tread before.

And, as happens to mortals when they leave their realm, they fell. That they were felled by a team that some say signals revolution is not the only tale here.

For when I look in the mirror, I do not see Golden State. I am not a wild talent, capable of blinding flashes of brilliance. I cannot fly, and my bouts of madness deal more with quiet despair than with explosive flamboyance. I am a human, though. A man who does dream of perfection and, occasionally, believes it is attainable. And in leaning out and reaching for it with oustretched arms, risking my balance, risking everything, I realize that I could topple, fall flat, and that the world would point at my fallen figure... and then move on.

 
At 5/04/2007 11:57 AM, Blogger Mehmet said...

Wonderful article. As a Mavs fan, I find solace in what you said. I feel I've witnessed something special, other than the biggest "choke "or "meltdown" in sports history.

 
At 5/04/2007 12:23 PM, Blogger Steve said...

I think we all see a little Golden State in us, that's why this series has been so compelling. When I look in the mirror, what I don't see is Dallas- a team of perfection, freakishly good 7-footers (Dirk), and an endless bankroll from a dotcom superstar.

Coming in to the series, all Golden State has was blind rage and emotion to play off- look at their season record, plus Dallas is such a good team that simply out-hustling them wasn't going to happen. This was far, far more. It was the ultimate 'play for the moment' (not even just 'play to win', or take it '1 game at a time'. They Warriors transcended even those common sports euphemisms.) The 3 minutes in which Golden State did not play for the moment was when they played for the win, played to protect the lead, and look what happened in Game 5.

I feel like I watched a championship series. I don't even care that much what happens next round, I'll savor this series for a long time.

BTW- Most of the games are available on Usenet. Not sure if it's legal or whatever, but it's not like we're going to get a DVD with full-length broadcast of all the games...

 
At 5/04/2007 12:26 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Finally, although I agree the long-term ramifications may depend on the next series, I really don't care. Any basketball fan worth his salt will smile fondly when he is reminded "But what about that Golden State series?"

I frankly wonder if it's even possible for Golden State to play this way for 82 games. It would take an entire team of Zen masters, or Stephen Jacksons, take your pick. Maybe it's possible, as long as they aren't TRYING to play this way.

 
At 5/04/2007 12:35 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

Avery--half dwarf, half mole--is a weight on the Mavs' shoulders, pouring lead in their ears and infecting them with the Spirit of Gravity.

The other idolaters of dead, leaden NBA gods can drive their divisions of zombified talents to victory through discipline and imagination, but I suspect that Avery lacks the latter. And each of their championships diminishes us all and the game.

 
At 5/04/2007 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow deep observations coming from the FD community. Talk about a series that was bigger than the boxscore, bigger than the individuals involved, and even transcended the game of basketball.

To add my $0.02 the labyrinth of elements at play- I will be late to the party and declare that the revolution is upon us. A GSW run to the title that goes through Houston, SA and Detroit will upend the political, economic and social hierarchy of the NBA. It will usher in hysteria of the car burning and store looting variety. Durant will vault to the top of Draft standings, Corie Brewer could find himself in the top 5, guaranteed contracts of lead-footed plodding big men like Dampier and Ilgauskas will show up on Craigslist and Ebay, Shaq will likely retire to avoid the disgrace of coming off the bench, swiss-army knife swingmen like Bonzi will court huge paydays despite character issues, a despondent Bill Walton will be found curled in the fetal position intermittently muttering “throw it down big man!, throw it down big man!" and staring out listlessly into the heavens.

Unfortunately the likely outcome is that Tim Duncan will step in to restore order in the basketball universe with SA giving GSW a Denver-like agonizing 5 game-sweep. It will be iced off by Greg Popovich submitting an IRS approved chronological itemized receipt of all the defensive and offensive plays used to dispatch GSW- from Duncan's opening bank shot to the closing 3 point dagger from Horry. For good measure and mostly spite he will submit it prior to the start of the series.

 
At 5/04/2007 12:54 PM, Anonymous cmg said...

I need some counseling. I've never been more confused than I am right now. Although the Suns are still my team, I'm questioning why they are.

Watching the Warriors over the last two weeks brought me back to 2004-2005. That Nash/QRich/JJ/Marion/Amare team was my first true love, for obvious reasons. Then to last year's Amare-less squad, which was nearly as enjoyable. Those teams made me feel like it was us against the world.

I'm almost guilty to be a Suns fan now. Although their pace is still the same, there's a lot more structure to it. Even with Amare playing like he did two seasons ago, things just seem too polished. It feels like the chaos is gone. They're getting calls that make me cringe. I could go on.

I wish I could say the Warriors were my team. Their style is the one I long for. I want to be an underdog again, telling the rest of the league to fuck off. What the hell was I hoping for all this time with the Suns? Their chances are as good as anyone's to win the title this year. But I want less.

I feel like I have so much more to say, but I can't find the words to say it. Help me reconcile my feelings.

 
At 5/04/2007 1:02 PM, Blogger ck said...

THE EFFECTS OF GLOBAL WARMING AT THEIR FINEST!

 
At 5/04/2007 1:24 PM, Blogger Steve said...

I don't think playing Golden State Warriors basketball means getting certain players or having to even play a particular style, I think it's much more a state of mind.

And I think you can make an
apt comparison to the Suns (as cmg's comments.) The Suns are now an established NBA team, and play that way. Is that good or bad? The Warriors will not win more games in the regular season than the Suns next year. But if they meet in the playoffs next round, I might bet on the Warriors. Because they willingly play with, even toy with that element of risk, whereas with the Suns now they have the burden of expectations, MVP awards, etc. Even their very style of play has placed expectations on them- why aren't they as exciting as the Warriors? Can the Suns laugh in the face of danger like the Warriors, or do they have too much to lose now?

For all the talk about changing the game, much of this might go away if Stephen Jackson (career 33% 3PG) didn't go 7 for 7 beyond the arc in that crucial stretch.

But the more important point is that he did make them. And most of us basketball fans are happier for it, because it was all just so damn fun to watch.

 
At 5/04/2007 1:29 PM, Blogger Pooh said...

We've still not really hit on the thing that makes these GSW, this team, that series so special. This was real basketball, in front of real fans. Not to go Simba , but fuck it, I got there first anyway.

This was Baron saying "fuck you hamstring, me and my beard are getting to the cup because Jason Terry and Devin Harris have nothing." S-Jax kept checking heat. Matt Barnes! And not just the exclamation point facial, but the play in the first quarter when he made the one hand save bullet-pass out top for Jason Richardson (flinging DAGGERS all series long).

This was the anti-Larry Brown. 5 guys just playing ball, with no set pattern, yet it all makes sense. (JAZZ!)

And this was in front of an audience who appreciated the just ballin they saw. People who knew enough and cared enough to cheer at all the right times, like knowledgeable soccer fans cheering the 40 yard run to turn a corner into a throw-in. Massive ovations for Bierdrins free throws. Fat Cats in the front row jumping around like idiots just like the schlubs in the nosebleeds.

Having been to many games, playoff games even in the modern, prepackaged, sterile NBA, I've very rarely watched a game and said "I wish I was there." 3,4 and 6 made me want to be there. I'm not sure there's a higher compliment one can pay to an event.

Suns-Warriors conference finals would be like "Muddy and the Wolf" on Chess wax, but for 7 nights in a row...

 
At 5/04/2007 1:30 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

cmg--my thoughts on what this means for the suns are in my suns/spurs preview. that should be up on deadspin in a few hours.

oh, and i know we're done with that ref thing, but this here is a solid take on it.

 
At 5/04/2007 1:32 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

On a less poetic note, I'm tickled that dude who threw some shots in a strip club parking lot is the NBA flavor of the hour. It's totally ABA, only more substantive.

 
At 5/04/2007 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve if you wish to throw out anomalies in individual performances, it would only be fair to include the 12 points Dirk scored from jumpers off frostbitten hands in Game 5. If his series form had held the Mavs would have been out in 5 with no need for aberration of Steven Jackson's three point shooting.

On another point- I think the biggest move the Mavs passed on this season was adding Iverson. He was available for cheap and could have been got for a Jason Terry, Devean George package or some any other combination outside of Dirk, Howard and Harris. It seems like these Mavs just needed a guy with the gonads to go 0-28 and still demand the ball. A relentless leader for the rest of the team to follow. A guy that does not think about what the defense is giving him rather what he wants to do. A guy that can counter a cold-blooded three pointer from Davis. Plus the Mavs outside shooting would really open up the lane for AI. But I cant blame them for passing on him- they were after all they had the leagues best record at the time.

 
At 5/04/2007 1:49 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

pooh--couldn't agree more about the fans. it wasn't just that they were hungry for success--they actually GET this team. i keep thinking about something kevin a. wrote on slate a while back about the clippers then being "hip."

as much as we hear about who buys the season tickets, appealing to the mainstream, etc. this was proof that you can actually pack an arena with paying customers with a god-like sensibility. maybe it's a function of that wacky bay area, but it's heartening as someone constantly being reminded of the league's "image problem"

 
At 5/04/2007 2:28 PM, Anonymous sinister dexter said...

what about this ... the round 2 dialectic:

new school/old school
ofence/defence
wrong way/right way

warriors vs. jazz/rockets is the primitive version, spurs vs. suns is the refined version.

Thus, the dialectic for the conference final is set as primitive vs. refined.

 
At 5/04/2007 2:53 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Steve: "I think we all see a little Golden State in us, that's why this series has been so compelling. When I look in the mirror, what I don't see is Dallas- a team of perfection, freakishly good 7-footers (Dirk), and an endless bankroll from a dotcom superstar".

Exactly. To add to this, does anyone else notice that there's a certain redemptive quality to this team? Baron Davis (the forgotten superstar), Jason Richardson (the high-flying dunker with little to no recoginition from the MSM), Stephen Jackson (the outlaw), Monta Ellis (the 2nd round draft pick), Matt Barnes (barely in the league last year), and Don Nelson (the unorthodox coach who's been called a "mad scientist") all had reputations to either make or restore in this series.

 
At 5/04/2007 3:01 PM, Anonymous MaxwellDemon said...

Metafour:

1) the Warriors are punk rock and the NBA is the 70's "classic" rock establishment; the Mavs are Led Zeppelin and Dirk is a double-necked Gibson SG

2) 300: Baron is Leonidas, Oakland is the Hot Gates, Cuban is Xerxes, the Mavs are the Immortal and Dirk is that giant bald guy they keep chained up (note: happier ending than in film)

3) Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge: this whole season has been a dream for the Mavs, who actually died in game 3 of the finals last year

4) Per Sean, above, the Warriors are Season 1 of the Wire: redemption for a group of misfits and castaways. Baron is Lester Freamon, Nelson is Daniels. Stephen Jackson is McNulty.

This is some imagination-capturing shit here.

 
At 5/04/2007 3:16 PM, Blogger Black Crow Screaming said...

Whoever said it above was correct.

The Dallas Mavericks died when they were up 13 points in Game 3 of the NBA Finals last year.

This is what I thought about last night as I drove home at 2am, bleary eyed, half-drunk... a tragic figure looking for an accident.

I didn't find one, and the night's only crash was that of the Dallas Mavericks. My hollowness was angry and bitter, but I felt like something had been lost long ago.

When Steve said that he did not see the "perfect" Dallas Mavericks, I counter: read my above post (listed as "V"). The Mavericks were not perfect. They tried to walk the tightrope with no safety net and they fell.

Golden State is not the symbol of a new world order. What they have is fragile, and if I weren't a Mavericks fan I would probably find it beautiful.

They will do one thing that is often found beautiful, however:

They will die young.

 
At 5/04/2007 3:18 PM, Blogger Brigham said...

As a Warriors fan and punk music fan, I am in heaven right now. This series exemplified, IMHO, why punk is great, and the path to redemption for the NBA. I'm talking true punk, in-your-face, exuberant, positive, everything hangs out, fuck the establishment, give it your all, punk. That is the Warriors. I don't care how far they go, even though it would be a true revolution should they take down a Utah/Houston-Spurs-Detroit type sequence. Just that fact that these games happened, that this series happened, that it COULD happen, that punk is alive in Matt Barnes' hairdo and tattoos and fuck-everything attitude, in Stephen Jackson finally finding a home, in Baron Davis becoming a savior, in an arena that has REAL, passionate basketball fans , against the one of the ultimate established-constructed team, against the longest odds...I can die happy. The world is good. The world is great.

 
At 5/04/2007 3:36 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Hey crow,

I get your point. I guess it's just a bit inverted in my perspective. It's not that the Mavs are 'perfect', but they are the Establishment to me, the face of the NBA elite (67 wins...1 more and they wouldn't have even had to face the Warriors.)

But yes, your viewpoint is just as sensible, especially from a Mav fan's standpoint.

The other incredibly fascinating footnote to the series is that home game in Dallas in which Dallas rested all of its starters. One of the TNT commentators suggested that the Mavs pulled their starters for fear of losing the game and losing a mental edge to the Warriors. If there is any truth to that at all (and there might be given that the Mavs would definitely have preferred to play the Clips in Round 1), then they had already lost whatever mental edge they were seeking to protect.

Finally, shoals mentioned the Clips of a few years back. Man that 2001 team was so fun to watch, not unlike the Warriors now. The average age of their starting lineup was under 21, they had all sorts of weird lineup in which Darius played almost every position, yet they really gelled in the second half and played better than anyone could have expected. I was lucky to go to about 12 games that year. Dunks, dunks, and more dunks...(their ad campaign.) Good times. Stick the current Baron on that Clipper team, and boy they'd be fun to watch.

 
At 5/04/2007 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, so in essense, the Warriors were more like the barbarians, who invaded Rome, by just being so disorganized and chaotic, the Romes organization which had been it’s strength was not it’s weakness.
This is like what happened in Iraq now, the rebels are so chaotic and disorganized, but the US is so precise and pinpointed, has the best military, weaponry ect (like the Mavs)… But we lose (depending on who you ask) because they are not afraid to die, they actually embrace it. Whereas we want our soldiers to come home with no injuries or deaths. One can never win a war with that mentality.
Same as in baskeall, sometimes teams get so used to playing “coachball” they forget ball is just ball, just go out and hoop, dont be scared to miss shots, run the floor, take them threes, talk trash, hang on the rim.
I been saying for years “coachball” is whats killing the league, not thuggish behavior on and off the court, no one cares, just play ball man, screw the coaches, they dont need em anyway. All they need is someone to divide up the minutes, other than that just hoop man!!!
The Warriors have that mentality, thery dont care if they die, they just gone battle, they dont feel pain, they dont feel pressure. They just hoop!!!

 
At 5/04/2007 3:57 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wouldn't be the greatest thing ever if the Warriors and Suns meet in the Conference Finals? It wouldn't even matter who won; just the thought of those teams playing against one another in a seven game series would be enough for me.

 
At 5/04/2007 3:58 PM, Blogger Nate said...

As usual, great post by my main man from Bethlehem.

Not to burst y'alls bubble, but I don't think this victory means anything on the grand Scheme of things. I still think Duncan and the Spurs are going to roll over anyone that they face. I always throw out these numbers, but think about this:

Since 99, Shaq or Tim Duncan have been in every single NBA Final. And since that time either Shaq or Tim Duncan has won 7 of the 8 championships. And the Pistons, the only other team to win, also had a SOLID low post presence. How long have we been talking about this style change in the league? Seriously, three years now? Shit ain't changed. Shaq and Duncan are still playing toss with the Larry O'Brien trophy. Does anyone in here really think that the Warriors or Suns has any chance to beat the Spurs? Be honest with yourself. There's no way in hell that is going to happen. Not as long as Jabbar #2 is rolling like he is right now.

In regards to Dirk, I'd like to say this: Dirk didn't fight for position the entire series. It's obvious he doesn't like playing physical. Seriously, look at any of the lowlights of Dirk from the series. You see him try to get position, and as soon as someone tries to root him out he just gives up. And this was against single coverage by guys much smaller than him. Now watch a highlight of Rasheed Wallace or Tim Duncan on the block. Those guys fight all day and all night for position. Rasheed and Duncan are capable of going out on the perimeter, just like Dirk is (Rasheed being a tad better than Duncan). But believe me, if you try single covering either of them with a smaller person, they are going to make sure they take advantage of that. That's just basic basketball. I mean, put a smaller man on Kobe, what does he do? Post him up. Try that shit on KG, what's he gonna do? Post em up. T-Mac? Look what he's been doing to D-Fish everytime he's matched up with him. Larry Bird? He wouldn't stand for that shit either. That's why I wrote this post:

http://nba-gossip.aolsportsblog.com/2007/02/28/stop-comparing-white-guys-to-larry-bird/

 
At 5/04/2007 4:34 PM, Blogger crazylegsjackson said...

Past performance not a guarantee of future results. If you really think the Spurs will roll the rest of the field you should call your bookie b/c they're 5-1 right now. Times done changed, and it has as much to do with the aging process as the Suns' and Warriors' resurgence. I'm going to have to seriously consider getting LP for the first time next year, so I can witness evolution in action.

Did anyone else think the Voltron of the Far Universe was way more exciting when the GoLions were broken up? I always dreaded the convergence, b/c the impending victory was a routine sword-slash or chest-beam away from victory. Perfect execution, if you will. Voltron = Shaq/Duncan teams, Lions = Suns/Warriors. I wanted to put Nuggets but I can't figure out what the fuck that team is anymore.

 
At 5/04/2007 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Mavs fan, I agree with the poster that said they found some solace in this. Very well written.

But I’d also like to defend Dirk too. The league, if it is in the midst of Shoal’s revolution, is only a decade or so removed from the mid 90’s Knicks-Heat style wars of attrition. How did we get here, to the point where we’re talking about letting the conventional basketball wisdom we all grew up on completely fall on its sword? Dirk has to be a key cog. The prototype of a seven-foot gunslinger who fires away from all over the court was forged in the fires of Jeff Van Gundy’s own personal hell.

Not just his own style, but the influence he radiated. How different would Nellie (for whom Dirk must have come from some oasis) have made those Mavs teams of just a few years ago be without him to build around? And if we extrapolate that, how different would these Warrior teams be if Nellie never got that experience? How different would Steve Nash be? The Suns? The way we evaluate forwards/big men/floor spacing/the cosmos in general? If the Warriors are the Birth Of The Cool’s west coast jazz, Dirk is bee-bop’s Dizzy Gillespie; the essential evolutionary predecessor.

Avery, God love him, came in and installed a very inorganic Spurs/Poppovich/Classical “traditional” system: Speilberg’s three act structure over Goddard’s outlines and jumpcuts. To quote Shoals over on the AOL blog, the irony of Dirk playing this system and losing to this team not playing any system is “not for the faint of mind.”

 
At 5/04/2007 4:50 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Crazy Legs: I'll be the first to admit I'm wrong if the Spurs lose. But don't forget to come talk to me about revolution after the Spurs hold the Suns under 100 in every game of their series. Lakers knew the blue print to beating the Suns, but the Spurs actually have the weapons to follow through with it. Seriously, did the Nuggets and their high octane offense score reach 100 once against the Spurs? Didn't think so. I mean if the Lakers were able to hold the Suns under the century mark twice in their series, you better believe the Spurs are going to be able to do it every game. Except unlike the Lakers, the Spurs are a complete team that will win every game that Suns fail to score 100 in. And who's guarding Duncan in that series? At least the Nuggets had Nene to guard him and Camby to come help out. Amare is a good help defender, but a terrible one on one defender. He's more concerned on making sure he doesn't get in foul trouble than he is in actually playing D. And they better not even try putting Boris Diaw on him. I think the results are going to be the same as the they were in 2005.

 
At 5/04/2007 5:17 PM, Blogger nick said...

Can someone please explain to me why we continue to call this "the greatest upset in NBA postseason history?" Are there greater upsets in regular season history? Preseason?

I think "greatest upset in NBA history" should suffice.

 
At 5/04/2007 5:24 PM, Anonymous Adam Adam said...

can i get some plazas of dreaded predestination (PODP) for the Warriors. TenQ

 
At 5/04/2007 5:25 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

I played JV hoops with a kid named "Adam Adam." Unfortunately, I think it was some immigration paperwork mistake. He was Somalian.

 
At 5/04/2007 6:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK - I'm apparently the last person in the world to know it's raining (game), because this is my first investigation of FreeDarko. Thank you, thank you, thank you; even if I weren't a lifelong Warriors fan, the level of knowledge and insight and poetry being dropped here is unsurpassed.

On to my own thoughts, for whatever they're worth:

This Warriors team is not the second coming of the '04-'05 Suns; they are in fact a different beast in one extraordinarily important area. Those Suns showed what unsurpassed athleticism and basketball joie de vivre could do on OFFENSE, but they did not press their strength on the defensive end the way these Warriors have over the last 25 games. If there is really a revolution taking place here, it's not the "that's so crazy it just might work" insanity of Matt Barnes pulling up for three on a fast break with no one under the basket for the rebound; it's the way the Warriors defended Nowitzki. It's the way that every time someone on Dallas got hot (Josh Howard, Jerry Stackhouse, even Devin "Neil Patrick" Harris), they were suddenly erased from the game without a trace. If anyone saw the way the Warriors completely nullified and voided Yao in Houston a few weeks ago, they'll know exactly what I'm talking about: Phoenix has shown what sheer athleticism can do for offense, but these Warriors are forging a new path on the other side of the ball.

And part of the reason that they're able to do this--aside from the fact that they're all long, strong, and quick--is that these Warriors have a special chemistry that almost belies any sort of larger-scale revolution. The way this team communicates on offense and on defense is truly remarkable; and anyone who has followed them during the course of this season knows that, 1-12, this is an incredibly tight-knit group. I'm not going to say that they're unique, or that this chemistry can't be duplicated; but I must say that it is impossible to overestimate the importance of this cohesiveness to the way the Warriors are currently playing and winning.

To bring things full circle and back to the jazz analogy: there have been plenty of great bands on paper, but there is something that sets apart the greatest ensembles, and it is not pure chops but rather kinship and communication. It's the way the second Miles Davis Quintet or the crew that made "Ascension" pushed each other to the limit, forcing their fellow musicians to constantly elevate with each passing solo. It's the way Chris Potter and Robin Eubanks from Dave Holland's band can each solo at the same time, and yet somehow listen to what the other is playing and comment on it in realtime. Yes, these Warriors are improvisation and freedom; but they're also a perfect paradigm of a group of musicians absolutely in step with each other, picking up on every subtlety and building it all into something that is truly greater for the unification than for the individualities.

Much love to this blog: I'm hooked.

 
At 5/04/2007 6:50 PM, Blogger PANGER said...

BASKETBALL IS NOW JAZZ

And with that, Shoals, you become the André Leon Talley of roundball crit.


Great piece.

 
At 5/04/2007 7:04 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

How ironic that the team called the Jazz is the least-FD team in the league. Only they're not, and will continue to be hated into BS' heart.

 
At 5/04/2007 7:31 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Brigham: "As a Warriors fan and punk music fan, I am in heaven right now. This series exemplified, IMHO, why punk is great, and the path to redemption for the NBA. I'm talking true punk, in-your-face, exuberant, positive, everything hangs out, fuck the establishment, give it your all, punk."

Warriors = Sex Pistols

 
At 5/04/2007 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darkofan: The commentators expect Freedarko will use: "I'm not trippin' " soon.

 
At 5/04/2007 8:07 PM, Blogger T. said...

These are the Armies of The Night. They are 100,000 strong. They outnumber the cops five to one. They could run New York City. Tonight they're all out to get the Warriors.

 
At 5/04/2007 8:55 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

I wondered how long it would take for The Warriors references to come out and play ...

 
At 5/04/2007 10:35 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Nets fans suck.

 
At 5/04/2007 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone really want to watch Nets/Cavs?

 
At 5/04/2007 11:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get it. Does this mean people still watch NBA basketball? Making a big deal out of one post season series in a sport that has become so marginalized seems downright silly.

 
At 5/04/2007 11:45 PM, Anonymous amphibian said...

Much has been made of the Warriors and their commitment to defense, but one question reared its head in my mind: why aren't other teams playing defense with a similar intensity?

I see Golden State as the Tenth Legion of Julius Caesar. Their belief in the cause has raised themselves up to a higher level, allowing the conquest of Gaul/Dirk.

Sadly, the Tenth Legion lost to Augustus at the Battle of Actium. Duncan + Western Conference Finals = Disbandment.

Anyone know why the Word Verifications are now like 8 letters long?

 
At 5/05/2007 1:19 AM, Anonymous Josh. said...

An opinion: The sports columnists in the NY Times, SI, SF chronicle and just about every other paper I've ever read could only wish to write as well as what I'm reading on this site. FD = Pulitzer? Then at least a gold star or a happy face sticker.

A fact: Austin Croshere played with more fire than anyone on the Dallas roster.

A warm fuzzy: Having grown up in the East Bay - with childhood memories of RUN TMC, Terry Teagle, Tom Tolbert playing the original point forward, my Manute Bol growth chart- I can, today, look someone square in the eye and say that I am a Warriors fan.

 
At 5/05/2007 3:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Warriors were playing Brazilian soccer.

The Mavericks were playing American soccer.

 
At 5/05/2007 7:41 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

Anonymous: "I don't get it. Does this mean people still watch NBA basketball? Making a big deal out of one post season series in a sport that has become so marginalized seems downright silly".

WTF? So should we be talking about really important shit like the NFL Draft and the first month of the baseball season?

I'm sorry; this is a basketball site. If you want to hear about baseball and football, go and watch Sportscenter or something. Lord knows they spend about 90% of their time talking about those two sports anyway.

(And by the way: marginalized according to who?)

 
At 5/05/2007 7:07 PM, Anonymous el dorado sunrise said...

Something that just occured to me: does this mean that a team like the Warriors, and not the Spurs or Jazz are the ultimate built-for-the-playoffs team? Here we have a team of all undersized dudes with a short bench that must play at a hyper-freakout pace at all moments of the game to keep up on defense and run their full-court offense. This is a pace impossible to keep up for 82 games (which is why some columnist wrote in the Daily Dime two days ago bout how the Warriors played real lazy D against the Hawks late in the season), but that so far (sorry if I'm jinxing it) has been highly successful in the playoffs. If the playoffs is (are?) about caged brilliance sustained over a shorter period, why shouldn't all teams play like this?

(This might have been argued already. I quit reading after about comment 724.)

 
At 5/05/2007 11:02 PM, Blogger Doug said...

real talk, all of it.

i especially appreciate what padraig said about barnes.

 
At 5/06/2007 1:46 AM, Blogger Brian said...

Myriad thoughts:

1. Interesting dynamic created by BS's essential observation and the fact that Jazz embodied are playing the Jazz, a team that, in so many ways, are the least deserving of their name. And yet...who really thinks that the Warriors can prevail against Utah?? I wanted T-Mac to prevail for personal reasons, but watching Houston being forced into the same "Ok, let's make it a three point contest" game that the Mavericks foolishly volunteered for would have been not nearly as interesting. For the Warriors to be truly deserving of the title of "Jazz", then they would have to show that they can improvise for real - the Mavericks being the one key and beat that they have practiced soloing over time and again. Houston would have been them playing in the key of B after Dallas's Bflat...let's see if they know their scales in F (Utah).

B. Despite the immense wonderfulness of GS's play, I found myself really disappointed that the Mavs didn't advance. Part of it was just because I hated the Heat SO MUCH for what happened last year that only a Mavs victory would have erased that bitter feeling...and partly because I don't think it is fair to try to shove Mavs into the "boringly dominant" box that the Spurs live in. I don't think you can boil it down to old way/new way. One of the "older" ways, though, is where each position plays to the stereotypical position strength - general PG, couple shooting options, bigs that play D...etc. But Dallas isn't that - they weren't designed to be perfect as in one cohesive machine where everyone works together for one cohesive goal (like the Spurs), they were designed to give a cornucopia of options. They don't really fit together in some beautiful whole; they are all just really different parts each with a strange assortment of strengths, like a fantasy basketball team, but a really GOOD one. What was ironic about the GS victory is that the Warriors are in some ways the same - a bunch of pieces that don't really fit together in any necessary or intrinsic ways. The difference is that instead of having different roles, they basically all have the SAME one (how that breaks down depending entirely on context, which was the breath-taking genius of it all). Maybe it is a small difference, but a big enough one to explain why I love Dallas and hate the Spurs.

3. Aren't the Pistons (which probably has a better chance of being champs than any other single team at this point) another kind of Jazz? As I watched them dismantle the Bulls...I thought about how I've always adored watching them play, yet so many others seem to hate it. I find nothing boring in the unique ways the Pistons can impose their will on an oppontent...and it isn't because they're finely tuned, it is because they MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. The way they board, and steal, and crush the opponents offensive schemes, creates offensive opportunities that are unique every time. It isn't the rote forumula of "Duncan - good post position? Y = score. N = pass to Parker. Open lane? Y = score, N = pass to open three point shooter". I will content that the Pistons are just as good at improvisation (if not more so) than the Warriors team we've seen the past few weeks, even if it is a slower, darker, moodier kind.

 
At 5/06/2007 3:37 AM, Blogger Ben said...

Just to make you all jealous, I was at games four and six.

And, simply as a means to put what the Warriors have done in context, imagine that two months ago, this was a team that could play neither offense nor defense effectively. They were terrible. Also, try to imagine that a little over a year ago, this was a team perenially stuck in NBA lottery hell--poorly coached and untalented enough to miss the playoffs, but proud enough to not tank the final two months of their season.

My point is this: whatever the Warriors have accomplished now, it's fleeting. The sensation that I have now--an understanding that this series was MORE than simply the greatest upset in NBA history by the numbers--could be gone tomorrow. What makes this team so alluring is the authenticity of their intensity coupled with their all-too-human fragility. Unlike all of the remaining teams in the playoffs, the Warriors are a team of the moment, fused strongly by the bold passion of redemption (a fantastic analysis brought up several times already).

Yes, the Warriors represent the way basketball should be. They are unpredictable, fast, passionate, talented, and fearless. But recognize also that this team might have been the last chance for everyone involved to do right, and I'm not sure what the Warriors are doing now can be reproduced (not even by the Warriors in 2008). In all likelihood, Baron breaks down sometime in the near future (either sometime later in the playoffs, or next season), and the Warriors fall apart and become a team capable only of grasping in futility at what they've now accomplished.

Don't get me wrong--I'm in love with the Warriors and have been since I was a kid, and seeing them reveal what basketball was meant to be in the last two months has been the pinnacle of my basketball fanhood. But remember that almost always, glimpses of the true essence of anything are brief. Enjoy this Warriors team while it lasts.

 
At 6/20/2008 8:43 AM, Blogger Clare said...

hi....nice site, keep  sport forever

 
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