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April 24 - The Drought Is Over

The year was 1992.  George H. Bush was finishing out his one and only term.  Postal Stamps cost 29
cents.  Gas averaged about $1.15 per gallon.  Washington defeated Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVI.  
Rodney King and America were all trying to just get along.  And last, but not least, the Golden State
Warriors won their last playoff game.  Seattle was the team on the losing end of the victory; however
they were fairly unaffected and went on to win the series 3-1 and started Golden State on their
fifteen-year drought.  Chris Mullin, Mitch Richmond, and Tim Hardaway, formally known as Run TMC,
ruled the court in Oakland while Don Nelson called the shots from the bench.  

Fifteen years later, with Chris Mullin in the front office and Don Nelson once again at the helm, Golden
State has found themselves in the playoff victory column with a dominating 97-85 victory over the
Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.  

The victory Sunday night left a far-from-benignant Mark Cuban absolutely disgusted as he walked by
Warrior players after the game without even a good sportsmanship, half -eyebrow raise for a job well
done.  His Mavericks have done everything right this year posting the best record in all of basketball.  
Now, they'll have to rewrite their game plan for the rest of the series to avoid being embarrassed in
the first round by an explosive and hungry Warriors team with nothing to lose.

To say Warrior fans are excited would simply be an understatement.  Hundreds of playoff-starved
die-hards camped out overnight at Oracle Arena in Oakland Friday night.  When the sun rose the next
morning, they wiped the sleep from their eyes and then raced hysterically towards the opening gates
stopping only for an occasional push, poke, or eye gouge all the while jockeying for position.  It was
literally Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest and many were left without a ticket after the chaotic,
mad sprint.  Apparently, thirteen years (Golden State's last playoff appearance) wasn't enough time to
train Warriors personnel on playoff ticket release day procedures.  Luckily, no one was injured in the
mad dash.

Plagued by injuries most of the season, we are only now seeing how good a team Golden State
really is.  Point guard Baron Davis anchors the offense and with his ability to shoot from outside and
drive to the hole it leaves fellow shooters Jason Richardson and Steven Jackson open looks.  
Jackson, a mid-season acquisition along with forward Al Harrington  teamed with a healthy Baron
Davis and Jason Richardson make the Warriors an instant playoff threat.  Second year speedster
Monta Ellis, who averaged 16.5 points per game during the season and always provides an instant
spark coming off the bench, should play a key role the rest of the series.  The Warriors may have
trouble with Dirk Nowitzki the rest of the series, but they held in him check in game one.  If they can
continue to do that and Warrior guards can out hustle and out muscle Maverick defenders then it
could be an embarrassing series for Dallas.