By: Jordan Ramirez
With Kim Kardashian officially making Kris Humphries her boy toy, Dejuan Blair tragically covering Drake’s “Trust Issues,” Kobe Bryant allegedly slapping cell phones out of people’s hands in church, players signing oversees and Mark Jackson asking fans on Twitter what our favorite candy bars are, it’s safe to say the lockout is in full swing.
After one of the most exciting NBA seasons in years, the NBA is nowhere to be seen. Instead of asking ourselves whether the Mavericks can repeat, if Kobe is still Kobe, if LeBron will overcome his 4th quarter woes, how Derrick Rose will follow his MVP season or if Mark Jackson knows how to coach, we’re wondering whether we’ll have basketball in time for Christmas.
That makes it a great time to reflect on the best games of last season, specifically our Golden State Warriors.
Another season, another slew of entertaining games. While Warriors fans are far more concerned with actually getting wins than whether games are exciting, the fact that the Warriors aren’t the Milwaukee Bucks is definitely a positive. With that in mind, let’s countdown the top five Warriors games of last season.
5) Monta Game Winner Silences Granger
January 19, 2011: Pacers 108 – Warriors 110
Since the Warriors and Pacers made their blockbuster trade years ago there has been a clear sense of hostility between both clubs. Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Troy Murphy are to this day two of the most hated former Warriors in history of the franchise, and for good reason. While Murphy was shipped out of Indiana last season via trade to the Warriors (then quickly waived), Dunleavy Jr. still lays rotting his career for the Pacers. As if the Warriors fans needed any more reason to root against the Pacers, Danny Granger tweeted this the night before the game:
While San Francisco is indeed foggy and cold, it’s definitely not “the worst city.” In a region founded upon technology fans immediately read the tweet and expressed their opinions accordingly. Granger’s tweet was just another chapter in the recent Pacers vs. Warriors rivalry.
The game itself lent many to believe that Monta Ellis was now officially here. With 36 points on 16-28 FGA’s (57%), Monta had one of his best statistical games of the season. You add Danny Granger’s 32 points on 11-19 shooting and you have a memorable battle between two franchise players. Monta had the last laugh though as he cemented his title as a “clutch” player with his last second jumper from the left wing.
“I wanted that one,” he said postgame.
We did too Monta.
4) MVP? Not tonight.
February 5, 2011: Bulls 90 – Warriors 101
Every once in a while the Warriors have us asking ourselves: “How the heck did that happen exactly?”
The dominant victory over Chicago at Oracle was Exhibit A of that very question.
With a slew of Bulls fans in attendance the Warriors somehow shut down the unstoppable force that was Derrick Rose. With strong defense, yes, defense, the Warriors tamed the eventual MVP with one of his worst games of the season. Rose had 14 points on 6-15 shooting with 0-5 from three point range, a terrible night in an otherwise fantastic season for the MVP.
The Warriors were once again led in scoring by Monta Ellis, who had 33 points. Stephen Curry followed with 23 points and eight assists. But it was the Warriors stout defense throughout that paved the way for the victory. Not only did they quiet Rose but they forced the Bulls into 17 turnovers.
“I couldn’t get a feel for the game because they didn’t let me,” Rose said.
When the MVP compliments your defense like that, you know you did something right.
3) Vladimir Lives!
December 21, 2010: Warriors 117 – Kings 109
We know him, we love him and he has one of the the longest names in NBA history. For one night, Vladimir Radmanovic was the savior, for this one night he replaced warming up those comfortable looking seats off the bench to actually contributing to a Warriors victory. While a certain play by play man may say otherwise, this was Vladimir’s one shining moment.
The Warriors were trailing 70-84 heading into the fourth quarter, they looked like a defeated team and it seemed they were on their way to another disappointing loss. However, with strong defense down the stretch the Warriors gave themselves one last shot to tie the game, and it was Vlad-Rad who took it.
“I was a couple of feet behind the 3-point line, but the shot felt good; I was confident,” Radmanovic said.
As memorable as this moment was there was still some game left to be played.
While the majority of the game was the Beno Udrih show, the overtime period quickly turned into the Monta Ellis show. Monta scored nine of his 36 points in OT while Reggie Williams added 24, Dorell Wright had 17 and David Lee added 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The infamous Vlad-Rad bank shot at the buzzer was one of the most memorable moments of the season. If you weren’t jumping out of your seat at that time, why the heck weren’t you?
2) The Three Point Barrage
March 11, 2011: Magic 120 – Warriors 123
Since the days of Nellie Ball fans have been accustomed to seeing their team drain threes like no other. From Jason Richardson to Stephen Jackson to Anthony Morrow to Dorell Wright to Stephen Curry, the team has always been loaded with quality shooters. Whether these shooters lead to the playoffs is another story, but it makes for fun viewing nonetheless.
This was never more evident than in their classic battle with the Magic this past season.
The two teams went a combined 36 for 67 with the Warriors hitting a franchise record 21 three’s. Let me say that again: TWENTY ONE THREE POINTERS.
“Can we do that every night?” said Joe Lacob in the locker room after the game.
The game wasn’t for the defensive faint of heart, but with the Magic and Warriors you weren’t expecting defense. The game went into OT and the Warriors eventually prevailed. Monta again led the way with 39 points with 11 assists, Wright had 32 points and Curry had 22 and 12 assists. J-Rich led the Magic with 30 points on 7-11 from three while the Warriors held Dwight Howard to a mere 13 points in 46 minutes.
Dorell Wright summed up the game perfectly:
“That’s an NBA classic right there for sure.”
1) The Warriors Finally Beat the Lakers
April 6, 2011: Lakers 87 – Warriors 95
The best game of last season was an easy call.
Although the Pacers game winner was awesome, although the Bulls and Kings victories were exciting and although the Magic game was one of the best shooting nights I’ve ever seen, there was one game substantially better than all of them.
The Lakers had beaten the Warriors 12 straight times before that night. For so long were Warriors fans chalking up “L’s” whenever the Lakers were the opponent. The Lakers were still playing for home court advantage and the #1 seed, which makes the win that much more impressive.
For once in years the Warriors actually outplayed the Lakers. The score wasn’t “Warriors-esque”, a fairly low scoring affair, but a win is a win. Kobe got his 25 points on 50% shooting, but the rest of the team was fairly non-existent. They surely didn’t look like a championship caliber team.
David Lee carried the team with 22 points and 19 rebounds while Ellis had 26 and Curry with another 20. It wasn’t pretty, but it didn’t have to be. The Warriors beat the Lakers… and that in itself is beautiful.
Let’s hear your opinions Warriors fans! What were your favorite games from this past season?