The Western Conference Finals started off last night with a somewhat shocking, to some, outcome with the Oklahoma City Thunder defeating the defending champion Golden State Warriors by a score of 108-102. The game started out as expected with the Warriors taking a double digit lead into the halftime that was capped off by a buzzer beating three pointer made by Stephen Curry. Everything seemed to be going as planned for the defending champs, but then something happened that had not happened all season. The Warriors ended up blowing their double digit lead, which allowed the Thunder to take the first game of the series while playing in Oakland (Warriors home).
This loss came as a shock to many, not because the Thunder are not a worthy match, but because the Warriors have been marketed as already in the NBA Finals for most of the season. The assumption of another Cavaliers vs. Warriors finals has been played out at least hundreds of times on TV. Now this is not saying that the Warriors have any reason to panic because they are still favored to take this series by many people and analysts. The Thunder were down played as unworthy opponents headed into this series and last night they shattered that notion with an impressive victory on the road against the defending champions.
One reason for the Thunders success was that Curry was slightly off last night shooting a mediocre 9 of 22 from the field while missing eight of his three point attempts out of the fourteen he took. Curry still had his star moments like the pre-halftime buzzer beating three that sent the home crowd into a frenzy, and the fact that Curry, a 6’3” point guard, corralled ten rebounds last night showed fans that even a struggling Curry is still dangerous. All this considered it was still an off night for both of the “Splash Brothers” (Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson), and although Thompson started off hot and still ended with a pretty impressive stat line of twenty five points (11-25 from the field and 3-8 from behind the arc), the second half was rough for both Curry and Thompson.
Another reason for the Thunders “upset” was the insane comeback that Russell Westbrook made in the second half. Westbrook started off the game ice cold in the first half, but then started to heat up and ended with a game high twenty seven points shooting seven-of-twenty-one with twelve assists. Kevin Durant struggled in this game as well shooting a poor ten of thirty and struggling to make free throws. This game was not decided by stars, who on both sides seemed to struggle, this game was decided by great execution at the end of the game by the Oklahoma City Thunder compared to the Warriors who choked away their lead.
Now a quick message to both Warriors fans and Thunder fans. First, to the Thunder fans, your team did great last night towards the end, and you should certainly be optimistic about this series, but do not forget you’re still facing the defending champions, so do not get the champagne out just yet. Next to you Warriors fans who are devastated, do not hit the panic button yet because, well, it was one game, albeit a devastating loss at home, the Warriors still have a terrific chance of taking this series and reaching the finals, again. Now to all NBA fans, sit back and enjoy because this series is gonna be fun to watch, probably.
Author: Connor Green