Warriors beat Suns 113-112 as Curry, Green remind Durant of why it's good to be a Warrior
Ain't no party like a Golden State party cuz a Golden State party don't stopppp!
Hey HQ! Happy Sunday. I hope everyone’s doing well on this lovely weekend, and I also hope that you have a good time today whether you’re an excited 49ers fan looking to watch your team win the Super Bowl today, or a disgruntled Raider fan emotionally distraught that your two biggest opps (Niners and Chiefs) are playing the championship game in your stadium.
As for me, I’m just getting back into the Bay for the Super festivities. I was in Big Sur and then Santa Cruz all week, enjoying the fresh greenery after recent rain, and loving the coastal vibes that roll in from the Pacific Ocean and fill the nostrils of all those blessed to be there. It was the first time in my life I’ve been to Big Sur, and I had quite the relaxing time: massages, hot tubs, enough red wine to drown a bison.
It was a great reprieve from the hustle and bustle of being a corporate suit by day and blogboi by night; a chance to take in the beautiful nature of the California coast and let my mind wander down brand new palm treed avenues.
My favorite memory on the lil vacay was a visit the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz. As a Bay kid, I always saw those yellow Mystery Spot stickers on people’s bumpers in Berkeley and wondered what the hell it was.
Now that I’ve been there, I’m still not exactly sure. BuzzFeed explains the Mystery Spot is “a cabin built on a strange magnetic peculiarity that causes weird, seemingly physics-defying things to happen”.
What I personally witnessed was people were trying to stand up straight in a bizarre wooden fun house in the mountains but were leaning at Michael Jackson Smooth Criminal angles. The tour guide would roll a ball or pour water on a decline but it would somehow defy gravity and go UP an incline. How could something that looks like it’s going down actually be rising? Trippyyyyy!
Speaking of trippy, how about the fact that the Golden State Warriors just beat the hypertalented Phoenix Suns 113-112 ON A GAME WINNING STEPH CURRY BOMB?!
Lololol wait did Brandin Podziemski throw a magic curveball pass to barely escape Bradley Beal’s fingertips, and did Steph really just calmly twirl around and launch a game winner from THAT DAMN FAR AWAY?! Unreal.
That’s a huge win. It gives the Warriors their FOURTH victory in a row. And it comes against a Phoenix team that was red-hot coming into the contest:
It also is a nice way for the Dubs to exorcize some of the demons they encountered when they faced Phoenix in December. Don’t forget that was the contest that Draymond Green got suspended, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins were benched for terrible play, and it was the rookie Podziemski and third-year man Jonathan Kuminga who got playing time as Coach Steve Kerr desperately tried to stop the bleeding:
Of the Warriors’ five starters, only Curry made it to the final buzzer. Green was ejected in the third quarter for swinging an arm at Jusuf Nurkic. Wiggins was also benched in that fourth-quarter crunch time and often replaced by Kuminga in key moments throughout. In fact, Wiggins played just 15 minutes and was a minus-19, shooting 1-of-7 from the field along with three turnovers.
“It just wasn’t his game,” Kerr said. “That’s why I went away from him.”
Kevon Looney’s rough season tumbled even further with a scoreless five-rebound night in which he was a minus-13 in 12 minutes.
Thompson shot 2-for-10 from the field and 1-of-8 from 3 to finish plus-4 with five rebounds and seven points. Moreover, he was forcing shots to the point that Kerr would intercept him on his way back to the bench for a few reminding words. Thompson appeared to nod in agreement.
That’s why last night’s clutch win was a sign that this season is beginning to trend towards salvageable despite looking to the natural eye as if it were leaning into despair. DID THE WARRIORS JUST FIND THEIR MYSTERY SPOT OF THE SEASON?!
When Green was suspended indefinitely for a career of unsportsmanlike conduct acts that culminated in this Mortal Kombat slap on Jusuf Nurkic, there was legitimate concern as to whether Green’s career as we knew it was over.
We didn’t know whether the league would eliminate him from NBA competition forever, or. if the Warriors would trade him, or if he stayed with GSW as a neutered version of the snarling force he’s been. Remember when Durant said he hoped Green got the help he needs?
Thankfully Green is no longer banned, he’s still a Dub, and he’s still playing with a level of ferocious intensity that absolutely anchors the Warriors in grit and physicality. Just ask Nurkic!
Nurkic was not happy with Green’s approach to the game last night, per the Arizona Republic:
"It's sad,” Nurkic said after the game. “He didn't learn anything, man. Just a matter of time. He's going to knock somebody else again. Take everything back what I said. He don't deserve a chance."
Nurkic then was asked what makes him think Green hasn’t changed.
“Just his antics,” Nurkic said. “Try to hit people. The stuff he shouldn’t do, but I don’t care. At the end of the day, he tried to play that way. No one is worried about him. They got the win tonight. We’ll see what happens in a few games.”
Green tallied 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists on 7-of-9 shooting from the field, roaring at anyone who stood in his path. After his impressive performance, he had these words for Big Nurk.
The memory I’ll take from this game is Green’s frantic defense on Durant with less than a second to go to keep the superscorer from getting off a game winner…followed by Green screaming at him as loudly as he did all those years ago when he told KD on the bench that the Warriors were gonna win without him on the team.
Steph and KD in another instant classic
That game winning shot from Steph capped a night where he led the team in scoring with 30 points with 9 made three-pointers. He also added a team high 9 rebounds for good measure, as well as 6 dimes.
We can’t take for granted that on a night Curry shared the court with All-Stars like KD, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal, it was the Unanimous MVP Curry who was the best player on the floor.
I remember watching Curry take over games before against Durant when KD was leading Oklahoma City in an arms race with Golden State to see who would run the West almost a decade ago. Durant would shine throughout the contest, but in crunch time Curry would find a way to land the dagger to escape with the win.
When those two were teammates in Golden State, the entire league damn near gave up trying to compete. Durant’s 2019 departure from the Golden Empire after two championships and three NBA Finals trips in a row was a major reason the Warriors found themselves in the roster rehaul that netted them the 2022 championship and some new talent like Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga.
Durant was right when he said Draymond needed help. And speaking of Kuminga, it looked like KD needed some help when JK decided to attack him in the paint. LOOK AT THE YOUTH AND ATHLETICISM!
Kuminga finished the game scoring 21 points. shooting 9-of-18 from the field and snagging 5 rebounds. Hey, looks like there’s life after KD after all!
Klay Thompson did not close again, with Podziemski getting that opportunity. I would never call Podz a replacement to Klay, (you don’t replace one of the greatest scorers in basketball history). But he is an exciting, youthful supplement to Klay when the Splash Bro isn’t going nuclear. Klay was definitely not nuclear last night, shooting 2-of-10 from the field, 1-of-7 from beyond the arc in 24 minutes.
Rounding out the team, Gary Payton II, Wiggins, and Kuminga have to fill the roles as big men on this team in spurts. When there is a tough put back that needs to be muscled in, or a transition block, or a stonewall around the basket, somehow these guys have to come up with those plays more often than not to offset how small the Warriors roster is.
Last night they did that. GP2 was special on the court last night, reminding us of how much this season being wonky has to due with him missing extended time due to injuries.
Do you fear these Suns? I mean, they’re no joke. That dude Devin Booker is an absolute scoring machine. He scored 32 points last night on 11-of-21 shooting with 6 assists, and was giving Kuminga all he could handle with his cagy handle and shooting prowess.
Durant is one of the greatest players of all time, and Bradley Beal is capable of getting busy on any given night. But if the Dubs saw them in the playoffs, how worried would you be?
Anyways, Happy Super Bowl Sunday folks!