HIGHLIGHTS: Jackson's Warriors can't contain LeBron
So it turns out that the Miami Heart have a long memory for previous slights.
It also turns out that the Golden State Warriors have a long memory for playing without Stephen Curry’s two best ankles.
Between these two developments, the Warriors were reminded of what the back of a good team’s hand feels like Wednesday night.
Before the Heat’s absurdly easy 92-75 victory over the Warriors in Oakland, Golden State had made itself into a tough out, using stern defense and rebounding to right the wrongs of 36 years of concentrated feh.
Wednesday, though, with a national audience tearing itself away from Manti Te’o’s fantasy world to watch, the Warriors were cuffed badly by a motivated Miami team. They needed 35 minutes to get a fast break basket, were nearly outrebounded by one of the league’s worst rebounding teams, and . . .
. . . oh, hell, what difference does it make? They lost by 17 to a team that has actual title aspirations, having already won an actual title and all, and needed to dominate garbage time to do that.
They lost because Curry rolled his ankle in the morning shootaround, because the rest of the outfit did none of the things that made them a playoff-level team this year, and because the Heat could expend a lot of energy to right the wrong of last month’s 97-95 loss to the Warriors.
Plus, they’ve been playing uninspiring ball over the past week and change, they have the shadow of the Lakers Thursday and then a six-day break. There was nothing to save except their reputations, so they came out and played as though the Warriors were Oklahoma City.
And the Warriors are no such thing. Not yet. Not with Curry, not without him.
Thus standing in the teeth of such a perfect storm, they had little chance but to revert to what they have usually been – a light snack for a title contender on its way to a more important game.
Some of what the Warriors failed to do can be corrected. They shot miserably, they were owned on the glass (remember, Miami is a terrible rebounding team, so breaking even is the same as being owned), they defended indifferently, and they showed an unusual lack of interest in loose balls, or of taking care of the ones they actually owned.
Indeed, they played as Warrior teams typically do against good team, and how they have rarely played this season. And the audience got trimmed, but good.
This could have been an eloquent statement on how tough the Warriors can be against one of the league’s powers, but the statement they made could easily be negated by a pointed, “Oh, shut up, will you please?”
And now they have to take this performance piece to San Antonio, where they are even more supine. Then after that, they face the suddenly resurgent New Orleans Hornets the next night, and since they are 4-15 in the last 10 years in the game after the one at San Antone, do not think redemption as an automatic development.
In short, this was a nice reminder for them to understand what happens when you don’t have either your “A” game or your “A” roster.
And the other guys bring theirs for full viewing.