story of a love story in the month of april

Two birds with one stone, the coronation of Nikola Jokic as MVP for this 2021-22 season, has validated a very nice stat. For the second time in their history, the Warriors eliminated the team of the Most Valuable Player of the Season. In 2007, the Dubs of “We Believe” had already released Dirk Nowitzki’s Mavericks. Tema the bounty hunters.

Phew, definitely, the Warriors like to scuttle MVP plans. This season, the troop of Steve Kerr has – without trembling – shortened the spring of Nikola Jokic by limiting it to only five small games. There was almost no series, as the now San Francisco-based team dominated a band of Nuggets head and shoulders, largely overwhelmed by the benching of a certain number 30. The Warriors did not really force, and even relying on the immense talent of the Joker, Denver will have in all and for all taken only one game. The union minimum, just to avoid the humiliation of the broom. A great Stephen Curry, but also Klay, Jordan and Andrew. The offensive tide was too big, too wide to attempt to surf it, and Colorado – despite its altitude – was forced to drink the cup. Solid on its support, Golden State once again sends the best player of the season on vacation. If this season, the elimination of the MVP was logical, it was not at all the case in 2007, during the first round of Playoffs between Warriors and Mavericks.

When Dallas hosts Golden State in April 2007, it’s a historic team in many respects that is eagerly awaiting Don Nelson’s band. We set the scene: 67 wins and 15 losses, the best regular record in the franchise in one hand, the title of MVP for Dirk Nowitzki in the other. The tall blond is also the first European to be awarded this trophy since its creation in 1955. Opposite, the Warriors are not the team we know today. Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, Matt Barnes: we are talking about guys who are certainly talented but who systematically avoid success. Behind these three mercenaries, we also find the young Monta Ellis, Mike Pietrus and Al Harrington. The team is atypical to say the least. When Don Nelson arrives in the Bay, he has just been kicked out by… the Mavericks. Do you feel this revengeful air caressing your ears? After a regular punctuated by an unexpected 8th place – synonymous with qualification for the Playoffs – the Don and his men will cross swords with a team from Dallas boxing in a completely different category.

Yes but here it is, the Don knows the game plans of the Mavs. His replacement and ex-assistant, Avery Johnson, hasn’t changed his old group’s tactics one bit, and Nellie is having a blast during time-outs where he announces the opposition’s systems in advance. The Warriors take full advantage of this, and boosted by the spirit of revenge, they overthrow the Mavericks at home. The surprise is total. The Texans, however, take the second game but move to Oakland, in a room that does not look at all like it was during the first title of Steph and company. For the record, Oakland is not really the kind of dream place to make a living, quite the contrary. The city was one of the most feared places in California at the time. Thus, welcomed as enemies in a room that identifies completely with his team, the Mavericks are moved and cash two consecutive losses on the Pacific coast, opening the door to a completely improbable defeat. And the MVP in all this? Well Dirk misses the series, far too guarded and too predictable. From 24 points in regular, the Wunderkind goes to 19, symbol of the defensive aggressiveness of the Warriors. The series will be folded in six games, and the MVP eliminated. The legend will last forever and this upset will go down as one of the most incredible in NBA history.

The Warriors and the MVPs, a one-sided love story that made us love. From Dirk to Nikola, the Warriors will therefore have made the best players of the season bite the dust twice, further proof – if one were needed – that the NBA is a decidedly… unique league.

Source: ESPN

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