Sunday, June 19, 2016

Next Year?

The stage was set, the score was tied.  Even after the debacles of games 5 and 6, the Warriors were poised to win the seventh game and the championship.  All they had to do in the final minutes was what they did so well and so often in a season without precedent: make shots.  A couple of 3s.  Or maybe just one.

And like some nightmare, the basketball version of the actor's nightmare maybe, they couldn't do it.  They could not sink even one.

For all the credit that LeBron James is getting, this was the Warriors' game and the Warriors' series to lose.  And they lost it.  Draymond Green's suspension and the back and forth between the teams and the NBA killed their game at home in the fifth game.  But all they had to do was win one more game.

They had beaten the Cavs in Cleveland just a week before, but they couldn't come all the way back from a devastating first quarter and they lost game 6, wire to wire.  Draymond was back but Andrew Bogut was down.  So the team that had beaten the Cavs three times in this series didn't take the floor.

It didn't for game 7 either--Bogut wasn't there to guard the basket. Iguodala was not himself. Draymond had an efficient game, his best since the first game.  But the Dubs needed the Splash Brothers to come up big, and they didn't.  But they've had poor shooting games and still come through at crunch time.  And they didn't.

In some weird way it may have been the price of their long winning season, and all the expectations every day.  I can't help thinking that Steph Curry trying to introduce a new product in his shoe line in the middle of the Finals was really dumb, and distracting.  But what do I know?  Nothing, really.

We'll remember the greatness of the season past, and the physical wounds hopefully will heal.  I'm still a fan, but I wonder if a team comes back from this next season, especially a team like this one that depends on confidence.

On a brighter note, Jake Peavy pitched a phenomenal game against Tampa Bay on Sunday, although the SF Giants didn't score for him, winning in the late innings with a four run outburst to take their eighth game in a row 5-1 and sweep the series.  They have a quick turnaround to Pittsburgh, though not as quick as the Pirates themselves have, after a night game in Chicago where they were swept by the Cubs.  Pirates pitching has been sagging and they are falling behind in their division.

The Pirates are hurt by injuries but the Giants so far seem to be surviving theirs remarkably well, though they are dangerously thin.  The Giants are doing it with relentless hitting but mostly with starting pitching, and they go into Pittsburgh with MadBum, Johnny Cueto and the Shark.  And an apparently rejuvenated Jake Peavy.
Brandon Belt had another homer on Sunday, he leads the team with 10--he's seems to be playing relaxed and professional since his contract.  Brandon Crawford responded that way, too--he's now the Giants' leading RBI guy.  Despite the frustrations--too many left on base, the adventuresome bullpen--it's once again a fun team to watch (even, as I do, on the radio.)  

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