The Golden State Warriors saw their magical season come to an end Thursday night, as the San Antonio Spurs ended the magical ride that had the Bay Area in a frenzy.
However, the Warriors’ run was far from what anyone expected. Once they escaped the first round, any ensuing success was gravy. They weren’t expected to be this good, this soon.
So, let’s reflect on what a magical ride it was:
April 9th – The Clinch
The Warriors clinched only their second postseason appearance since 1994. The blowout win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, coupled with the loss of the Utah Jazz, meant that they were guaranteed a spot in the postseason. Warriors fans were able to cheer for a postseason team for the first time since 2007. Even in a moment of tremendous accomplishment, head coach Mark Jackson urges his team “don’t you dare go to the baggage claim, because this is just a layover. This is not our final destination,” Jackson said. Celebrate that we got here, but this is not our final destination.”
April 23rd – The Appetizer
After a disappointing Game 1 loss, which included David Lee’s hip flexor tear, the Warriors ended Denver’s 24 home win streak in Game 2. The Warriors scored an insane 131 points on 64.6 percent shooting from the field, and Stephen Curry showed the world his potential, scoring 30 points and 13 dimes. This would mark the beginning of a three-game Warriors win streak which ultimately culminated with them winning the series, and this would also prove to the skeptics just how well the Warriors can play.
May 6th – The Missed Opportunity
The Warriors looked to end a 29-game losing streak to playing in San Antonio as they entered Game 1 of the the second round, and up until 4:00 left of the final quarter, it looked like the Warriors would do just that. Stephen Curry scored 44 points and compiled 11 assists. He led Golden State to a 16-point advantage as the game clock winded down, but poor shot selection, turnovers and Tony Parker’s resurgence put the Spurs back in the game. The game went to overtime, then double overtime, where Manu Ginobili scored the go-ahead three to win the game.
May 8th – The Victory
Klay Thompson lead his team to their first victory over the Spurs in San Antonio since 1997. He made eight of his nine three-point attempts and scored 29 points in a half, the most points scored in a playoff half against coach Gregg Popovich’s Spurs. Thompson finished the night with 34 points and 14 rebounds. Jackson said, ”I truly believe that trials and tribulations are transportation for where you’re going. Game 1 made us better. We didn’t panic. We made plays.”
May 16th – The Final Buzzer
The Warriors lose Game 6 to San Antonio in the Oracle, and the Spurs put an end to a magical playoff run. Golden State went into Game 6 down 3-2, and played the entire game with their backs to the wall. By the time Game 6 came around, it was clear the Warriors were not at 100 percent, with Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut dealing with ankle issues, and David Lee playing on one leg after tearing his right hip flexor.
Even during the game, the Warriors experienced another injury, as Harrison Barnes took a hard fall right before halftime, one that left him with a gash above his right eye. Barnes returned back to game with six stiches and a swollen eye, but he only played for one more quarter. The Warriors trailed for most of the game and nearly eliminated the San Antonio lead late in the fourth, but clutch three-pointers Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker ended the run.