Warriors: Damnit, LeBron!
(originally written 5/21/21)
As a Warriors fan, obviously I should have been more clear.
Me, before the game: "If there is a higher power listening right now, and the Warriors/Lakers game is close at the end, I want (Warriors G) Stephen Curry at the three-point line, and I want nothing but net."
When the game-winning shot was launched with :58 to go in the 4Q, Curry was indeed stationed near the three-point line. So far, so good, right?
Problem was, he was out there unsuccessfully trying to contest a deep 3 launched by Lakers F LeBron James. That 3 eventually held up as the game winner.
40 hours after it happened, I still can't believe James hit that shot. I can't believe the Warriors, who were in total control of the game most of the first half, allowed Los Angeles to emerge victorious.
Basically, I can't believe the entire 4th quarter. And much of the 3rd.
I can't believe that Lakers F Anthony Davis, who's been his present size for quite some time now, is still like a newborn deer on the court. The dude fell down five frikkin' times during Wednesday's game. Including once right on top of James.
I can't believe the officials mistook one of Davis's clumsy falls for an offensive foul on Warriors F Draymond Green with 4:43 remaining in the 4Q.
I can't believe Golden State turned the ball over eight times in the 3Q alone, most of them unforced. On one of them, Curry found teammate Andrew Wiggins open under the hoop, only for Wiggins' hands to completely betray him. It led to a Davis lob on the other end.
As one publication put it, Warriors G Jordan Poole "tried to end LeBron James's career" with this dunk attempt in the 4Q. Sadly, the dunk missed, and James's career continued.
I can't believe Green didn't somehow score over the diminutive Lakers G Alex Caruso with 2:26 left in the 3Q. At the very least, he should have ended up on the line; not sure if blame lies with Green or the officials.
I can't believe Warriors F Kent Bazemore chose to shoot (and miss) a 3 rather than drive to the hoop with 2:58 left in the 3Q. Two Lakers were in the corner out of the play—one of them on the ground.
I can't believe I seem to be the only person in or out of Staples Center who noticed Davis throwing the tiny Warriors G Mychal Mulder aside to grab an offensive rebound and score a go-ahead 4Q bucket (93-91) for the Lakers.
I can't believe Green STILL tries to execute those hard bounce passes to cutters inside—they NEVER work and are usually turned over. Draymond: LeBron James can make those passes. You cannot. Stop trying!
I can't believe, after all the chatter about Curry's shooting struggles at Staples Center, he made 12-of-23 shots, including 6-of-9 from deep, and it still wasn't enough due to the 20 Warrior turnovers.
I can't believe that after the final horn sounded, the Warriors and Lakers hugged each other. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! You're supposed to be rivals. Act like it!
And I can't believe I actually called 95.7 The Game, the Warriors flagship station, and essentially told the entire San Francisco Bay Area to not worry about James affecting the game.
He didn't dominate, but he's clearly not the elderly gimp I'd mistaken him for.
In a good way, I also can't believe the officials (correctly) didn't call a flagrant on Green after his hard-but-clean foul on James late in the 4Q—after all, it's James and the Lakers, and I'm still used to the Dubs getting no breaks against that franchise.
Furthermore, I will never believe James, who has a history of creating storylines and setting himself up to be the hero, "saw three rims and aimed for the middle one" on his fateful 3. Mark my words—when James revisits this shot five years from now, he'll also have been suffering from a back bruise, whiplash, possibly headaches. Oh, and there will have been five rims instead of three.
As the Warriors gear up to play Memphis tonight with the #8 seed at stake, I'm still having difficulty shaking off their collapse in Los Angeles. They had held the Lakers to 33% shooting in the first half (including six blocks). They were 10-of-23 on 3's, including Curry's soul-crushing dagger over two Lakers to end the half. They only turned the ball over five times.
For 24 minutes, they did almost everything right.
And despite turning sloppier than a tuna chili melt in the second half, the Warriors still had a real shot at victory at the end.