Warriors continue title defense after dispatching Kings in 7 games
The Beam has been seized! I repeat, THE BEAM HAS BEEN TAKEN FROM SACRAMENTO!
Ahhh, how sweet it is to wake up knowing Domantas Sabonis can no longer legally dribble a basketball in an NBA game until next season.
Yes, the Golden State Warriors have done again what they’ve done so many times during their reign over the NBA, and that’s win a Western Conference playoff series. Did you know the Dubs have never been eliminated by a Western team in the playoffs under Coach Steve Kerr’s firm leadership?
And only three times have they been pushed to a climactic Game 7 out West, once each to Kevin Durant’s Thunder, James Harden’s Rockets, and now Malik Monk’s Kings. They’ve been victorious in all three of those contests, including Sunday’s 120-100 beatdown to dispatch the Kangz out of the playoffs.
I noticed in the buildup to this elimination game that there was a lot of presuppositional pontificating on Golden State’s core being on the verge of breaking up. I know that everything ends eventually; I just felt it was a bit premature to start talking about what happens next when the Warriors have literally never lost a series in the West.
Here’s an excerpt from The King Herald’s Game 7 preview, wondering about what would happen if Golden State were to lose:
I wonder how it felt for Kobe Bryant the day he realized that his time challenging for a title was done. I wonder how Jordan felt in his last season of the Wizards, knowing that the chokehold he held the world in was finally loosened by the passage of time. Was there a defining moment for Duncan's Spurs, the Showtime Lakers, or the Red Auerbach-era Celtics that spelled out the end of their run? Was their demise capped with a question mark or an exclamation point?
We've watched these Warriors erode over time, slowly losing chunks of what made them great over the years to the gravity of age and finances and time and we've arrived at the first moment of we might call their collapse, and maybe the last moments that they'll ever be seen as THE Warriors. 48 minutes of basketball can remove the caps-lock, straighten the italics in the minds of basketball watchers forever.
That is some beautiful prose from that Kings’ fan. And I have another quote in response to that, from a former Finals MVP in the Golden Empire.
Don’t worry about what goes on at the top of things.
DON’T WONDER ABOUT WHEN THE DYNASTY’S TIME IS UP. INSTEAD WONDER ABOUT STEPH CURRY PUTTING 50 ON YOUR HEAD. ASK NOT WHEN THE GOLDEN EMPIRE’S REIGN WILL END, INSTEAD ASK WHEN THEY WILL PUT AN END TO YOUR SEASON’S HOPES AND DREAMS.
How many years will they continue to doubt the chosen ones?
Curry and Looney willed Warriors to victory
When we look back on this Game 7, I’m sure we’ll remember Curry scored 50 points on 20-38 shooting from the field, 7-of-18 shooting from beyond the arc, with 8 rebounds and 6 assists with only ONE (!) turnover. That 50 points is the most in Game 7 history by the way bahahahaha.
But we’ll also remember the impact from gutsy center Kevon Looney who tallied 11 points, 21 rebounds, and 4 assists with 10 of his rebounds coming on the offensive glass. Those two homegrown Dubs kept Golden State’s offense afloat whenever it looked stalled out.
There was one sequence involving them that felt like a microcosm of the Golden State’s unpredictable but charming season. With the champs leading 67-62 with eight minutes to play in the third quarter, Curry charged in for a layup attempt that rimmed out. Looney inhaled the rebound and kicked it to Andrew Wiggins, who skipped it over to Curry in the corner, who jacked up a three immediately. That three missed, but Wiggins skied out of nowhere for a monstrous putback slam attempt, that ricocheted off the rim.
The ball careened directly into a leaping Curry’s hands near the three point line, who put the jets on and bulled his way through the heart of the King’s defense for an and-1 layup.
That entire sequence was a rollercoaster ride of no-no-no-YES energy that was created by the hustle of Golden State and what felt like some Harlem Globetrotters-esque magic. I can’t imagine being a Kings fan watching that carnival ball happening to your team in a must win game.
But that’s what happens when you have a two-time MVP and the greatest rebounder
of all time in the series vs the Kings.
Respect to the Kings
A six seed knocking off a three seed is pretty shocking, but when that #3 seed has the league’s best offense, the Coach of the Year in Mike Brown, Clutch Player of the Year in De’Aaron Fox, and the Rebounding champ in Sabonis, they’re pretty loaded on paper.
Before the series I read an intimidating piece from The Ringer entitled “Kings of the Dribble Handoff: Inside the play powering the most efficient offense in NBA history”. This article was on Sacramento’s #1 offense and the Sabonis handoff technique that had the league flummoxed during the regular season.
And yet in a must win Game 7 at home, the Kings could only muster 42 points in the second half against Golden State’s championship tested defense. Here’s their shot chart for the second half, with more X’s than Leonardo DiCaprio.
The proud Kings gave the Warriors all they could ask for as a first round test; even ejecting Bay Area legend E-40 in Game 1 and getting Draymond Green suspended for Game 3. Sacramento even got to light their Beam after some wins over the champs in the series.
But eventually the Warriors consumed them, breaking their wills, deflating the crowd, taking their souls like they’ve done to every other Western Conference playoff opponent during Coach Kerr’s tenure. Sacramento may have ushered out E-40, but the Golden Empire returned the favor by bouncing them out of the playoffs with extreme prejudice.
The Beam now belongs to Golden State, where it will be stored in the basement of the old Oracle Arena next to a stack of 27 bricks made in Houston and Oklahoma City’s Cupcakes shirts as mementos to a dynasty’s dominance.