We have all seen some stunning performances while watching the NBA Playoffs over the years, but I nobody expected the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors to provide us with what we saw last night from the Staples Center in Game 7 of Round 1 of the this season’s playoffs. In a word, the game was “Magical” and it typified one of the great series’ I have ever seen.
For me, since the Seattle Super Sonics were sold I rarely watch today’s NBA, except to see former Washington State Cougars perform at the highest level, in particular Klay Thompson at Golden State, so that’s why I even had a dog in the fight last night. Other than that I have grown increasingly tired of watching teams I try to like but can’t play each other. And while I never thought I’d like a team from Oakland, I gotta say the Warriors have taken my fancy these past couple years with Klay turning into something of a star out there.
Let’s get back to the game itself.
It’s almost an injustice to say that this game had it all and then some, but I really don’t know how else to put it. The 126 – 121 Los Angeles victory was everything a rivalry should be and everything today Clips vs Warriors rivalry is about. Honestly it was one of the best defensive performances I have seen in a long-time and yet both teams shot well over 50% and both teams made things look far too easy.
From the multiple and wild four-point plays of Jamal Crawford and Steph Curry to some of the most majestic and stunning tip and lob jams you have ever witnessed by Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in the closing moments, this game was played with a rare passion in today’s NBA.
We saw a banked free throw by Jordan, a banked three by Andre Iguodala (who had a monster game) and a crazy no-look three-point play by Griffin (one that by the way if it happened in my 2K 25 Xbox One game, probably ends with a controller through the window). We watched the stars play like stars, Curry and Chris Paul swooping and darting through traffic for runners that few in the game can make, never mind making them look that easy.
The sidekicks did their thing and the bench got involved in a big way. Griffin muscled his way through traffic several times for tough-earned buckets while Klay forced his way to the free throw line and hit some tough shots. The ‘law firm of Crawford and Crawford’ (as the announcers love to call Jamal and Jordan) went back and forth with some of the worst best shots you will ever see. Role players Draymond Green and J.J. Reddick were sensational.
Heck, the refs even got involved in the greatness and let the game be played in an even, physical manner, never one-sided and never allowing the game to get out of control.
In the end, it all came down to a behind-half-court three-pointer at the end the first half that left Curry’s hand .1 seconds late and then glanced in off the glass. When it was all over I told my brother “that was the best NBA basketball game I have ever seen”, and yes, I meant it. It wasn’t the “greatest”, per se, because no one can top some of the individual efforts and game-winners we’ve witnessed over the years. Jordan with the Bulls, Lebron with the Cavs, Wade with the Heat (pre-Lebron), Kobe with the Lakers, Ray Allen with the Sonics and many more are stuck in my head forever.
But the game last night was one for the ages, especially when considering what it was; a No. 3 vs No. 6 first round matchup. A game I’ll never forget.