Dub Nation's heroes are looking to sweep the Pelicans on a back-to-back

Golden State Warriors, assemble!!!

The Golden State Warriors 123-108 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans was a simulcast like never before. If you were watching the local NBC Sports Bay Area feed, you saw a normal broadcast with the friendly homegrown tandem of Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike. But if you caught the ESPN2 feed, you caught basketball’s most bizarre cross promotional event since Dennis Rodman joined forces with “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan.

The ESPN2 feed, entitled “NBA Special Edition Presented by State Farm: Marvel's Arena of Heroes”, was basically Disney’s creative team turning the game presentation into NBA Jams with superior graphics but cornier commentary.

(I can’t hate on Disney’s using basketball players as marketing for their movie franchises. One of my first writing gigs was creating alter-egos for NBA players…as food!)

It was a daring tie-in with special timing. Marvel had just launched an exciting trailer before the game for their next phase of content, and ESPN had Stephen Curry and Zion Williamson on the schedule that night. Those two ballers are loaded with powers from any sequential artist’s fantasies: the smaller Curry’s dashing quickness and mystical ball wizardry, stylistically opposed to Williamson’s brute strength and freakish athleticism.

But as is par for the course in the superhero genre, there were some super-friends who helped save the day. Let’s get into last night’s battle between these two teams before they play again tonight!

Curry will be the best player in any play-in game

One theme I keep hearing repeated is that nobody wants to chase Curry around in a high stakes play-in game. The NBA’s leading scorer demonstrated exactly why against a desperate Pelicans team trying to knock the Dubs out of the bracket. Curry smacked New Orleans with a 17-point first quarter, and then blasted them for 15 more in the third quarter.

He finished with 41 points on the night (and dished out 8 assists), an offensive barrage that was everything that the ESPN/Marvel producers were salivating for. I mean, when their artists were setting up how all the graphics were gonna work, they HAD to be envisioning Curry hitting a sick finishing move on some hapless defender right? I know New Orleans’ motto is #WontBowDown but…Eric Bledsoe had to bow down.

SHEESH. That deadly combo was flagrant enough without the cartoony disrespect layered on top. I can’t imagine being Bledsoe’s family watching their guy get hit with 50 megatons of Splash Force.

Zion vs Draymond is worth price of admission

Curry stole the show, but it wasn’t for lack of effort from the second year monster Williamson. Listed at 6-foot-7, 285 pounds, this burly dynamo scored 32 points on 12-of-24 shooting from the field. He’s basically unguardable in transition, and can generate a head of steam so quickly that it feels like he’s always getting downhill.

Thankfully, the Warriors have a hero on the defensive end named Draymond Green who made Williamson work for his buckets. The best of Williamson came when Green wasn’t guarding him; the former defensive player of the year held the youngster to 5-of-12 shooting. Green did an excellent job of matching Williamson’s physicality around the rim while daring him to shoot whenever the big fella was deep out in Curry range.

The smoke trails on that airball were messed up LOL.

Check out The Athletic’s Anthony Slater highlighting footage of their battle, accompanied by postgame quotes from Green and his coach Steve Kerr.

Curry and Williamson were the key attractions on Disney’s cartoon night, but it was Green who took home Marvel Hero (cue heroic music). Green’s 10 point, 13 rebound, 15 assist triple-double was punctuated by his 3 steals and 2 blocks. He also had a game high +21 plus/minus, giving the Pelicans fits all night.

Andrew Wiggins: #22 on the court, but #1 in your heart

We weren’t sure if Two-Way Wiggs was gonna play last night as he dealt with knee soreness, but the man showed up to get busy anyway. In a Golden State season marred by freak injuries, Wiggins has played every single game. I used to roll my eyes every time someone said the “best ability is availability” but Wiggins is showing the benefits of having a guy who is gonna show up every night playing defense and helping on offense.

His 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting were crucial to the Dubs’ effort last night, including 12 points in the fourth quarter to close the game out. But it was his defense that really caught my eye: New Orleans scored 6 points on 4-of-14 shooting when Wiggins was the primary defender.

As a staunch early supporter of Wiggins Island, I felt a tear come to my eye when Wiggins gushed about the benefits of playing Warriors basketball:

Timeshares at Wiggins Island are filling up fast, DM me if you want some of that beachfront property!

Moving On

If you haven’t checked out our Eric Apricot’s latest E1P on the brilliance of Juan Toscano-Anderson, I implore you to do so ASAP so you can learn the true power of JTA’s game. Meanwhile Golden State’s job is not done yet folks, as the Pelicans will be looking for payback tonight.

The game starts at 5PM Pacific time. WAIT ARE THE WARRIORS IN THE 8TH SEED?!