Yikes. So much for our prediction of the Warriors in 6. But hey, we're homers, so what can we say. We'd take The City in 6 over the four horsemen of the apocalypse with Satan at center - and find a way to justify it. Satan struggles to pass out of the double-team on the low block.
That said, the Game 2 loss due to missed free throws now looks really, really bad. This would still have been an easily salvageable series at 2-2, but instead it's 3-1. I'm not going to lie, it doesn't look real good.
But to some degree, I think we all saw a game like this coming, even those of us who are huge fans (although I didn't expect it to come at home). All the analysts were saying for weeks that eventually The City would go cold for a game or shoot themselves out of a game. Both finally happened tonight. What's amazing though is that this was The City's 10th game of the playoffs, and yet the first game where they really finally went cold. That's stunning when you think about it.
Conversely, what's interesting is that Golden State led the NBA in points in the paint this year (look it up if you don't believe me, it's actually true). Of course, that's spread out over a full season. But when you're forced to play a team like the Jazz for a series, with their dominant interior presence, you can throw that stat out.
While there's no denying Utah played well, and Carlos "Acne Monster" Boozer turned in an incredible performance, the Warriors just didn't look right tonight. And trust me, if anyone knows that, we do. And it didn't really seem to be the direct result of the Utah defense, but instead a mental thing. The City didn't push the ball tonight when they could have, Baron was strangely reticent for most of the game, he didn't drive into the lane much and that really high tempo energy game just wasn't there. The team pretty much decided to shoot jumpers all night, with the exception of Biedrins, who fought hard down low and played a very solid game. But when Andris Biedrins is the best player on the floor for the Warriors, they ain't going to win many games.
Plus J-Rich was AWFUL. And that's an understatement. He seemed to forget that he's very capable of driving to the basket. And not only that, but he got a flagrant foul at the end of the game by pulling down Okur (who really shouldn't be going in for a dunk when up 10 with the game decided). Immediately I was concerned they might suspend J-Rich for Game 5, but that might not be a bad thing considering how poorly he played.
So it's pretty bleak now, and the Warriors home court armor has been knocked off. But as Dwyermaker said to me, if there's any team that can pull out a series down 3-1, it's these Warriors. And I have to agree with him. This team had its back against the wall for the entire last month of the season and played some incredible ball against some good to great teams. Well, we're back at that point again. The Warriors have their backs to the wall. It'll be interesting to see if they respond the same way they did during the regular season.