As a faux fan, you probably knew the Mission Bay Dubs (aka Golden State Warriors) won the NBA Finals, and you’re ready to move on.
Not so fast!
On Monday comes the big parade. Which means another street party. It will get covered by international TV, press, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok and various podcasts, so extras are needed to fill in the crowd.
Festivities begin at approximately 11:20 a.m. end around 2 p.m., and will probably include cameos and clichés from the local favorites.
It likely won’t be as raucous as Thursday night, but will be a good opportunity to show SF haters a more vibrant and fun face of the City than they usually get from the dour national media.
In case you’ve forgotten, here are some key player names. When speaking of them, remember to use first names or nicknames: Stephen (“Steph”) Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala (“Iggy”), Kevon Looney (“Loon”), Andrew Wiggins (“Wiggs”), Jordan Poole, and Gary Payton II (“GP2”).
Crushed in among “authentic” fans, you may feel the need to show you are minimally conversant with what just happened. Here are some notes.
Despite the adulation of Steph Curry (well deserved!!), the Dubs’ victory once again underscored that basketball is a team game. The Dubs play as a team: They share, help, talk, trust, rely and move in sync with each other. At their best, they play basketball ballet.
Credit the Dubs’ game, unique in the NBA, to coach Steve Kerr. Yes, he has transcendent players. But Kerr consistently keeps everyone involved, blends strengths and weaknesses, and weaves disparate pieces into a whole.
(Managers take note).
On the other hand, though the Boston Celtics play solid team defense, their offense consists basically of two guys who grew up freelancing. They learned to pass the ball this year, but throughout the series anyone could see they still have a lot to learn.
Time and again the Dubs forced the Celtics out of their comfort zone. Their tendency to lose the ball, either through a bad pass, a bad decision or a foolish shot, was not an accident.
The Dubs, behind Steph, scored enough points, but defense won the championship.
That defense, led by Draymond (a defensive savant), included outstanding play by Wiggs, Loon, GP2, Klay and Steph. Wait. Steph? Outstanding defense? Yes. Time and again, the Celtics attacked him because of his stature, and time and again he stood up to guys who were a half-foot taller and ten years younger, a personification of the battlecry “¡NO PASARÁN!” (“They shall not pass”) in basketball shorts.
The turning point came in Game 4 in Boston. The Celtics had shellacked the Dubs in Game 3 to take a 2-1 lead, with Celtic fans obscenely heckling Draymond into probably the worst playoff game of his career. Even his mother expressed her dismay. Two days later, he got revenge.
Game 4 will probably become known for Steph’s scoring (43 points), which was critical. But it also marked the point when Draymond and the Dubs’ defense appeared to figure out how to consistently shut down Boston. Scoring 100 points in a game should be considered more or less average. The Celtics scored 97 points in Game 4, 94 in Game 5 and 90 in Game 6.
It is worth noting that, through 2022, the Celtics, in addition to having the best defense in the league, also had the best offensive rating, which continued through the first round of the playoffs, then faltered some, before the Dubs put them to bed.
Game 5 displayed another aspect of the Dubs’ team game. With the Celtics defense keyed to stop Steph from scoring, others, including Klay, Jordan and especially Wiggs, took up the slack.
Back in Boston for Game 6, the Celtics struck first with a 14-2 start. Then the Dubs defense took over, and behind Jordan, Wiggs, GP2 and Steph (naturally) the offense kicked into gear.
Game 6 also demonstrated the value of the Dubs’ experience. It was a game of ebbs and flows. The Dubs scored 21 unanswered points and took a double-digit lead. The Celtics fought back. The Dubs took a double-digit lead again. The Celtics fought back again. With five minutes left in the game, the Celtics had cut the lead to 8. The Dubs didn’t lose their cool, and finished the game behind timely shots by Wiggs and Steph (who else?), and closed out the game and the Finals, outscoring the Celtics 17-12.
In the end, the Dubs got the champagne, Steph got the Most Valuable Player trophy and fans, authentic and faux alike, got treated to a rare display of team basketball at its most compelling and most breathtaking.
See you Monday.