Fourteen years ago, on May 3rd, 2007, the “We Believe” Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks in Game 6 and advanced to the Conference Semis, becoming the third team in the NBA history to defeat the no. 1. Some time ago I had a brief conversation with one of the team’s members, Mickael Pietrus.
How annoying was it that your first three seasons ended without playoffs?
I mean it wasn’t difficult at all because on my first year we already established a plan on the long run to make the playoffs. We knew the Warriors haven’t been in the playoffs the last thirteen years, so we used that as a motivation.
How do you remember your co-work with coach Nelson? Is there a single situation or moment that you remember?
I loved it. Don Nelson was a genius of a coach. I never saw anything like that in my career. Have seen him coaching Dallas, and his style was one of the best in the league. So, when I heard that he was coming to coach the Warriors I was excited, and finally we were going to run a different style on the floor and give us a chance to succeed.
Warriors vs Mavericks
What were your expectations before the 2007 playoffs? Did you believe that you can really beat Dallas?
Honestly, we were as a group. We had soldiers and the best coach, so we were just fighting to hopefully get a spot for the post season, instead of every year going on early vacation. So, our chance came the last game of the season in Portland fighting for our life (laugh)!
So, right after the game we knew we made the playoffs, and we were going to face the Mavs. It was like oh s***, we are playing the best team in the league. So, Don Nelson came up to us and said: “Listen guys, I got this, and we are going to shake the world”. So, everybody jumps on the train including the fans, and the rest was history.
How do you recall the atmosphere in the Oracle Arena?
Until this day, and you can see it on TV yourself, the Bay Area Warriors fans are the loudest in the entire NBA. So, the way we were playing (fast pace) and the fans included you had to prepare yourself for a long night (laugh)! Trust me, it was so loud people were watching game at home in San Francisco and felt like they were at the arena.
What did you feel in the second half of Game 6, when it became clear that Warriors will advance?
We were just having fun the whole post season. We told ourselves let’s see how far we can go. So, everybody started paying attention to us and our We Believe Nation, and from now on our confidence was so high. We felt like nobody could stop us.