By: Scott Horlbeck
The NBA Finals start Thursday, and for the first time in 40 years, the Warriors will be a part of it.
It was a long road to get here, one that included winning 67 games in the regular season, beating New Orleans and Memphis in the first and second rounds of the playoffs, and most recently, beating Houston to win the Western Conference Finals.
A few weeks ago, I changed my Twitter avatar to me in a Warriors jersey when I was little. It’s a great picture for so many reasons, but mainly because of my goofy ass smile and the triple-X white-T I’m wearing underneath.
I wasn’t sure what year the picture was taken until I texted my Mom. “1999” she said, “You were nine.”
And she was right. My number seven Antawn Jamison jersey was the only season he wore that number – changing it the following year to “33”.
Out of curiosity, I went back and looked at the Warriors record that year. Turns out, that was a lockout year, with the regular season starting in early February and encompassing just 50 games. The Warriors finished 21-29 and missed the playoffs. A strange shortened season sandwiched in between two 19 win seasons in ‘98 and 2000.
To put that into perspective, in the span from 1998 to 2001, the Warriors won 59 out of a possible 214 games. Eight less than the number they won this year.
I started this article by saying how long of a road it was for the Warriors to reach the Finals. The road gets Mad Max: Fury Road long when you slide back the start date to include the grim days of my Antawn Jamison rookie jersey.
It’s been an incredible journey – 40 years in the making – so to celebrate the Warriors first Western Conference championship since 1975, here are some top plays from each of the Warriors Western Conference Finals wins. Enjoy.
Shaun Livingston was huge in Game 1, scoring 14 of his 18 points in the second quarter and helping the Warriors close out the first half on a 21-4 run.
Curry hits this shot at the buzzer and somehow the Warriors finish the half with a three point lead. (Down 17 with 7 minutes left)
One of the many BIG plays from Harrison Barnes in the series, this one putting the Warriors up by four late in the 4th.
A stop and pop three for Curry (and another call that almost any other MVP gets).
One of the most exciting plays of the series, and probably one of the loudest explosions in Oracle.
The first of Curry’s two huge shots that helped the Warriors close out Houston for a 2-0 lead.
The second of the two jumpers, this one even more of a rainbow than the first.
And finally, “the double team.” You can’t have a top plays list for Game 2 and not include this one.
The Curry/Green PNR to perfection, something they killed Houston with all night and all series.
As Bill Raftery would say, “With the kissssssssssssssssss!”
The best pass anyone’s going to throw all year in the Bay Area.
Momentum going left, stop on a dime, and to make things even better, still no call.
The Black Falcon has risen.
LET HIM SOAR!!!!!!!!!!!
See you Thursday night.