Last night the Oklahoma City Thunder did not play their best basketball. Both Kevin Durant (10-30 from the field) and Russell Westbrook (7-21) shot well below their averages and occasionally struggled in the first half with turnovers. The Warriors got 26 points from Curry, 25 from Klay Thompson, and 23 from Draymond Green last night, which on most nights is enough to emerge with a win.
However, in game 1 the Thunder ended up victorious by a final score of 108-102, taking a lead in the Western Conference Finals. They won in Golden State, and now hold home-court advantage for the rest of the series.
Five Quick Points
- Steven Adams — shoutout to the big kiwi for his postseason so far. He has provided the steel on the interior of the Oklahoma City defense, and his defensive rebounding has allowed the Thunder to get out in transition on missed shots. Limiting Golden State to one possession each time down is a major factor in beating them, as they like to take a lot of quick open 3’s while you are scattered on offensive rebounds. Adams is locking down the glass, and finished last night with a +19!!!! No other played posted a +/- greater than 8, as Adams proved to be one of the most important on the court. Also, with 1 minute left and the Thunder holding a 101-100 advantage, Adams (a career 55% shooter) stepped to the line and made two crucial free throws, and he made them look easy. Oklahoma City needs him to continue to dominate.
- Golden State Bench — If you have watched enough Golden State this season, you know that their bench often times begins those mini-spurts that see them stretch 6 point leads to 17. Guys like Livingston, Iguodala, and Speights (to a degree) have the ability to provide you with 10-15 points on their own, and if 2 or 3 of them get going you have a solid second unit. Last night, the entire bench struggled, which I believe says more about OKC than Golden State. The Thunder have the depth inside with Kanter, and with Foye and Waiters coming into the backcourt you have a formidable team. Look for the bench to have to play better if Golden State expects to win game 2.
- Dion Waiters — Quick one here, but I was extremely impressed with Dion Waiters last night. He played 30 minutes, going 4-6 from the field and 2-2 from 3 point territory. He had 4 assists and 0 turnovers. He played well defensively on Klay, and even checked Draymond Green a few times. That is a mature performance for a guy who the media (basically just Twitter) likes to call selfish and make fun of. Good for you, Dion.
- Curry/Durant Turnovers — What the hell was going on last night with these two guys? Curry had 7 turnovers and Durant had 5, while neither really found their signature rhythms last night. Durant, at times, looked like he did not want to be there (lobbing up passes to no one, throwing up shots when he felt a little contact) and Curry seemed uncharacteristically sloppy. For this series to reach the ultimate level people are expecting, we need these two to wake up.
- RUSSELL THA GAWD — Russell Westbrook won that game last night for Oklahoma City, make no mistake about it. Numbers say he played well, 27 points to go along with 12 assists, 6 rebounds, and 7 steals, but they don’t tell the story. There were stretches of that game where Golden State seemed to be pushing their foot down onto the neck of the Thunder, and only one player stood up and defied that. Westbrook in the third quarter carried his team to within striking distance, and then he continued to drive right at the heart of Golden State. He assisted or scored what felt like every single basket in the second half, came up with loose balls, and hit the important late free throws. Last night was the Westbrook game.
(Game 2 will be Wednesday at 9 p.m est in Golden State)FOLLOW THE OPEN FIELD