You have to hand it to Warriors fans. There they were last night, packed into the Oracle again for a game against the Denver Nuggets, loud as ever and standing during an exciting fourth quarter and overtime that eventually ended up in a 123-118 loss, another in a long line of thrilling defeats.
Monta Ellis scored 39 points and dished out 10 assists, another splendid performance this season that’s had quite a few. Rookie Stephen Curry displayed the all-court game that’s made him one of the year’s best rookies, while Corey Maggette’s basketball renaissance has hit full gear.
You want to know how far the Warriors have sunk? With the game tied at 105-105 with two seconds left in the fourth quarter, the ball found its way to Anthony Tolliver for the final shot, who whirled and threw up a prayer. Anthony who?
Tolliver is one of Golden State’s recent call-ups from the NBA Development League because the team’s regulars line the end of the team’s bench due to various injuries. It’s always something with the Warriors, right?
Injuries are part of the game, unfortunately. And they’ve completely derailed Golden State’s season. Because how can you evaluate Anthony Randolph, Brandan Wright or the other young players when they’ve been shelved?
So, fans are left with Monta, Stephen and Corey, exciting home games of late against Cleveland and last night against Denver, but little else.
You have to wonder why they still come. Why they root and cheer so intensely. And it has always been this way for years. That’s why it’s criminal the Warriors can’t get their act together. Why can’t Golden State’s management field a competitive team for more than two years straight?
If they did, could you image the fervor such play would stir up? Actually, we saw a brief glimpse of how fans would receive a successful team during the “We Believe” year and the one that followed.
But, did that actually happen, I’m having second thoughts and wondering if the whole playoff win over Dallas was merely a mirage.
The way the team is headed now, fans will have to wait anther decade for another moment of success.
It’s painful to look around the NBA at what might have been. Wouldn’t Jamal Crawford look nice coming off the Warriors’ bench, scoring 20 points per night, Baron Davis playing point or Stephen Jackson, who’s rejuvenated Charlotte? All were pushed out before they should have been.
You can also throw former general manager Chris Mullin into the category of former Warriors who for whatever reason were suddenly shown the door. And Mullin seems primed to become the assistant to general manager Donnie Walsh in New York.
Whatever happens, no matter how many losses pile up, or how dysfunctional the franchise becomes, the fans will show up. And that’s about the only thing you can count on each year.