#3 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #1 Golden State Warriors, OKC leads series 3-1, (9pm ET Thursday, TNT)
A week ago the Golden State Warriors were patiently awaiting their coronation as The Greatest Team in NBA History. Today, following a 118-94 drubbing Tuesday at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder, they find themselves teetering on the brink of infamy, in danger of being instead known as The Winningest Team in NBA History Not to Reach the Finals, Much Less Win a Title. Doesn’t quite have the same ring, does it? The Thunder, meanwhile, are just a win away from having knocked two of the twelve winningest teams in NBA history out of the playoffs.
On Tuesday, the Warriors took an early 8-6 lead on a Harrison Barnes jumper, but the Thunder responded by scoring 16 straight points to make it 22-8, a run that was punctuated by a Russell Westbrook 3-pointer that inspired Golden State to call a timeout. Steph Curry would score 7 points, and Festus Ezeli would add 6 more, as the Warriors closed it to 30-26 by the end of the first quarter. Then things got ugly.
The Thunder came out running in the second, with Russell Westbrook leading the attack with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting, 3 assists, and 2 rebounds, and Kevin Durant chipping in another 10, as they outgunned the Warriors 42-27 to make it 72-53 at the half.
Klay Thompson caught fire in the third, scoring 19 points in a row for Golden State, at one point hitting on 6 of 7. It was a brilliant display of shooting, but it only closed the gap to 94-82 by the end of the quarter. The gains were short lived, as the Warriors hit on just 4 of 15 in the final quarter, and the Thunder’s Andre Roberson, of all people, hit 4 of 4 for 9 points to finish with a career playoff high 17, as the Thunder salted away the game.
While he managed not to kick Steven Adams in the business, Draymond Green had his second consecutive off night, hitting on just 1 of 7 for 6, which, coincidentally, was the number of turnovers he made. Curry was off, as well, hitting on just 6 of 20 for 19 points, and he, too, made a half-dozen turnovers. Only Thompson brought his A game, sinking 9 of 17 for 26 points, to go along with 5 boards and 3 steals.
For the Thunder, Westbrook again was the catalyst, posting a 36-11-11, albeit on 12-of-27 shooting and with 6 turnovers – the Russell giveth, and the Russell taketh away. Durant had an even worse night shooting, hitting just 8 of 24 for 26 points. But the Thunder got big contributions from Roberson (17-12, with 5 steals), Ibaka (12-7) and Adams (11-7, 0 kicks to the groin), and they again dominated the boards 56-40, made 16 steals and 8 blocks, as they outplayed Golden State in every facet of the game.