Given the NBA season suspension, what better time to look back at the 2015 NBA Playoffs run, which ended the 40-year title drought. I’ll post a game every day, which should last us 21 games. Come watch along with me! These articles will be written as if the events were unfolding in real-time. The full series index is here.
You can rewatch along with me here:
Box Score and Explain One Play
GSW 123, NOP 119 Box Score
Explain One Play: A Tale of Two Threes: Key Plays from Game 3 Warriors/Pelicans
Golden Moment: Warriors rundown Pelicans in Game 3, Daniel Hardee’s fantastic personal memoir of watching the game with his family.
Live Game Notes
I have to admit, that Pelicans blood red shirts look pretty cool spread across the arena.
Starting the game, AD attacks just like I told him not to, isolating Draymond at the elbow. AD scores anyway.
NOP keeps giving Klay and Steph room to shoot at the wings and they are firing away quickly in early offense.
Q1.5.33. I think for some players that twisting scoop layup would be the greatest shot they ever hit, but it’s just Thursday at the office for Steph.
Feels like AD is hitting every midrange and getting every offensive rebound.
2.00. Did I mention Leandro Barbosa is the God of Chaos. So far, it’s bad chaos. 0-2 and a turnover for a pick-2.
Beginning of Q2, NOP is just smoking GSW by getting to the paint at will and then kicking out for open jumpers. The GSW bench saved them in Game 2, but not so much today.
Draymond with 2 fouls, and defending like it. Another layup under him.
Oh crap, Ryan Anderson starting to heat up. Pops a 3 in Dray’s face. NOP up 12.
Q2.6.54. Steph runs by Anderson for a pretty layup. The challenge is Anderson has to bomb in more points than he gives up on defense.
Kareem Wilt Anderson tells me to shut up with a power post move to a baby hook shot over Harrison Barnes.
Wtf, Anderson has scored like 11 points in a row. Need to rename the team the New Orleans Pelicandersons.
NOP converts another GSW turnover into a dunk, now up 16. Crowd going nuts. They haven’t been to the playoffs in three years, and it’s nice for the mainly football-town to enjoy some basketball.
End of Q2, NOP can’t quite go from 15-ish up to blowout 20-up.
Tyreke Evans has been unstoppable putting a shoulder down and going straight line at defenders.
GSW is hanging in there, making HORSE shots. Steph with a swivel elbow jumper. Got the lead down to 11 at the half.
Q3.11.30. Trying to work those quick hitters to the wing. Speaking of HORSE shots, Klay gets the highest bouncing shooter’s roll you’ll ever see. Like, the laws of physics probably say that’s the maximum height on a rebound.
AD also tells me to shut up by facing up against Bogut at the elbow canning a jumper. I still think AD is better catching the ball on the move towards the basket. But not tonight.
Another midrange J for AD! I’m taking this personally now.
NOP eases it back to 19 point lead. With Game 3s you often see the home team hit a gear they haven’t shown on the road and the visitors sometimes take a while to adjust to the new energy. GSW running out of time for that.
Another Klay twisting HORSE shot and a phantom foul and-1. There’s got to be a study somewhere that refs are kinder to a team that’s getting blown out.
Q3.4.30. Damn, AD just Charles-Smithed the hell out of Mo Speights under the basket. That might be a confidence breaker for Mo.
Steph a scramble wing 3. None of these scores are coming out of the motion offense. But if GSW can get the lead to — wait for it — single digits by quarter’s end, they will have a puncher’s chance.
Steph shoots a 3 in Ryan’s face. Then Ryan Anderson comes back and Dirks on Klay. What is going on? Ryan, you’re a Cal boy, why are you doing this to the Bay??
Q3.1.53. Gah, Mo got blocked AGAIN, this time by Cunningham. I wonder what is the record for most shots blocked in a quarter.
1.18. Steph with a tough offensive rebound and a sweeeeeet pass to Andre for a dunk. Still down 16, each play still feels like it has to be a highlight to score.
Ryan Anderson posts up Steph and almost pulls off the quick Bill Walton overhead touch pass. Still gets the assist. Where is this coming from?
Ay caramba, ANOTHER Ryan Dirk-jumper. I mean
Q4.6.36. to go and ANOTHER Ryan Dirk-er. Up 15. We are all about to wake up from Ryan Anderson’s favorite dream, right?
Livingston with a tough dunk in Dirk Anderson’s face. But then Anderson with a Kobe pivot foot turnaround jumper. Oh right, this is the episode of Space Jam where Anderson steals all the great big man powers. Can’t wait for the real game to start.
Q4.6.00. That Kobe Anderson shot makes it a 17 point game and probably puts this game out of reach. GSW looks more energetic, so maybe they can get some rhythm and good looks out of the O that they can build on for Game 4. Series doesn’t start until the home team loses, right?
Q4.5.01. Steph jumper in Ryan’s face. Then Shaun drive and score in Ryan’s face. Slices the lead to 13. Maybe this whole Isolating Private Ryan offense can work in Game 4? Force him off the court…
Harrison with a huge putback at 3:30 cuts it to 8. NOP seems to be tightening up a bit, and their misses are finally turning into transition offense for GSW. Hard to score when you’re taking the ball out of the basket after Ryan Anderson puts you on a highlight reel.
This is a very postmodern game. Klay now takes a turn Isolating Private Ryan and throws a Hakeem at him. Every score is like a reference to a classic baller.
It’s a 6 point game with 1:45 to go. It’s actually within Random Ending Territory. Steph is taking some very rushed 3s, which results in wild bounces, which leads to variability, which is probably good. Dray with the putback.
Down 5 with 16 seconds left. GSW needs a 3, then to have NOP miss a free throw to even have a chance. Inbounds to Dray for a Klay and Steph split cut. A sweet Steph pump fake, and maybe gets away with feet shuffling, and a pure 3. Now need a foul and miss.
AD leaves the door open by missing a free throw. This game is practically over though. Basically, up 3, NOP should foul on the inbounds catch, GSW makes 2 FTs, cuts it to 1. GSW fouls… NOP makes 2 FTs, and the cycle continues. Even if NOP misses a FT, GSW will have almost no time to score.
Inbounds, they don’t foul Steph on the catch. Understandable, Steph was turning in a shooting motion, good place to catch it. NOP doesn’t want to 50-50 that ref call.
Steph misses a rushed shot, but the wild bounce goes straight to a hustling Mo Speights, who, let’s face it, really deserved a bit of a break from the universe after getting his shots blocked into his forehead about 8 times today.
My favorite part about this is the video of Dell and Seth trying to high five but forgetting how because their brains are maxed out trying to understand what just happened.
Here’s one of my first video E1Ps on these two threes:
Steph got flattened into two dimensions on the play, obviously it should have been a 4-point play. He stops to argue from Flatland with the ref, so Evans gets a clean look at a flying three which just misses being one of the greatest shots in New Orleans history.
Steph got away with a travel on the first 3, so maybe the no-call on the tying 3 was a make-up call. [2020 Eric: the two-minute report I believe says the first 3 was a travel, the second was an and-1.]
2020 Eric: It’s funny for some things you remember exactly exactly where you were. I was watching on stream at my desk and my elementary age son peeked in from time to time, and he sensibly declared the Warriors done before the two threes. I yelled so loud when Steph tied it, and he came running back in…. and I remember telling him, “SEE? This is why you never give up!”
OT.4.26. Steph on the pindown catch and shoot. That’s a score out of the actual offense, not Isolating Private Ryan or the HORSE mail order catalogue.
OT.3.10. Barnes and Klay both curl off the same down screen, which is surely a mistake, but Barnes hits the 3. I’m not sure the Pels can recover emotionally from that regulation ending. I mean, I still haven’t.
Is there some anime where there’s some power ball that lets you channel the powers of any one NBA great? I think the Pels just gave it to Eric Gordon. Meanwhile, Ryan Anderson has been possibly played off the court by the Isoing Private Anderson strategy. Or maybe his wrists hurt from all the scoring.
OT.1.53. Steph gets doubled at the wing by Asik, Dray has made just enough 3s to make AD come out to guard him, so the smooth pass from Steph gets the rolling Bogut a dunk over a small.
1.11. Ryan is back, and he’s still in Dirk Mode. Hits a 3 to pull this game back to a 1 point game. Random Ending time.
0.32. NO has the ball, down one, with a chance to win. Tremendous job coming back considering the heartbreaking end of regulation. Steph fights around a hip check from AD, great contest of an Eric Gordon shot.
Steph calmly hits two free throws to make it a 3 point game.
Weird play where Klay fouls before the inbound, giving NOP a free FT. Now a two point game.
AD misses the short jumper, whew. Steph ices it for real with two more free throws.
Wow, what a game. New Orleans basically deserved to win this game and Game 2 was a toss-up. This is a very even series, but on the scorecard it’s 3-0. Future generations will probably think this was a wipeout, but it’s been a thrilling series.
But I think the only question is whether NO will win G4 and send the series back to Oakland. I mean, after losing like this, I’d be in therapy for months, but they might come back with stronger mental than that. I hope not, since that’s less stress, but if they do, I have tickets for Game 5, so I’ll cope.
See you tomorrow for Game 4!
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