Pre-Game: Pork Store (Restroom)
The usual inspired graffiti: “I hate techies.” “I ate techies.” And then this:
“Hipster Techie Go Home.” It’s crossed out with what might be lipstick and underneath is written
“Shut up dipshit Poser fake local from Cleveland.”
Mmm. I grew up in Cleveland.
Let the games begin.
First Quarter: Pork Store
Kind of quiet here at tip off, but before the first half of the first quarter, the bar is overflowing into the dining room.
The Cavs announce their defensive strategy will be to give up 2 point shots to prevent 3 point shots.
Not a bad strategy against the Dubs. A couple times, Dubs’ Center Zaza Pachulia was so shocked to be left wide open under the basket he couldn’t shoot.
The problem for the Cavs is this: other than Pachulia, the Dubs really like easy 2s. They go dunk crazy and score 35 which is an excellent quarter.
The Cavs keep it close with 30.
The Dubs play defense with energy but seem out of sync.
I’m laughing to myself about the bathroom graffiti and wonder if it matters that I’ve lived 40 years in the Mission (with time off for good behavior). Probably not.
Second Quarter: Giordanos
Whatever you think of Tech the Dubs are Tech’s Team. Before Tech took over the Bay Area, the Dubs were a bunch of misfit castoffs who provided off-beat entertainment for stoners coming to East Oakland to buy weed. Now look at them – awash in VC cash, plugged into every new data hose and advanced analytic in the Valley, a roster stocked with the same freakishly long arms, and they’re building a brand new Pleasure Dome in Mission Bay.
No one would mistake Giordanos for a Pleasure Dome. Especially when it’s packed like it is tonight.
As the second quarter unwinds, the Cavs begin to look like posers.
Because the Dubs have turned up the heat on defense. They force eight Cav turnovers from steals, interceptions, blocks, and an offensive foul on LeBron James as he crashes into KD. Eight turnovers is a lot for one quarter.
Tech can help improve your defense by breaking down individual and team habits of your opponents and serving up a variety of stats. In the end, good defense demands intense physical and mental effort; an effort most players either can’t or won’t put out. The Dubs can, and they do in the second quarter.
But they only lead by eight at the half, 60-52, after misfiring on several layups.
Turnovers at the end of the first half: Cavs 12, Dubs 1
Halftime: Walking the Dog
Tonight’s thought experiment comes courtesy of reddit.
A girl in your class asks you to translate a paper for her. She’s bad and you’ve been after her for months. She wants you to come to her place at 5 and the paper should take two hours to complete. But the game starts at 6. What do you do? What, someone asks, would Klay do?
Third Quarter: Gestalt
During the playoffs, most folks in Gestalt busied themselves playing pinball, or drinking with their backs to the big screen. Not tonight. The place is full and people are intent on the game. A couple guys next to me – Hector and Pat – argue who is the better, the more pure, point guard: Kyrie or Steph?
Steph and KD lead a 10-0 charge coming out of half-time that puts the Cavs on their heels.
All of them: Steph, Klay, Andre Iguodala – all heavily invested in tech. Iguodala, came here explicitly to become a tech VC when his playing days end. And though many say KD’s a ring chaser, he’s at a stage in his life, as he’s said, where he has to think about his post-basketball career. KD had a lot of reasons for coming here. Tech was undoubtedly one of the big ones.
With two minutes left in the third quarter, KD is not thinking about his tech investments (hopefully). It’s still a game and LeBron has the ball at the top of the key, facing the basket. KD guards him tightly.
LeBron bulls his way down the lane, but KD sticks with him like a seven-foot leech, forcing an errant shot. On that play, KD, stopping the unstoppable, exemplified the kind of defense his team played in the second and third quarters.
KD’s sparkling defense results in another Curry 3 and the Cavs are all but buried.
Fourth Quarter: Elixir and San Pancho
The fourth quarter is anti-climatic. I walk back and forth across Guerrero between the Elixir and San Pancho. Both are filled with happy looking fans.
On a night like this, with the wind up and the fog rolling in, posers tend to disappear.
After scoring 30 points in the first quarter, the Cavs score, 22, 20 and 19. Although Klay Thompson and Draymond Green had sub-par offensive games, they led the Dubs’ defensive charge.
And Steph was Steph – hitting six 3s, setting up open shots for others and being an absolute pest on defense.
But according to LeBron, the big difference between the Dubs this year and the team he faced last year in the Finals? “KD.”
True. KD scored 38 points and played defense like a demon – relentless, vicious, and ruthless – qualities highly prized in a certain valley south of Golden State.