At the conclusion of the instant classic Warriors – Spurs game last night, my beautiful fiancee had an “ohhhhhhhh!” moment when Manu Ginobli hit his ridiculous three. By this time it was obviously already evident this was an incredible game, but this sealed it once and for all. My fiancee does not watch a lot of basketball, but tries to enjoy it bless her heart. When she said, “wow, that was an epic finish”, I knew I had just watched an all-time classic.
Firstly, how can you not love the Warriors? Absolutely no one believes in them; and everyone figured they were simply a first round abberation doomed to be destroyed by the powerful, systematic Spurs. Steph Curry was going to be shut down by one of the althletic wing players the Spurs suddenly seem to have in abundance. Then, last night happened. Curry could not miss. He got inches here and there and exploited them by nailing step back threes that were unguardable. When he could not get a shot off he drove to the basket – at one point he hit a crazy floater over Tim Duncan. On the defining play for the Warriors (the one before Manu’s three) three Spurs collapsed on him in the lane allowing him to hit a wide open teammate for an easy lay in to take the lead. Curry may have been doubted before this season (and this series began) but he is a prime time player, capable of scoring in bunches and making wily (and correct!) plays. The most interesting revelation of this playoffs: he is a much better passer than anyone gave him credit for, and a much smarter player than we ever thought.
Secondly, even though he had been cold all night: how can you possibly leave Manu open with the game on the line? How many impossible shots has he hit? The situation will never phase him or the veteran Spurs and he showed it last night. As soon as I saw him open a feeling of dread hit me right in the stomach. The game was over. Just a vet making a fantastic vet move.
Thirdly, can we have six more, just like that please? Unreal. When Klay Thompson fouled out late in the fourth quarter it did not matter because the game was effectively over. By the time overtime hit? It made a massive difference with the Warriors second best player unable to take the floor. Even Tony Parker, who had struggled, put his head down and made several great drives to the basket when it mattered most.
One can only hope this series just keeps on going and going.