Friday, December 15, 2006

Golden State Warriors Entertaining Night

I treated myself to a Golden State Warriors basketball game tonight and boy was it worth every penny. When I heard that the Houston Rockets with Yao Ming would be in town for their only game in Oakland this season, I couldn't resist. I guess you could say Yao fever hit me. Arriving at Oracle Arena (Oakland Coliseum West) I saw that I wasn't the only one looking to get a glimpse of 7ft6in Yao. And Yao did not disappoint, putting up 38pts and playing better than I knew he could.

But the show belonged to Baron Davis (34pts) and the Warriors. A game that seemed to have a life all its own ended with a rousing 10 seconds of tension and elation as Baron sunk a three pointer with 1.2 seconds left to lift the Warriors over the Rockets 109-107. Though Yao had won the battle, Baron won the war.

Last time I considered watching a Warriors game it was like making a dental appointment. In anticipation of the pain to come I'd waited until the last minute (last game of season) to see them play and the actual game was true to the pain I'd envisioned. But this game tonight was no such thing, and Baron Davis's surrounding cast might have been the difference.

For the folks who don't know, there's a young star with mad game in the line-up for the Warriors these days. His name is Monta Ellis, he wears number 8 and he's about 18 months removed from playing at Lanier HS (Jackson, MS). Did I say how nasty he is? He's got a game that appears so smooth and seasoned for such a young player. A team player who isn't afraid to take his shots.

The big suprise for me tonight was the 80% attendance of asian fans that showed up. Wow, I didn't know the asian culture loved basketball so much. Young, old and a few prenatal, the asian community came out in full force to support the Warriors as well as get a glimpse of their homeland superstar Yao Ming.

One other hightlight of the evening was the moment of silence for the late great Paul Azirin, who at 78 years old passed away in his sleep Tuesday night. The announcer reminded the crowd that Paul, a hall of famer, was chosen one of the NBA's 50 greatest players of all time at the NBA 50th anniversary ceremony held during the 1996 all-star game.

As good as young Monta Ellis is predicted to become, It is Baron Davis who wears the Warriors leadership crown. Because when the game is on the line and you need someone to step up and make a play, Baron delivers. He did it tonight in BD fashion and looked good doing it. The 2006 version of Baron Davis is slimmed down, muscle tight and more upbeat than ever. Hopefully his newly styled conditioning will see him less on the injured list and more on the court leading the Warriors to that long awaited playoff birth that's been so elusive and unreachable these last 13 years.

I will be attending another Warriors game or two before seasons end. Who knows, dare I say playoffs?

Other moments:

-Adonal Foyle articulated a warm thank you and happy holidays to all Warriors fans.

-During the teams' instroduction they came onto the court with gifts for the excitedly lucky kids lined up on the court.

-The Warrior Cheerleaders. What can I say. Sure they look young and shake their booty more than show any real gymnastic type ability. Sure some are underdeveloped below the waist and supersized above it, but me complain? I say put a few dancing poles at midcourt and let'em have a go at an adults only show. I'm a good tipper. Go Warriors!

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