Brandon Rush

Another strangely entertaining night at Oracle

The crowd, maybe the smallest Oracle Arena had seen all season, was on their feet. They were loud, and not because of something like free pizzas or diminutive dunkers. The Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Hornets, two teams fighting for the opposite of supremacy, tied at 81 with under a minute left. Charles Jenkins’ lefty floater is blocked by Gustavo Ayon. Greivis Vasquez rebounds the ball with the clock ticking down, and finds former Oracle fan favorite Marco Belinelli, whose layup is BLOCKED by Chris Wright with a second left!

Goaltending. As perfect endings go, that may be the perfectest finish for this year’s Warriors, considering their current “goals.”

After a 20-second timeout where Richard Jefferson was advised to throw the inbounds pass off the top of the backboard (that might not actually be what he was asked to do, but that’s what he did), the Warriors’ loss was nailed down with brutal efficiency. The crowd happily left Oracle, laughing and joking.

“That was perfect,” said one fan. “Came just close enough but got that loss!”

“That was fake,” said another fan, his giggles free from the slightest hint of anything resembling anger or even frustration. “They were faking!”

It’s been that way for a while in Oakland. The crowd shows up, they yell and scream as if they’re riding the Tilt-a-Whirl at the county fair, and they leave with a bounce to their step. Tonight that was the case not because they were so excited by the Bob Myers promotion, but because the game was pressure-free, meaningless. Plus, a season ticketholder in a Stephen Jackson jersey hit ANOTHER halfcourter during the second half. $25,ooo, which means the Warriors have given away $56K to fans for making a mixture of free throws, 3-pointers and halfcourt heaves during play stoppages.

Mikki Moore > Klay Thompson?

The Jefferson inbounds pass was strange, and there were some odd substitution patterns in this game as well. Charles Jenkins (42 min) and Jeremy Tyler (41 min) played the longest and went a combined 9-for-33 from the floor. Brandon Rush, who went 6-for-9 (3-for-4 from 3-pt) only played 17 minutes.

Klay Thompson (16 points on 7-of-12 shooting) sat the entire 4th quarter. Mark Jackson said it was Thompson picked up his 4th foul (all 4 fouls occurred in the first half) and because the group that was on the floor had control of the game. Thompson mentioned getting kicked in the shin after the game and said, “It’s throbbing pretty hard right now.” But check out Jackson’s comments about the lineup he utilized at the end of this classic contest:

“The only veteran on the floor was Mikki Moore. My thinking with putting him on the floor is he’s been around a long time. And he’s a pro. And he’s a guy that shouldn’t be in the D-league. And putting him on the floor gives him an opportunity that he has a legitimate chance if he wants to continue to play, moving forward next year whether it be here or somewhere else.”

With all due respect, whaaaaa? Since when is it a goal to give charity minutes to a 13-year vet who’s never averaged 10 ppg? Could it have been that the lineup on the floor at the end — Jenkins, Chris Wright, Jefferson (in for Tyler, who fouled out), Mickell Gladness and Moore — gave the Warriors the best chance to lose? Nahhhhhh….

Nate Robinson’s sensitive nose

In the locker room, little Nate made his presence felt as usual. This time, he was up in arms over certain smells, odors he blamed on Tyler. Tyler wasn’t denying anything. One might argue Tyler seemed proud, even. Robinson (who left wearing some incredible bright orange Jordans, which I believe were these) wasn’t in a joking mood though, retreating to the trainer’s room at one point while Tyler’s man-made cloud in front of the players’ lockers dissipated. Nate had a point — in a postgame locker room full of the kind of heavy air that comes after a group of people shower within close proximity, the impact of flatulence can increase exponentially.

Until next season

Yep, that’s the last Warriors game I’ll cover this year, as I’m heading down south on Thursday afternoon for my sister-in-law’s engagement party. It started with Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, Andris Biedrins, Dorell Wright and David Lee, and it finishes with Jenkins/C. Wright/Jefferson/Gladness/Moore. So stay tuned to see if they successfully lose to the Spurs in Oakland and win some Draft Lottery tiebreakers at the league office. Also, some season ticketholder will attempt a three-quarter court shot for a million bucks. The way this season’s going, I bet the guy/gal makes  it.

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