Although it may be interesting to hear my opinion on the historic game between the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors, I felt it would be more heartfelt if I supplemented this story with the experience of a life-long die-hard Warriors fan, Nickon Rajabi.
Rajabi is a first-year business economics major at UCI. Although Nickon and I are really good friends, there some things about him I cannot understand. He only likes Bay Area rap, loves the abysmal Bay Area sports teams and actually thinks Nor Cal is better than So Cal. Foolish, I know.
The Golden State Warriors are finally back in the NBA playoffs for the first time in 13 seasons. However, Warriors fans had nothing to cheer about after years of unproductive drafts, discouraging off seasons, and perpetual losing seasons.
When the Warriors clinched the eighth and final spot in the playoffs, a foreign sense of success was brought to the Bay Area. Finally, the Warriors had a legitimate squad and made it to the postseason. A match up against the Dallas Mavericks also brought much zeal to the fan base and organization.
The Warriors were the only team in the regular season to go undefeated against a Dallas team that boasted the sixth best record in NBA history. In addition, Don Nelson, the former coach of the Dallas Mavericks, coaches the Warriors.
In game one, the Warriors showed that their regular season success was no fluke. They came out and won an inspiring game in Dallas. The Warriors lost the second game in Dallas and Warriors’ fans felt it was a terribly officiated game. The game saw Baron Davis and the notorious Stephen Jackson ejected.
The emotional loss in Dallas and the sudden realization of the first playoff game in Oakland since the early 1990s provided for an exciting game environment for game three.
‘Before the game, the fans were pumped and the crowd was blanketed with yellow ‘We Believe’ T-shirts. I was flaunting my own,’ Nickon said. ‘We were fans who were not about to accept loss. In fact, before the game I was talking to some cutthroat fans in front of us and we knew we were going to win by at least 15. There was no doubt in our minds.’
The atmosphere was defiantly indicative of this prophetic hope. I have been to many big sporting events: three BSC Bowls, an Anaheim Ducks Stanley Cup final and an Angels World Series game. But I have never seen so much euphoria in a stadium where one just knew that the home team was going to win, and this was even before the ball was tipped.
The crowd kept its energy the entire game. It almost felt as if the Warriors had an extra sixth player on the court. They were playing with heart and their play got the Mavericks frustrated.
The crowd went nuts after every point, steal, block, free throw, timeout and even technical fouls. It seemed as if every Maverick player got a technical foul. Who could blame them? They could do nothing against this inspired team and the fans did not let them hear the end of it.
‘I don’t want to brag or take away any credit from the [Warriors], but I feel the crowd was pivotal in the Warriors success tonight. The fans are treating every game like it is our last and that is why these games are so much fun for us and everyone else,’ Nickon said.
The favorite moment of the game for Nickon and me was when Jason Richardson attempted a no-look reverse circus shot lay up. My friend said ‘If he makes this shot, I will take my shirt off!’ Richardson made the shot, and my friend stayed true to his word and even ran up and down the section cheering.
Being a Lakers and USC football fan, I have never seen so much passion in a crowd until that day
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