Following the Dubs’ defeat in Game 1, here are some notes to help you partake in the mass anxiety while maintaining an air of (false) confidence.
Simply put, the Mission Bay Dubs (aka Golden State Warriors) played Thursday night’s fourth quarter like they were the San Francisco Department of Public Works: sloppy, disrespectful, late, and leaving trash behind. accumulate. Dubs fans could do little more than avert their eyes and hold their noses.
A history lesson
In their last five Finals appearances, the Dubs have lost Game 1 only once, in 2019 on the road to Toronto. They lost the series in 6.
In that Toronto game, the Dubs (and Draymond Green in particular) disrespected a role player named Pascal Siakam, who scored 32 points. Thursday night they (especially Green) disrespected actors Al Horford and Derrick White. And wow, did this “dynamic duo” make them pay, especially in the fourth quarter. Horford and White beat the Splash Brothers by making 11 3-pointers (also called 3-balls and 3s) on 16 attempts.
Despite their record, the Dubs have had problems in the opener in the past. In 2015, they benefited from a key player injury, Kyrie Irving, late in extra time, which the Dubs won 108-100. They then lost Games 2 and 3, but ultimately survived.
In 2016, the Dubs won games one and two, but in those two games Curry and Thompson were pushed around by a pugnacious Cleveland defense, a pattern that persisted throughout the 7-game series.
A slideshow of NBA Finals results
The 2016 Western Conference Finals
The Dubs’ worst Game 1 loss of the playoffs came at the hands of the Oklahoma Thunder in the 2016 Western Conference Finals. After leading most of the game, they scored just 14 points in the 4e quarter and lost – much like their Thursday night screening.
The Thunders were tall, long and athletic. They played one-on-one physical defense, but not as good as Boston.
The Dubs won Game 2 of that 2016 series at home, then were bombed twice in Oklahoma City. Trailing 3-1 in the series, the Dubs easily won Game 5 at home. But they had to return to Oklahoma for Game 6.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Thunder led 83-75. Less than a minute into the quarter, Klay Thompson made a 3-point shot from 25 feet and never looked back. He scored 19 of his game-high 41 points in that quarter, leading the Dubs to a narrow 106-100 victory. It was then that Thompsom was christened “Game Six Klay”.
Back in what was then Golden State, the Dubs won and advanced to the Finals.
What must the Dubs do to win Game 2?
Stop kicking the Celtics wide open when playing defense and get the ball in the basket when playing offense. Despite all the media coverage and endless chatter, basketball is a pretty simple game; designed to occupy children, not to enrich adults.
Including Thursday’s loss, the Dubs have lost only five games in these playoffs, never losing two games in a row. Endgames are a rollercoaster at best and we’ve learned from watching Dubs over the years that what goes down usually goes up. Enjoy the ride.
William Reutter contributed to this report.