For the first time since the 1993/1994 season, the Golden State Warriors have won 50 games! And for the first time since the 90/91 and 91/92 seasons, the Dubs punched their tickets to back-to-back playoff appearances. This from a team that, in the interim, had eight seasons where they lost 50 or more games—four of those being 60+ loss seasons. We endured that. We deserve this.
By taking care of the Minnesota Timberwolves last night, winning 130-120, the Warriors have secured the 6th seed in the Western Conference, that much is certain. What remains somewhat, slightly unsettled is which team they will face in the first round. As it stands right now, the L.A. Clippers are the 3rd seed, which would make them the Warriors' opponent, but if some crazy voodoo happens (OKC Thunder losing at home to the Detroit Pistons), the Thunder would end up as our foe. That's not gonna happen, so the Clippers it is.
Ah, the Clippers. Let's go back to this last Christmas when a gentle snow fell on the the Bay Area, family dinners were sprinkled with insightful and sober political discussion, and the Warriors and Clippers shook hands after a game well-played. Yeah, none of that happened, especially that last part. What did happen was a Draymond Green elbow to the Clippers' Blake Griffin's head, resulting in a flagrant foul and ejection, with a technical foul on Griffin. Then, Andrew Bogut found Griffin's head, resulting in a flagrant for Bogut and a second technical for Griffin resulting in his ejection. Benches cleared, holiday shoves and pleasantries were exchanged, and a with a Warriors 105-103 win, a truly Merry Christmas was had.
And now these two teams are on a collision course to a best-of-seven playoff series. This is the one matchup every basketball fan wanted to see. It's going to be high-flying and flashy, but brutal and physical series. It's going to be their Chris Paul against our Steph Curry, their Griffin and our David Lee, and maybe most importantly, their DeAndre Jordan on our Andrew Bogut.
Aaaaand Andrew Bogut has a fractured rib.
That's the bad news, folks. A fractured rib that could potentially puncture his lung. He'll be out for weeks. Thankfully the playoffs don't start until, um, well, this weekend. Crap.
Beating the Clippers in the playoffs was going to be an exceedingly difficult task when fully healthy. With Bogut in a suit on the bench, we're approaching damn-near-impossible territory. Bogut is one of the NBA's best defensive players (sounds strange, but it's true). He takes up a lot of space underneath the rim and is one of the stingiest in giving up points in the paint. But more than than, he is a crafty, sneaky player. He gets into opponents' heads--he says things and does things that the mics and cameras don't always pick up that really, really irritate them. He's the big man, the enforcer, and (literally) the center of this Warriors team. The Dubs needed him to carry them, but now someone else will have to be Hodor.
The playoffs haven't even started, so it sure as hell ain't over, but that's Warriors' basketball for you: win 50 games, secure the 6th seed in the playoffs, lose your starting center.
Let's cheer up. Here's a picture of a baby bunny.