Deadspin associate editor Rick Chandler was at the Oracle Arena in Oakland last night to watch the Golden State Warriors finish off the Dallas Mavericks. Here's his account of the experience.
All right! Uncle! I'll say I believe, but to be truthful it's all still quite remarkably unbelieveable, even now that it's over. Was that Stephen Jackson hitting seven 3-pointers? Was that Woody Harrelson sitting next to Snoop Dogg? Was that Baron Davis taking it to the hole on a pulled hammy? Was this the Bay Area's Kirk Gibson moment?
When Matt Barnes dunked in Dirk Nowitzki's grill with 2:15 remaining in the third, giving the Warriors an 80-57 lead, it suddenly dawned on us in the upper reaches of Section 217 that it would have been a bigger upset if Dallas had won this series. As a lifelong Warriors fan who has only heard stories of the former Glory Times — the '74-'75 NBA title run — this was delicious beyond belief. For the first time since 1991, the Warriors are thinking about the immediate future following a first-round playoff series. To put that into perspective, the final points of that series win over the Spurs were scored by Tom Tolbert.
Tom was seated a few rows below us on Thursday ... 42, to be exact. But his seats weren't as good as those of Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson, who were really into the game. Kate, in fact, did considerably more jumping than Nowitzki and had nearly as good a field goal percentage. Owen emoted far better than at any point in Wedding Crashers. At halftime I saw Ronnie Lott in the restroom, considered giving him the Larry David peek, but decided against it. As for the crowd, its the first time I've witnessed everyone standing for the entire second half of a pro sporting event. But there was an uncomfortable lull during the second quarter, just after Davis left with a pulled hamstring. It was odd seeing so many people wearing the same color t-shirt and sitting on their hands.
But then the third quarter arrived, The Beard was back and Oracle Arena began shaking once again.
Side note: The Warriors gave out "I Believe" signs on Thursday, which I noticed were sponsored by Comcast. For anyone who has made an appointment with that particular company to show up and hook up your cable, that slogan is really the only way to keep your spirits up.
At one time I was a newspaper beat reporter who covered the Oakland A's. On arriving for the game at the Coliseum one afternoon, I drove up to my customary parking spot to find an elephant in it, munching hay. The circus was in town and playing the adjacent Oakland Arena, which was what the Oracle was called at the time.
Up until yesterday, that was the biggest surprise I've had at that building. Note to the rest of the NBA: For the duration of the playoffs, the Warriors are now the elephant in the room.