Winter birthdays kind of suck. Especially on this side of the calendar when all of the holidays are over but the weather is still bleak and daylight is still sparse. Birthday games are one of the few joys we sports fans with February and March birthdays have to look forward to. Baseball is still in the tin-can radio tones of spring training and football is nothing but rumors around a hot stove.
Last year, I dragged myself out of my birthday-induced hangover to watch the Warriors take on the Lakers in L.A. at the basketball equivalent of the crack of dawn. My birthday is the day after Draymond Green’s and it seemed the Warriors were also trying to drag themselves out of a birthday-induced hangover.
In what was dubbed at the time as the greatest regular season upset of all time, the Lakers beat the Warriors 112-95. To put that in perspective, at the time the Lakers were 12-51 going into that game, while the Warriors were 55-5. It will forever be known by many fans as the Hangover Game, due to how physically ill many of the players looked and the sheer lack of energy and focus.
This year’s birthday match-up features the same elements as last year, if not more. Once again, they will be facing a sub-par team. Though the Knicks have a respectable record for a non-playoff bound team, one could say they’ve been one of the bigger hot messes in the NBA this season as a franchise (though the Lakers still hold the hot mess title).
They will once again be playing an ABC featured day game after a night off in a major city. That night off being a Saturday, and Draymond Green’s birthday, and the city being New York.
While last year’s loss was tough to watch, it was ultimately meaningless. They broke the regular season record and made it to the Finals with home court advantage.
You know, before the meteor hit the earth after Game 4 and the series was canceled. So that one loss didn’t really matter aside from our pride.
This year, however, the Warriors are on what is likely to be their most difficult stretch of the season. Though they’re going to the playoffs no matter what, they have a tough battle for home court advantage against the Spurs, who they will play twice while Kevin Durant is out. Much of the four weeks Durant is expected to be out will be on the road and it is crunch time for the Warriors.
With all of that taken into account, I’d like to believe the Warriors will be fired up on Sunday and that they will give me what I want for my birthday this year: well played basketball with a strategy in place to help compensate for the lack of Durant. And a win would be nice.
Bring on the brunch basketball.