Down nine with a minute to go against Denver, we believed. When Utah trounced the Nuggets, we believed the demoralizing would continue when the Rockets went to the Rockies. Even when T-Mac and Houston faltered, we believed the world has seen crazier things happen, and that an eight seed for the Warriors was still a possibility.
Monday night wouldn’t be the end to the season, we believed. There seemed like there was a gremlin swatting away the shots from the Suns as balls rattled in and out. Biendris swallowed boards like he was Moby Dick and the loose basketballs were the wayward sailors. Austin Croshere played like there was no tomorrow, which for him, there might not be.
Yes, we Warrior fans believed until the last minute of our squandered nine point lead that another miracle would take place, but it was not to be. The horn sounded and the season was over, with Don Nelson being the first to enter the tunnel headed to the locker room.
“But why didn’t Baron Davis play?” some Warrior fans squealed during the post-game exit.
I don’t know. Maybe Baron told Nellie during halftime that he lost the lead role in his next movie. Or maybe Baron brought out a razor at halftime and threatened to shave his beard if he didn’t get a contract extension.
In reality, Baron Davis may have been the only Warrior- player, fan, or otherwise- who did not believe Monday night. He moved like someone drunk off tequila in the first quarter, lackadaisically throwing up shots that barely caught rim. When benched for most of the second quarter, he diligently sat close to coach, towel over his knees, waiting for the call.
The call still didn’t come midway through the third quarter, and during a timeout, Baron slithered between Chris Watson and Matt Barnes at the end of the bench. The fourth quarter came and Baron didn’t know what to do with himself as he saw an inspired team come back from eighteen down to go up nine. Healthy all season, he hadn’t found himself on the bench this much since, well, ever. He threw himself on the floor like his counterpart Steve Nash did at the opposite end of the floor, except his reason for being on the hardwood was completely different than the man who beat him out for an all-star spot.
Forty-eight, possibly forty-nine wins is nothing to look down upon- it’s something to be damn proud of. We haven’t had that many wins since Run TMC in the early nineties. The Warriors still made playoff history- they became the team that won the most games but still missed the playoffs. There are plenty of positives to draw upon this year. As a Warrior fan that grew up in the “Skeptic Era” (’93-’06) I’d go as far as saying we may not see another year like it for quite some time.
The one thing that we as fans can be proud of this year is we believed. Now we have to resort to our old ways by throwing a draft party and believe that a late lottery pick can add some value to our team.
In with Budinger, out with Bellinelli.