I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’d need disco naps during the NBA playoffs. Well, I took that advice to heart Thursday. I DVRd the Mavs-Warriors Game 6 from Oaktown and watched it during the small numbers of the clock. So worth it.
The Warriors have the kind of fun openness that characterize the best of pickup basketball. Playing with people you know and like who want to win but want to have a great time even more. The Warriors have so much fun and play like it. The Mavs on the other hand seemed incredibly nervous. Despite playing in the Finals last year (or maybe because of it) they were never able to utilize their strengths in Game 6. When they played well it was only in spurts and spurts that began with offense. In 2003 that would have been the plan but since Avery took over from Nellie he’s continually force fed them the defense wins mantra. Thursday their only chance was to ride an extraordinary Jerry Stackhouse through the first half storm and then hope that the Warriors self destructed.
Thanks in large part to Baron Davis’ offensive aggressiveness, Nellie’s confidence (in the whole rotation not named Al Harrington) and Stephen Jackson’s Redemption Game, the Warriors are moving to Round 2 in yes, the biggest upset in NBA playoff history. With lots of confidence. In fact, even before the Rocket-Jazz finale later today, I want to go out on a limb and predict a Suns-Warriors Western Conference final. That final will also be the most exciting two weeks of basketball since the original Dream Team used the Barcelona Olympics to spark the global explosion of basketball.
Finally, just imagine how much the Warriors win helps the Heat. After an unsettling season and a ridiculously bad loss to the Bulls in their first round series Miami is already off the hook. How many offseason stories about the Heat’s debacle will include some caveat about how much worse the Mavs loss was? Pat Riley may soon enter my Ringo all-Starr band. (The luckiest people on Earth.)