The fog still hangs over Dolores Park this morning. The wind is up, but it’s not coming from the north. An omen?
The basketball talk this morning is almost as foggy: Drake and Pascal Siakam’s Cameroonian story dominate. Talk about how much the Dubs need KD; when KD will come back; where KD will go next year. Talk about how Andre Iguodala may or may not be hurt, but will probably play anyway.
The fog hangs around, in and out. By game time, it’s back to stay.
First Quarter: Pork Store Cafe
The Dubs looked to be in a fog the first game, and Game 2 begins in a similar style. DeMarcus Cousins starts at center, but once again, the Raptors defense is pressing the Dubs offense into bad and missed shots.
Going into the game, many thought that Klay Thompson would be the key. In the early going, he’s not just the key, he’s the lock, the knob, the door.
The few fans at the Pork Store appear to be more interested in the food. The game is kind of a background condiment.
Except for the guy sitting next to me. He gives me a high five
“Klay is hot tonight, man.” I’m wearing a Klay Thompson jersey.
Fortunately, the first quarter goes by very quickly. As soggy as they are playing, the Dubs score better than they did in the first quarter of game one. And DeMarcus Cousins hasn’t hurt himself again.
The Raptors lead by one. It only feels like one hundred.
Second Quarter: Giordano’s
Curry’s as cold as the wind on 16th Street. He has what? Two points. A guy named Fred Van Vleet is defensing the hell out of him. Doris Burke thinks he’s sick or something. Great. No KD. What now? No Curry?
It’s not like Giordano’s is packed. A good crowd, sincerely into the game for the most part. But right now, they are being tested.
Klay Thompson scores on a mid-range shot. Over the next five minutes, the Dubs don’t score another basket. Despair grips Giordano’s. What was once a one-point Raptors lead has ballooned to 12.
The Dubs take bad shots and miss good shots. Toronto’s defense mucks them up and shuts them down.
It’s becoming borderline unwatchable.
And then. Oh no!! Iguodala hobbles off to the locker room.
A blowout in the making.
And then, it’s not.
Why? What happened?
For starters, in the last five minutes, Toronto scores only 12 points.
Over that same span, Steph Curry scores 12, and Klay adds five. To our collective exhale, the Dubs trail the Raptors by five at half time.
Third Quarter: The 500 Club
Something happens when the Dubs play their third quarters in The 500 Club.
I used to think it was the atmosphere, the downright orneriness of the clientele. But the fans today are positively … polite.
What? At The 500 Club?
At The 500 Club, the Dubs open the third quarter with an 18-0 run. It begins by stuffing the Raptors offense: by stealing, blocking, harassing and pestering the Raptors into mistakes and misses.
Iguodala sets the tone. Yes. Andre Iguodala’s back and he’s not hobbling?
Far from it. Not only guarding Leonard, Iggy plays a mean offense. Part of the Raptors’ defensive plan is to not guard him. He makes them pay, hitting two big shots to get the ball rolling.
With Kevon Looney out, DeMarcus Cousins takes over center: rebounding with passion and passing with precision.
The Raptors don’t score for almost six minutes, but they manage to post 21 for the quarter. Like the Dubs in the second quarter, the Raptors may have weathered the storm. The Dubs are up by 8.
Fourth Quarter: Elixir Saloon
I wanted to stay at The 500 Club given how well the Dubs were playing. However, the crowd, while definitely into the game, was not roaring insanely, and when the third quarter ended, did not pour outside to smoke.
Time to move on.
The Elixir was less than crowded; a small but friendly vibe.
Things look immediately grim with the Dubs’ bench players on the floor. But Cousins keeps things together until Quinn Cook sinks back-to-back three point shots to give the Dubs a double figure lead.
A woman wearing a “Strength in Numbers” t-shirt cries out in pain when Klay Thompson limps off with a leg injury.
Can the Dubs survive without Klay (and KD, and Kevon Looney)?
Down the stretch, things get ugly for both teams. Tough defense, yes, but players are gassed. Poor decisions, turnovers and bad shots, the Dubs can’t buy the basket that will put the Raptors away. So the Raptors don’t go away.
With 26 seconds, Danny Green hits a three-pointer to bring Toronto within two.
Draymond passes to Curry. He’s trapped. Kawhi Leonard almost intercepts Curry’s desperation pass. Instead Shaun Livingston grabs it and flings it to Iguodala.
Iguodala stands alone on the wing with his back to the camera. Seven seconds left in the game. Iguodala takes a breath. Maybe he’s waiting for a Dub to break open. Maybe he’s waiting for a Raptor to run frantically at him waving a pair of long gangly arms. No one comes. All the Raptors stand watching. Either they are too tired to move, don’t care, or figure he’ll miss anyway. With no other choice, finally, Iguodala shoots.
“IGGY!!!” she shouts when she hugs me. “IGGY!”
Warriors 109. Raptors 105.
It took the Dubs’ grittiest performance to prevail tonight. Despite Iguodala’s heroics, in the end it was very much a “strength in numbers” win. Now it’s on to Oracle. The strength will be there.
Will the numbers?