When your foe's down, kick them, then kick them again. And then some. As they say, don't give a sucker a break.
You never know when that sucker's complexion will countenance change and come back to bite you. It could be when it is least expected. Like when a team is 3-1 down in the opening round of a playoff series, looking for all money like they have entered into an eternal slumber.
Listless and lifeless your opposition are on the ropes, and you cruise through an unbeaten three match streak. Life's a peach, you've been knocking down three pointers at will, pulling off some of the most outrageous shots seen for many a year. Super confident, you turn up to Denver's mile high den sub-consciously not ready to play in the fifth match of the series, and that sucker bites you.
As Golden State found out to their detriment. It appeared to slip their mind that Denver finished third in the regular season for a reason. Something to do with being a quality team, one suspects.
From coast to coast, the Nuggets were the team with the most. 107-100, it wasn't really that close.
Up fourteen by the end of the first quarter, the signs were ominous for Golden State. Everything was falling from the tip-off . . . to the home side. Do or die, there was but no choice to find their inner mongrel and fight for their play-off lives. Amazing what such motivation does for one. That fourteen point lead was extended to twenty by half- time.
Golden State were in dire straits. Which came as no surprise when Stephen Curry could manage a paltry three field-goals from his first nine attempts. In the end he garnered fifteen points for the night, twelve short of his average for the previous four matches. Of those 15, only one was from his specialty, three point land.
Harrison Barnes, in his rookie season, topped the scoring for GS with twenty-three points. Perhaps desperate for any opportunity to impress, motivation was still high on his part and more so than many of his more illustrious teammates. Sure, no player can be expected to be at their best for every match of their career. But a play-off game and the chance to put the final nail in the coffin of Denver? You would think that would inspire.
For Denver the stats sheet said it all. Rebounds bounded their way 15-9 and steals 12-5. Indicators, maybe, of a team fighting for their lives. If Golden State didn't want the ball, they sure did. Especially Andre Iguogala who took it upon himself to score a game high twenty-five points and procure himself twelve rebounds and seven assists.
Twelve steals, at least twenty-four points, most of which came through superior desire on Denver's part, not to mention superb transition. It certainly kept a raucous crowd in the equation. And Golden State out of the game.
Some desperation on the part of the visitors and a goodly proportion of those twelve steals could have been prevented. That's a couple of dozen points, and they only lost by seven.
Ah well, there is always another two matches to clinch the series with. Never mind that Denver have now gathered significant momentum.
Seems to keep coming back to that underlying theme, doesn't it. Couldn't possibly think what it is.