No Panic

World Freaking Champions.

Jim Rome
June 03, 2019 - 9:28 am
Andre Iguodala

USA Today

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Last night is why you don’t overreact to one game in an NBA Finals. Especially one game involving the Golden State Warriors. That’s why you don’t panic and shove Kevin Durant out on the court for Game 2 before he’s ready. That’s why you don’t bury the Warriors before they’re dead. Because of what they just did in last night’s 109-104 win over the Raptors.

That was up there with Houston in Game 7 last year. Or Houston in Game 5 this year. Or Houston in Game 6 this year. Or OKC back in the day. Undermanned, backs against the wall, and they come through in the clutch. There might come a time where they don’t pull it off, but last night was not that time.

That doesn’t mean that it started well. It didn’t. Durant was still out. DeMarcus Cousins was in the starting lineup. Andre Iguoadala looked like he was fighting his leg in the first half.

You know who wasn’t fighting his leg in the first half. Pascal Siakam.

Good Lord that was filthy. He didn’t just catch that above the cylinder, he caught that above the box. Shoot, that looked like he caught it above the whole backboard. That barn was rocking after that and for good reason. Because Toronto eventually got up by 12 in the first half. They had everything going. Double-digit lead. And Golden State was on the ropes.

Steph Curry was sick. Igoudala was banged up. Then Kevon Looney hit the deck hard after a Kawhi Leonard drive and he had to leave the game.

But somehow the Warriors cut it to 59-54 at halftime. And then something happened at halftime. What it is, I will never know, but I want some of it. They should sell that in bottles, because the Warriors came out like a different team.

DeMarcus Cousins didn’t look like the DeMarcus Cousins who was coming off a pair of brutal injuries. He looked like NBA All-Star DeMarcus Cousins. Before I get further into that third quarter anvil that the Warriors dropped on Toronto’s head, how about a moment for DeMarcus Cousins? After Game 1, I wasn’t sure that he could be a factor in this series, not because he’s not a great player, but because he’s coming back from a pair of terrible injuries. I was wrong.

11 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks and a hell of a lot of pride. That is a proud, proud man out there. He busted his ass to get back to play in the Finals and he wasn’t happy to just get a participation ribbon, he wanted to earn it. He wanted to be trusted. As Draymond told The Athletic last night, “He texted me after Game 1. He said, ‘Yo, I’ve been waiting on this moment. I’m ready for the moment. You gotta trust me.’ Well, Coach showed he trusted him and we all trusted him and he played big for us.”

Here’s something else from Draymond: “DeMarcus is one of the ultimate competitors. Part of the reason people don’t really understand him is that people don’t compete like he competes, at the level he competes at.” That is the very definition of game respecting game. Two of the ultimate competitors respecting each other and playing alongside each other.

Cousins was a force. And there was more in that third quarter run. Andre Iguodala was healed. Andrew Bogut came in for Looney and he was throwing down alley-oops. Curry and Klay Thompson were killing it. Draymond was everywhere. And the whole crew was locked in on defense.

How locked in? An 18-0 run to start the half. Toronto did not score for the first 5:40 of the second half. The transition defense that Steve Kerr described as “awful” in Game 1 was “championship” in Game 2. And he’s right. And so were the clutch moments. Because as the Raptors were coughing the ball up, guys like Quinn Cook were making them pay. Hell yes, I said Quinn Cook. How clutch was he? 3 for 5 from deep and absolutely fearless.

If last night hadn’t been the DeMarcus Cousins Game, it would’ve been the Quinn Cook Game. Both of them were monsters.

And they had to be, because it was about to get worse for the Warriors when Klay went down with a hamstring injury. At that point, you have to start wondering if there’s a curse or a voodoo doll out there with a Warriors jersey on it. KD injured. Klay injured. Curry sick. Iguodala injured. Cousins injured. Looney injured.

All that talk about the Warriors being lucky when it came to injuries in the past, well that all came back last night. And despite that run, the Warriors were in trouble late. Points were hard to come by. The Raptors went to box and one and the Warriors couldn’t score. As in could not score. They had 106 points with 5:39 left in the game and went scoreless for the next 5 and a half minutes.

The Raptors weren’t exactly lighting it on fire, either. But they kept chipping away. And then Danny Green hit a 3.

That was brass for a guy who hasn’t been hitting much of anything. Now it’s a two point game with just over a shot clock’s worth of time left in the game.

Toronto could actually rip this. But that Green shot was just the prologue to this.

Andre Iguodala. If you need him.

Unreal. Shaun Livingston came to the pass, caught it with two hands, and snatched it away from Kawhi, then set up Iguodala for that shot – WITH A NO LOOK PASS. HE WENT NO LOOK WITH 10 SECONDS TO GO IN A FINALS GAME. And as for Iggy, those aren’t stones. Those are absolute church bells.

And that is why the Golden State Warriors are the Golden State Warriors. And that is why you don’t panic and why you don’t count them out. Because without KD, and Klay, and Looney, and with Curry sick, Cousins injured, and Iguodala injured, they still find a way. That is why they are champions. Freaking champions. World Freaking Champions.