OAKLAND – And two days later, everything was fine again. Type of. The Golden State Warriors will be day-to-day as long as Stephen Curry and Drummond Green are.
However, in the finals of 125-97 on Friday the justifiably tired Portland Trail Blazers was completely warriors in the same way as the loss of 123-95 in Oklahoma City Thunder two nights ago was not, and as a dramatic twist as it was presented in the short circle, Kevin Durant explained it best.
"I do not believe it will end when it's over," he said until he explored only his brilliant performances, but also those of his comrades in breaking the lineup with four games. "I do not believe in fairy tales or the like, it will not end until we begin to impose our will. We have to play with greater passion and energy, and (i) I never believe it will happen in the end."
Well, it happened on Friday night – a kind of energy and purpose, driving and smart, tactical smart and strategic disciplines that they lost 12 days ago and struggled to get back as they walked through Time Out From Hell and its consequences. All questions about their fragility, the lack of depth and the uncertain future awaited them as a team, looked almost like a dynasty in the past.
Almost, that is. It's still November, and their standard is not reasonable for most teams. Not only that, Portland was just flying from Milwaukee after taking a 43-point beating from the hands of the Anti-Riddle Freex, an unreasonable infernal part of the schedule.
However, the Warriors applied their standard, and this game was first encountered so comprehensively, perhaps from the Phoenix game a month ago.
They defended themselves with zeal and intelligence, and offendedly moved the ball with freshness and thought the burden of the evening did not fall on Durant and Clay Thompson – although the results (63 shooting points from 25 to 42, plus 15 jumping between them) seemed to suggest that.
Instead, they received a mega-useful and exciting performance by Jordan Bell (who was out of the rotation), a sweeping and opportunistic recording by Quinn Cook and remarkable contributions from nearly everyone else. On 11 thefts and 48 fields on targets in only 85 shots, they showed how intelligently and quickly they turned the defense into a violation, and in all notorious ways it was torn off its two weeks of torrents.
Warriors are good for several such matches each year in which they hit the lull that seems to hinder them, and then release themselves into a burst. More to the point, they are embarrassing losses as an environment as a reason for recalibrating. They lost 19 matches in the championship era – the playoffs were included – with 20 or more points, and their record in the later matches was 16-3.
Of course, every situation has its own unique angles, and the current fight has come without Kari and Green, a difficult transition for a team that works best at a pace and distance to make it the pace best. This last round of indifferent results was complemented by Green's running with Durant and the arguments of looking forward to the match, while the second season is barely five weeks, a level of madness that speaks of our cultural resistance to be processed and bored.
In other words, this looked worse because they lost four-row and looked miserable doing it, as if the season decided to put the sign "Closed for the winter" then and there.
But from a jump on Friday night, the crowd urged them to return to their true and compassionate ones, and in the end they reacted in kind, especially Durant, who played for 37 minutes and in various rotations, including the second group that starts in second quarter. In fact, he played the entire second trim, scoring 14 of his 32 points and entering a plus 18 to highlight the 35 to 17-year Warriors' match.
"I thought he played a brilliant game with every unit he was in," said Kerr. "I do not think it was dramatic. I just think that he played so well that he would be good in every unit he was in."
And Durant's freedom created freedom elsewhere in Thompson, Bell and Cook.
"We just looked like ourselves," said Kerr. "The level of activity at both ends … it was just a really good night."
Only when the hysterics were wondering if there would ever be another.