Building the Ultimate Highlight Reel from Golden State Warriors' Regular Season
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Winning a grueling, yet entertaining first-round series added to the Golden State Warriors' highlight reel, not that it needed any extra padding.
Simply accruing standout clips from the regular season wouldn't do this piece justice because there were too many big moments and career-defining plays that led to another memorable first round.
There are 10 clips here, but make no mistake. I could simply substitute two or three with easily the same amount of quality plays. In order to gauge the best, I tried to judge the context in which these plays happened by considering the importance of the game, the player's performance under specific circumstances and, of course, the opponent.
With all that being said, if a play is great, it'll make the list, no matter the opponent. And there was plenty of greatness on display from the Golden State Warriors.
10. Kent Bazemore: Celebrations vs. Everyone, All Year Long
A little bonus clip, first and foremost.
Before the Warriors were legitimate contenders for playoff spots, Kent Bazemore's celebrations were the product of unadulterated joy and the prospect of being an NBA player for the first time in his career.
The term "Bazemoring" came from the three-point sign he'd started from the ground, with one knee down, and swoop upwards in a "U" motion.
He's curtailed some of it throughout the season—regression to the mean!—but can we blame him with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson breaking all sorts of shooting records this year?
The celebrations added to a great bench to watch and pushed the notion that the Warriors' team chemistry is genuine.
Hint: We'll see more celebrations in a later slide.
9. Andrew Bogut: First Relatively Healthy Game vs. Tonroto Raptors, 1/28/2013
After sitting out several months after shutting himself down from ankle issues, Andrew Bogut surprisingly came back in a road game against the Toronto Raptors.
For the first time ever in a Warriors uniform, we got to see how Bogut looked when healthy, and he was magnificent. He did struggle for the rest of the season but the adrenaline seemed to work well enough.
He started with a hook shot, provided blocks and great defense and ultimately showed an excellent ability to pass, especially the touch pass to David Lee.
We didn't see this Bogut often, but Warriors fans aren't complaining right now.
8. Jarrett Jack: Game vs. San Antonio Spurs, 2/22/2013
Them jerseys, man.
The Warriors broke out the sleeve jerseys, and it helped them beat a team they almost never beat, or even compete with, in the San Antonio Spurs.
Jarrett Jack showed off what made him such a great veteran acquisition, nailing shot after shot in the final minutes of regulation and overtime. On one sequence, Curry was falling out of bounds and flicked a one-handed scoop to Jack at the top of the key.
This was the pinnacle of Jack's success shooting pull-up jumpers, and the Warriors sure enjoyed it.
7. Klay Thompson: Career-High vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, 1/29/2013
Curry and Bogut were hurt and on the tail end of a four-game road trip, the Warriors were ready to go home, and nobody would have blamed them if they had dropped what was probably a trap game.
However, Thompson picked this time to step up, scoring 32 points on 6-of-8 from distance and carrying the team in the first half. He was simply unconscious as he nailed pull-up treys and running jumpers from everywhere.
The Warriors, and the rest of the league, had high hops for Thompson. This was why they thought he would excel in a wide-open offense. The glimpses are there, and Thompson is just starting to put it all together.
6. Draymond Green: Game-Winner vs. Miami Heat, 12/12/2013
The game-winning play to Draymond Green quickly became one of the signature plays for the Warriors: Curry and Klay spun off two screens, and Jack found the always-aware Green off the slip.
There have been many variations to this play. and that's solely to the great work of Mark Jackson adjusting to defenses that are scared clueless. Ask Corey Brewer how he did last week.
This also came in the midst of a seven-game road winning streak, one that hadn't happened in 400 years (or something like that).
I'd argue this finally put the Warriors on the map not in the public's eyes, but to other teams around the league. They suddenly had to prepare for a tougher team with Green, Jack and Ezeli, along with excellent shooters and players that spread a defense thin.
Perhaps an NBA Finals preview?
Okay, maybe not.
5. Harrison Barnes: Over Anthony Randolph vs. Denver Nuggets, 4/23/2013
Where do we even begin?
1. The David Lee injury opening up the offense for wing players like Barnes.
2. The hesitation move to blow by Anthony Randolph.
3. Randolph in a playoff game.
4. Randolph playing well in said playoff game.
5. Reverse dunk against Randolph.
6. Green and Bazemore's celebrations.
Throw all that in the fact that this was a huge playoff win in Denver where they had only lost thrice in the regular season, and this was Barnes' greatest performance in his career.
Next year, the Warriors should employ Barnes, Thompson, Green and Brandon Rush on the wings. That's a ton of defense along with Bogut in the back.
4. Andrew Bogut: Hammer vs. Denver Nuggets, 4/28/2013
Despite Curry's heroic efforts on the court throughout the series, Bogut's defense played just as crucial a part in the series victory.
However, in Game 4, Bogut did all that, and much more. With Denver trapping constantly on the sidelines and Curry and Jack unable to adjust, Jackson put Bogut in the middle, and he took advantage.
The hammer dunk came, and then it happened again. After that, the Nuggets opened up their weakside defense, and Bogut took advantage with passes to the cutting Thompson and Barnes.
Then Curry took them home in the second half.
3. Stephen Curry: Legendary MSG Performance vs. New York Knicks, 2/27/2013
Excuse me if I'm a little too young for the readers, but this is the greatest shooting performance I've ever seen.
The threes Stephen Curry were hitting weren't wide-open treys set up by teammates; they were off the dribble, step-back, fadeaway looks while his team was fighting to stay in the game.
They say Madison Square Garden brings out the best in superstars, and Curry rose to the occasion and obliterated the expectations that night.
There's no need for many more words; just sit back, crack open a can and enjoy the music.
2. Harrison Barnes: Dunk of the Year vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, 11/16/2012
When the Warriors drafted Barnes with the seventh overall pick, many expected him to become the slashing wing that would set up Curry and Jack.
In the early goings, he looked uncomfortable setting himself up, and it remained that way throughout the season. However, the glimpses came, and when they did, it was a sight to behold.
I was there at the game, and the crowd exploded in unison, partly because the game wasn't too exciting but because they hadn't seen that level of athleticism since Jason Richardson graced the uniform.
Oh, and let's not forget another great bench celebration.
Dunk of the year.
1. Stephen Curry: Third-Quarter Explosion vs. Denver Nuggets, 4/29/2013
You know how that one guy shoots a ton at pickup games despite making one out of every six to seven shots? That one guy who doesn't even look to pass and can't wait to pull up from three with utmost confidence he'll make the shot.
Yeah, Curry has all that confidence and more. When he's on—and his "on" isn't plausible for most people in the world—every single three concedes a crowd gasp followed by a cannon shooting off as the ball ripples through the net.
Best part of the video is Curry shooting a three in front of the Denver bench and turning around before it goes in.
Wait, why am I explaining this?