It’s always fun to paraphrase the great Mark Twain – and even more so when it’s truly on point.
After Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, the world was ready to all but declare the Golden State Warriors dead and their historic season over. The loss was, yes, surprising – remember Golden State had lost only 1 home game at Oracle Arena all season. They let a double-digit halftime lead evaporate – something they hadn’t done since, well, maybe the days of aforementioned Mark Twain. So, yes, to see the defending champs go down in the series opener was a little bit of a shock. But, please. Let’s not forget who we’re talking about here.
The 2-time reigning Most Valuable Player of the league
The 2-time reigning NBA Coach of the Year
The defending NBA Champions
This is essentially the same exact team that fell behind 2 games to 1 against the Memphis Grizzlies last postseason. In the NBA Finals last June, the Cleveland Cavaliers took a 2-1 series lead into Game 4 against these Warriors before Steph Curry and his guys rallied to win 3 straight and hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy. My point — this team has a bit of a tendency to start off slowly in some of these playoff series. And dropping a game (at Oracle or in OKC or in my backyard for that matter) against a team like the Thunder, who held 4th quarter leads in each of the 3 regular season meetings between these two teams, should not signal the distress flags.
And just like they’ve done for more than a calendar year, the Warriors bounced back with authority last night and rolled to a 118-91 victory to knot the series up at one game apiece. The MVP was in typical MVP form, as Curry went for 28 points in just 30 minutes on the floor – 17 of which came in the deciding 3rd quarter. The Warriors opened up what was an 8-point lead at intermission to 20 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Knowing the makeup of this team and their history together, how could anyone doubt this team or even think of writing them off after the Game 1 defeat? Head Coach Steve Kerr didn’t and his comments after Game 2 sum up, very succinctly, how he feels about his team. When asked if there was anything in particular that stood out from the victory or the 3rd quarter in particular, Kerr responded, “Nothing. Nothing stands out.” Typical Warriors. Typical Curry.
This reminds me of another Mark Twain quip: the secret to getting ahead is getting started.
Although it took them a second, the Warriors — it’s safe to say — have gotten started.