baron davis

Originally published in SLAM 110

It was all a dream, wasn’t it? The old coach leaving the beach and his beer behind (well, sort of) to lead a team full of misfits back to the Playoffs and a first-round victory over another one of his creations. The oft-maligned (and injured) point guard throwing himself bodily (and beardily) back into the spotlight. If you’d made a movie about this, no one would have bought it. Too unbelievable. But it happened.

And it didn’t stop there. Having stomped out the soon-to-be-named MVP and the 67-win Dallas Mavericks, the Warriors marched on…to Utah and the unaptly named Jazz, who proceeded to beat the Warriors at their own game, running them out of Games 1 and 2 in UT.

But then came Game 3, back in the comfortable confines of Oracle Arena. And the Warriors were back on, running and gunning their way to a comfortable fourth-quarter lead—once again led by Baron Davis, their fearless floor general. And when the defining moment of the game happened, it caught everyone off guard.

“Whoa!” I believe that was ESPN commentator Mike Tirico’s reaction, interrupting a meandering Hubie Brown monologue. Davis had driven in from the left wing and flushed all over noted defender Andrei Kirilenko. “I shocked myself on that dunk,” Davis said afterward. “I was going to try to reverse it, but knowing he was a great shot-blocker, I thought I would just try my luck, and I got lucky.”

Kirilenko? Even he was happy to be part of the moment. “I think I was late on the help,” he said. “At least I got to be on the poster.”

And in Slamadamonth.

Russ Bengtson