The Warriors’ Thursday game in Cleveland should not have been a test.
But it turned one when a shrewd Cavs team outplayed the Warriors for three quarters.
With an unbelievable fourth-quarter running run — and led by whom? – Steph Curry, who scored 20 in the final frame (8-of-12 off the floor, 4-of-7 ahead of the arc), claimed a 104-89 victory by the Dubs.
The blitz was incredible. The Warriors paced the game and scored 17 points before the fourth. Cleveland went 12 properties without a basket.
And that was without defensive ace Draymond Greene on the floor for the Warriors.
It all happened so fast that it’s a little hard to summarize what actually happened.
But the end result is undeniable.
Despite a brilliant performance in the fourth, the Warriors registered an ugly victory.
While there’s no good excuse as to why the Warriors were so lifeless for the first three frames—they went 81-68 in the fourth quarter—as long as they win, that is forgiven.
Great teams are allowed ugly victories.
Now this kind of early-game won’t be rewarded in the spring, but there’s a long, long time between now and then. Not every game is going to be beautiful.
But great teams have enough pride and character to fight through it — don’t put your tail between your legs and take it — and come out with some dignity, and, ideally, a win.
And while this Warriors season is so short, and yet it seems like a lot has already happened.
There will be countless more tests, but Thursday was hardly the first instance where he showed winning is hard work in this team’s DNA.
Another test comes in the other end of this back-to-back, Friday vs. Detroit.
As impressive as the fourth quarter versus the Cavs was, the Warriors will want to consider a more well-rounded approach against the Pistons.
For the second straight road game, there were fans chanting MVP on the two-time award winner.
He finished with 40 points, with only one free-throw coming over the line. He wasn’t even fouled – it was a byproduct of an illegal defense call.
Don’t cheat the game. The officers have no hesitation. When his teammates weren’t helping him much for the first three quarters, there was no laughing fit.
Of course this guy is getting “MVP” chants on the street. All he does is play incredible basketball which is a pure pleasure to watch.
Bob Myers went to KNBR on Thursday and quoted Maya Angelou in an attempt to best describe Curry.
I thought this was perfect:
“She says ‘People will forget what you did, they’ll forget what you said, but they won’t forget how you made them feel,’ as far as how she makes people feel, I have no idea. Tell someone who makes people feel more.”
another fan favorite
Character is the most distinguishing factor in professional sports. pic.twitter.com/smoYOtJ06y
— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dieter) November 19, 2021
Juan Toscano-Anderson looked like a guy who hadn’t played serious rotation minutes in a week.
Or, worse, he seemed like the kind of guy who wasn’t in the NBA rotation at all.
But after a poor start to their game on Thursday, JTA exploded with the rest of the dubs in the fourth quarter.
Defensively, he was excellent. His return was urgent.
He also scored a 3-pointer in the frame, which he played through the full 12 minutes and ended up plus-28.
Toscano-Anderson has always been a fan favorite—he’s an energy guy from Oakland who wears No. 95, what’s not to like? But Thursday’s performance was a sign of why he made it to the NBA in the first place.
This man is the grinder, and he has more character in one nail than so many others who are more talented than him have in his entire lab-created body.
I have long believed that talent can bring you to the show but it is the character that makes you the champion. JTA may be the last man on the bench for this Warriors team, but his postgame comments make it clear why he’s on this team. This dude has said championship DNA.
When asked after the game about the challenges of falling out of rotation late in the game, Toscano-Andersen gave a correct answer:
“The only difficult part is just the willingness to play,” Toscano Anderson said. “I put a lot of effort and emotion into this game, so I’ve always wanted to play.
“But at the end of the day, I’m an adult and I’m understanding what my job is and what my role is on this team. And I’m accepting of it. I can sit here and think about it, but from this What will be the benefit?
Its all about attitude. I can be anywhere in the world. I could be on another team. I could be on the losing team. S*** I might be back in the G-League. But I’m on the best team in the NBA – my hometown team. I get to play with the Hall of Famers.”
It’s as refreshing as a cold front of rain on a hot day.
And that says a lot about the high IQ of JTA and Collective Warriors team. That’s what they value with the Golden State.
Their priorities couldn’t be higher in order.
Because, seriously, how can you not root for that guy?