There is no team that embodies the feeling of wanting to shut off your Playstation and whip your controller at the wall more than the Warriors.
They’re everyone’s favorite team on NBA 2K, who isn’t a Lebron acolyte of course, and it’s really hard trying to contain Steph Curry and Co. when you’re not an NBA coach savvy enough to make adjustments against guys playing video games with an open bag of Cheetos and a paper towel within arms reach.
If Curry isn’t getting open, then it’s Andrew Wiggins, Klay Thompson, or Jordan Poole launching a 3 with your little digital player so far away that he goes to rebound when you hit triangle to contest the shot. By the middle of the third quarter, like in real life, it’s a shooting clinic and the lead is ballooning to the point of wondering if the XP is worth the aggravation. It’s even more upsetting that you can’t call bullshit on how unrealistic it is as is the case when other teams erupt for bottomless 3s within the span of a four five-minute quarters.
Eventually, you’re yelling at the TV, “Cool, bro, you picked the fucking Warriors!” followed by another stream of profanity and the crack of plastic hitting drywall.
However, it’s Golden State’s ability in real life to make professional NBA defenses look amateurish that’s so impressive. The Celtics are a great team defensively, but were left leaving poor Al Horford on an island against Curry in the fourth quarter, with Ime Udoka tilting on the sidelines, squeezing the sticks so tight you think he might just snap them in two.
The preferred defense of 2K is selecting your big man and standing in the paint to contest dunk attempts, so it’s not uncommon to see that strategy’s smarter brother employed by NBA coaches against the Warriors to take advantage of Draymond Green’s lack of shooting. And it always seems like a good idea at the time.
The little two man action that Curry and Green run to counter it is so smart that gamers and NBA teams alike have copied it. It’s not so much a play as it is a game of keep away, with Green playing the role of “tall kid holding the ball out of reach of small kid” that ends with Curry ducking/passing back and forth enough times to heave an open 3 as Robert Williams stands in the paint.
Arguably the biggest glitch was Wiggins, who performed a fatality on Jayson Tatum’s Finals. He ripped the soul out of the Celtics star, holding him to 13 points in Game 6, including only 2 points in the second half. Over and over again it looked like user error as Tatum’s drives ended in a bailout pass, an awkward in-between shot attempt, or a turnover.
However, to say the former Timberwolf didn’t possess the physical traits — like his athletic ratings haven’t reflected those of an extremely athletic 6-foot-7 No. 1 overall pick — to be a defense stopper when controlled by able thumbs would be the glaring programming oversight. (If you’re wondering if I’m implying that Minnesota is run by the equivalent of a child who’s yet to learn the button layout — yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.)
We’ve all been there, Boston, and the fight the C’s put up against the Final Boss was admirable. The worst part is there’s no reset button or progress to reload. Restarting after logging hours in pursuit of a fake goal is the fucking worst, so I can’t imagine what it’s like when you’ve dedicated your entire life to beating the game and there is no easier setting.
Unfortunately, the Warriors don’t know how to play on any difficulty other than Hall of Fame, and that lends itself to constant, “Fuck you, computer!” moments. There were a few of those at the TD Garden on Thursday night. Any of the 3s that Curry gestured after would’ve set me off. (Please, don’t add the sleepy time and pointing the fourth ring finger celebration animations to 2K23. Boston fans don’t need to be taunted digitally, too.)
The specific moment I’m thinking of though was when Green hit that jumper late in the shot clock in the second half. The one that made Jeff Van Gundy admit that Draymond was feeling it. That’s when I would’ve broken something if it was 2K.