No one will remember that the Golden State Warriors beat the New Orleans Pelicans in Game 3 by a score of 123-119 in overtime last night. What they will remember that the Warriors were down 20 points in the fourth quarter a playoff game and still came back to win. In doing so they went up 3-0 in this Western Conference playoff series and obliterated the spirit of a Pelicans team who, up 89-69 at the beginning of the 4th quarter, momentarily thought it could beat the Dubs in this series.
The Warriors got their asses handed to them in an ugly first three quarters at something actually called the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Behind the iconically browed Anthony Davis (29 points, 15 rebounds), the Pelicans had torched Golden State’s golden defense for 63 points in the first half. But Davis would disappear entirely when the Warriors roared back.
It was the third-largest 4th quarter comeback in playoff history. Amazingly, Golden State did it with Steph Curry shooting ice cold from three-point range. But Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes rebounded everything that Steph and every other player on the court clanked for a tide-turning run of easy scores.
Curry didn’t hit a single three-point shot during the Warriors’ 39-point 4th quarter until just 12 seconds were left. But that shot brought the Warriors to within 2. His next three would consummate the 20-point late-game comeback and send the game to overtime.
The overtime period was just the perfunctory finishing of a shellshocked team that had just blown a 20-point fourth quarter lead at home. Two quick threes by Curry put the Warriors ahead on cruise control, and it only felt close for a second when Draymond Green fouled out. This turned to schadenfreude for Warriors fans, as the fool announcers on TNT declared that Andrew Bogut covering Anthony Davis would be a nightmare mismatch problem for the Warriors. Bogut promptly forced Davis to miss his chance at the overtime game-winning shot.
In the same game, we saw New Orleans fans headed for the exits both when the team was impossibly ahead (89-69, beginning of 4th quarter) and when the team was impossibly behind (121-119, :06 left in overtime with Curry about to shoot free throws).
Want a dorky-fab mind-blowing stat? The NBA on ESPN notes on Twitter, “Warriors have NEVER won down 20 entering the 4th quarter in the shot clock era. They have gone 0-356 in such tries.” This was in a playoff game. The win puts every other NBA contender on notice that these Golden State Warriors are never, ever out of a playoff game, no matter the score.
I have only once ever carried a broom as a taunting mechanism to go watch a playoff game with my team up 3-0 in a series. It was Game 4 when the Giants went for the sweep against the Texas Rangers in 2010. (You’ll recall they won.) It’s a balls move to take a broom to watch a playoff game, you will inevitably be blamed for jinxing if the team falls behind. People will think you are taunting fate.
Ignore this. The team’s fucking good, and being up 3-0 in a playoff series is a rare and special thing in life. Go ahead get a broom out to watch Game 4 (Saturday, 5 p.m., ESPN). Heck, carry it around with you all day everywhere you go before the game. Because with a 3-0 series lead after one of the greatest playoff comebacks ever, these Warriors are thinking sweep.