So far this year I’ve covered games the Warriors have played against the Suns, Rockets, Pacers, Spurs and Hornets. To say covering a Warriors game against the Celtics is different than getting a credential to games featuring those other teams is kind of like saying that driving a Porsche 911 on Highway 101 is different than driving a Chevy Cruze in an underground parking garage.
Okay, perhaps that’s an understatement. Wait, no … it’s pretty spot-on.
Traffic was worse on the way to Oracle Arena. The parking lot was full, like an A’s game on dollar hot dog day. Instead of 1-5 out of town media guys, it seemed like there were a dozen, maybe more. Before the game, Bill Walton was on the floor, and Bill Simmons* (in the gray long sleeve/white t-shirt ensemble) was courtside. On my way back to my seat after grabbing kettle corn, peanuts and pretzels in the media room, I saw Duane Kuiper walking down the hall with his arm around Warriors’ PR Director Dan Martinez. Don’t laugh, Kuip’s like Jack Nicholson around here these days.
(*Watching Simmons was mildly fascinating and amusing at times, especially the time when he shook his head after Semih Erden got rejected by Dorell Wright. Simmons clapped softly when the Celtics made good plays, looked way too frustrated for a game against the Warriors when they screwed up — either he really is that big of a Boston fan or he was playing it up since his seat was in such a visible location for the 3,000-5,000 Celtics fans in the building)
Rumors were flying before the game. Ray Allen said the Warriors don’t belong on the same floor as the Celtics in a pregame pep talk caught on CSN Bay Area, according to people on Twitter, anyway. There was also the rumor that the Warriors had traded Brandan Wright and Dan Gadzuric to the Nets for the soon-to-be-bought-out Troy Murphy and a 2nd round pick in 2012. Wright and Gadzuric stayed on the bench in their Warriors warmups all game, but there was no way they were seeing the floor tonight.
Of course, that’s hardly a change from the norm.
If the trade goes through (and it sounds like it’s a pretty sure bet that it will), Ekpe Udoh will have even less competition for minutes. Udoh caught fire defensively for a stretch in the second half that included 3 blocks and several rebounds (he ended up with 6 points and 6 boards on the night). Udoh and the Warriors faded away in the third and fourth quarters after ending the first half tied at 60, Celtics fans out-numbered Warriors supporters midway through the final quarter, and it was just another easy Celtics victory, 115-93. However, a pretty terrible half for the Warriors (caused mostly by great Celtics defense) hardly marred a game with more energy than I’ve witnessed in person at Oracle since 2007.
With the Wright/Gadzuric trade not official and the Warriors locker room not exactly hopping, I went over to the visitor’s locker room. Talk about a different world; forget the far more aggressive east coasters waiting to get interviews, the Celtics themselves have a completely different language.
Well, Nate Robinson, anyway. The little dude doesn’t shut up, only it’s impossible to decipher at least 30-40% of what he says. I heard him say “hella” a few times, along with a lot of other assorted gibberish. Check out the beginning of this Ray Allen interview, featuring some sort of background conversation between Glen Davis, Avery Bradley and Robinson, who repeatedly says, “I like the new Glen.” I think they were talking about gambling, but I don’t know for sure.
Here’s Paul Pierce, who said Doc Rivers didn’t mind his team running with the Warriors early, as long as they stopped fouling so much. One of the Boston guys asked about having Carmelo Anthony in the same division, and Pierce’s “answer” isn’t that surprising.
It’s a lucky day for you Celtics fans reading this (all 2 of you) — here’s KG talking about how great his team is and how he wants to “fill every category in the book.” Fans of humility may not love this interview, but the good news was he didn’t punch me or anyone else in the groin.