We all know the Golden State Warriors have the best record in the league, the MVP, the General Manager of the year, and the loudest fans in the league. And probably the best team -- but they have to win the title before you can say that. So what is it like to sit ON their bench during a playoff game?? Well, me and my friend, Gil, got to do exactly that last night and it was IN-CRED-I-BLE. Not exactly on the bench, but the two seats next to the end of the bench. Were we as lucky as can be? Absolutely. Can you share in our good fortune by looking at my photos below? Yes again. Read on and Scroll down.
The Warriors came back from an early 23-10 deficit to blow away the Grizz 98-78 and take command of the series 3 games to 2. GS is 52-0 this year when taking a lead of 15 or more points in a game. The crowd was deafening, and Steph was his usual scintillating self (6 threes and 6 steals). But to be shoulder to shoulder with 7'2" center Andrew Bogut and foot to foot with Dre Igoudala? To chat with "The Blur" Barbosa; To slap Draymond on the shoulder to start the second half/ To listen to Coach Steve Kerr urge him team to move the ball better: Crazy ridiculous.
Memphis wore their same light blue road uniforms that they wore for their game 2 victory at Roracle, but did not get the outcome they hoped for. The Warrior fans really influenced the game during the last three minutes of the first and most of the second quarter when the Dubs got hot. The arena exploded in a way that changed the entire flow of the game. The Grizzlies got out of sync and never recovered enough to get back into game. The end of the bench (us included) got up and raised their three outside fingers every time a teammate launched a three and then they roared with delight if the shot went in. (See Barbosa's three fingers below.)
Harrison Barnes (Mr. Posture) has been quite noteworthy these last two games. His extra energy, his defense, his aggressiveness in going to the basket and his draining of threes has given the Dubs another dependable scorer to make Klay and Steph's outside game even more lethal. Barnes leaping ability is on full display in a photo below.
Andre Igoudala was also key to the victory last night as he shot 7 for 10 from the field and finished with 16 big points. See his sneaker right next to mine! He did hurt his knee/ thigh sometime late in the game and left the court with a huge icepack and a look of concern. Hopefully, he will recover by Friday's Game 6 in Memphis, which my son and his new friend, Sam, will be attending in Memphis. Yes, loving the NBA does run in the family.
What was most noteworthy about sitting so close to the Golden State team was the confidence and clear purpose the team exhibited throughout the game. Barbosa told us not to worry when the team was down big early. There was also a comfort level and ease amongst the players that was very apparent. It can be seen in images below in the laughter of Draymond (relatively quiet night for him but when was the last time you saw a power forward have 9 assists?) Bogut laughed a lot as well. Gil almost got a high five from David Lee as Lee came out of the game and went down the bench, (photo also), but unfortunately stopped abruptly before slapping Gil.
I did get to photograph some celebrities and I have shared those as well. Floyd Mayweather sat at the scorer's table--tough to get a good photo as his enormous bodyguard (with a gold chain saying "tiny") moved me out of the way. Also pictured is Steph's wife, Ayesha, and Steph's Dad, Dell Curry, exiting the game after the win. And finally, celebrities in my world: my comrade, Gil, and my wife, Nancy, and daughter, Liza.
A fun time doesn't quite describe how special our experience was. Hoping the Dubs keep the title dream alive by winning on Friday night. Bring on the L.A. Clippers!!!