It has been said that what once was never will be again. In Oakland, California what once was horrible is good, empty is now full, and once quiet is raucous as hell. Don’t look now, but the Golden State Warriors might be for real.
Not too long ago they were horrible, the laughingstock of the Bay Area’s Sports teams next to the Oakland Raiders. Following the Baron Davis led, “We Believe” team that made the Playoffs in 2007, they had a string of six consecutive years where they didn’t qualify for the Playoffs. Fans were fed up to the point where they booed Owner Joe Lacob at beloved Warrior Chris Mullen’s Jersey Retirement Ceremony in 2012. They were too devoted to watch their team become this horrible, they wanted results and they wanted them now. Lacob that night knew he had things to change, and he did just that.
It started with him hiring tough minded former NBA Point Guard and ESPN Analyst Mark Jackson as Head Coach to whip the team into shape by emphasizing defense first, while at the same time showing them if they could defend they had all the tools to score as many points as they wanted. They took Klay Thompson from Washington State in the 2011 NBA Draft, who has formed with Superstar Stephen Curry the Dynamic Duo known as, “The Splash Brothers”. The next go around in 2012 they took Harrison Barnes from North Carolina, who has become a great role player in his first year at Golden State next to Curry and Thompson to take pressure off them. In signing David Lee they gained toughness at the Power Forward Position and a sure fire All-Star. They traded the black hole in Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut, a first round pick at Center who had been banged up throughout his career but has shown he can now be a catalyst Center for years to come with this team if he remains healthy. They traded for Jarret Jack in 2012 from Philadelphia for a Draft Pick, now Jack has become a great dribble drive Point Guard that can get into the lane and create room for the Splash Brothers to bomb threes all day. Before anyone knew it, the Golden State Warriors were 47-35 and back in the NBA Playoffs. The fans? Couldn’t have been happier.
The Warriors lost Game 1 to Denver, and in the process lost David Lee for the remainder of the season to a hip injury. All looked loss in Golden State, with many doubting whether they could win the series without Lee down low to contain Kenneth Faried. And then came the storm known as Stephen Curry, who solidified himself as a Prime Franchise player after putting up 29 points in Game 2 to end the Nuggets Franchise Record 24 Home Game winning streak and followed it up with a 29 point game in Game 3 at Oracle Arena as well as a 22 point third quarter to propel Golden State to a 3-1 series lead after 4 Games.
So now the Warriors return to Oracle Arena with a 3-2 lead after a loss on Tuesday at Denver on Thursday Night. Where the fans for the first time in quite a while will have something to cheer about, the chance to get to the Second Round of the Playoffs. It’s quite possible that Oracle Arena could be the loudest crowd in the NBA next to Oklahoma City. So Welcome to the TerrorDome, as Public Enemy once said once Upon a Time. Where they yell, curse, and they cheer the hell out of their beloved Warriors. Their team reflects their great city, fans and population in a nutshell. Underdogs, who no one gave a chance to yet in the end through hard work have proven themselves worthy of the newfound praise. That’s why they cheer, yell, and scream at any chance they get. They love when their team puts effort and passion into how they play, something they haven’t seen in quite awhile. When they see it, they embrace it and show their support tenfold. That’s why they bring signs and paint faces, because they care, and because they love their new look Warriors. They have turned Oracle Arena into the 8th Wonder of the World, the madhouse of the National Basketball Association. What was once full of boos and empty seats resembles that of a High-School/College crowd gone pro. The fans have sold out every Game this Series, and have turned it into a madhouse in the process. They hold up signs, they smash thunder sticks together, and above all have shown the National Audience they are able to tip the scale of a Game just by being there. What Denver will walk into on Thursday Night will be like nothing they have ever witnessed or heard in their entire Basketball Careers so far. For the first time in a while Golden State’s fans have something to cheer for, and Thursday night they will do just that.
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