From The Top Of The Oracle: An Account From Golden State
[Editor’s Note: Andy Orfalea is a Wizards fan all the way out in California, but attended school back East where he majored in English at Boston College. He attended Friday night’s Wizards game in Golden State, his account is below.]
I knew it. I knew the Wizards just needed my presence to turn this thing around. Watching from the top level at the Oracle, I didn’t like what I saw upon entering. Andray Blatche was f&%$ing around in warmups, something I’ve noticed about him since he was drafted. Javale Mcgee was chucking the bull off the backboard, Gilbert was throwing up brick after brick. As usual, the only two Wizards who appeared aware of their current six game losing streak were Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler. After Blatche botched a left hander in lay-up lines, Caron walked up and smacked him in the head. The leaders of the team won this game tonight. After the opening tip, the team played hard and with a sense of urgency. Two things that are all they really need.
Playing hard is something I attribute to one big man in the middle. Brendan Haywood has amazingly worked himself into a position where I was actually calling for him at the end of the game. Blatche was playing down the stretch and when the Warriors cut it to three, Flip finally decided this was an important game and inserted Haywood. B-Hay, the most recent blogosphere victim, provided much needed inside toughness for the Wizards. Almost before the fireworks of others, I really have to give him his props.
Now, an important point in recapping the game. Let me describe a little scene after the game in the halls of the Oracle. I walked out of our section with my Caron Butler Wizards #3 jersey, clapping it up. I also had my Redskins hat on, keep in mind they somehow beat the Raiders on Sunday. Anyways, as I clapped it up a Warriors fan said, “Hey man you got a lot of nerve wearing all that Washington sh*t.” I didn’t say anything back because I was so joyed over the victory, but it did pop into my mind to say “Hey man, you have a lot of nerve wearing that Warriors gear because that’s one of the worst teams I’ve ever seen play.”
One perspective that needs to be provided to fans who didn’t watch this game, I’ve never seen more inept defensive ball club than the Golden State Warriors. Gilbert tip-toed his way to 43 and 13. He had to do nothing more than beat his initial man and it was over, honestly. All other men in yellow just gaped at the defender who got beat, not thinking once about helping, fouling or really doing anything. I imagine Don Nelson holds team meetings with a bottle of gin and a loaded gun. When a team member raises his hand and asks about defense, Nelson picks up the loaded gun, gets a crazy look in his eye and says “back to the offense now…”
The Wizards can’t take too much from this victory, other than solace in beating a team they should beat. Doing that is a big step in the right direction. The team has the goods to compete with the best, and not saying we are/can be a contender, I’m just saying on any given night, our boys can pull it out. We beat Cleveland easily, we took the Celtics down to the wire, won on opening night in Dallas, etc. What’s been screwing us in our collective behind is that we can’t beat the measly sub .500 teams of the league, of which there’s an abundance. Indiana, Toronto, Sacramento, LAC, the list goes on and on.
It was nice to see some killer instinct in Golden State, but the Warriors did everything they could to beat themselves. After Monta, “I’m the next 30 ppg scorer in the league” Ellis brought Golden State back within three with a minute and a half left, the Warriors couldn’t get him the ball. Instead, Corey Maggette took an uncomfortable step back J. If you know NBA basketball, you know Corey Maggette’s game has nothing to do with moving away from the hoop. The man has made a career on barreling into the lane. And this is the shot they choose with the game on the line?
Hey, at least it’s nice to know there is far inferior basketball being played out there. The game left me with some hope. Gilbert’s handles may still not be there, but he’s getting his swag back slowly and surely. The Wiz are still down, but they ain’t out.