By MICHAEL DAY
Kevin Durant makes contested mid-range jumpers look effortless, Russell Westbrook moves past defenders in a blur, like the Flash, Steven Adams plays great defense, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are on their way to securing a spot in the NBA Finals. The only question remaining is when will it happen, Game 5 on the Warriors’ home court, or Game 6 at home in front of some of the best fans in the NBA? Yes, enjoy the celebration OKC, because Golden State let me down. Ah, the agony of defeat.
How did it all go wrong for Golden State?
Remember a previous post that predicted Golden State to win the series in seven games, the premise was that Golden State’s stars, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson would balance out OKC’s stars, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant? Well, this hasn’t happened. So far, taking into account all games, the Durant-Westbrook combination has outscored the Curry-Thompson duo 223-181. Steph Curry can’t beat Steven Adams off the dribble, struggles to make three’s, and can’t seem to do many of the normal things he did during the regular season. Is this due to injury? Maybe, but no one is going to let Curry slide out of blame with any injury talk – not that he’s placed any blame there. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are unstoppable. Haven’t we all heard that, “In the NBA, the stars have to be stars for a team to win?” Advantage OKC.
Overall, the Thunder are quicker, stronger, and taller. The Thunder get to every loose ball. Every. Single. One. Nothing discourages a team more than a loose ball getting slapped around by three or more players, only to then wind up in Westbrook’s hands, resulting in an easy bucket as he rocket jumps his way down the court.
Golden State’s defensive plan to mitigate the damage Westbrook could do by playing off of André Roberson has backfired. Roberson suddenly possesses a shooting touch. Oh, and he has made several nice cuts to the basket for easy layups. Memo to the Warriors, the person defending Roberson can’t just completely ignore him.
Since this strategy has failed, Golden State can’t slow down OKC’s party at the free throw line. Westbrook and Durant either make the shot or get fouled. Look, no one is blaming the referees for Golden State’s losses, (I wish I could) but the difference between free throw attempts is significant. Steven Adams has attempted more free throws (25) than any Golden State player. Stephen Curry, the league’s most valuable player, shot 22. Ya know, the offensive juggernaut that is Steven Adams, who normally averages eight points a game, shot more free throws than the league’s MVP. Westbrook (38), Durant (34), and Adams (25) have almost as many free throw attempts (97) as the entire Golden State team (99). That’s a lot of free points to give up.
Who would have thought that Dion Waiters could play such an important role for a team making a run at the title? Is this the same Waiters who was on his way out of the NBA? That seems like 20 years ago now. Waiters is finding the open man, scoring, and playing inspired defense. My gosh, I expect the zombie apocalypse to start soon.
Draymond Green, along with several other Golden State players, can’t seem to figure out that trying to pass over the outstretched arms of Kevin Durant won’t work. Yes, this seems obvious, but the number of turnovers resulting in this ill-advised passing method proves the Warriors believe otherwise.
Speaking of Draymond Green, where is the player who was the heart and soul of the Warriors the entire season? Where is the guy who refused to let his team lose? How bad was Draymond Green? Bad enough that there was a serious thought that things might have gone better for the Warriors if the league had actually suspended Green for The Kick.
The most damning piece of evidence of these past two games was that Golden State got walloped at their own game of “small ball”. Serge Ibaka’s versatility has enabled the Thunder to “plus one” Golden State’s “small ball” lineup, the fabled “Death Lineup”. Well, the consequences are death but not OKC’s.
Well, now that Golden State has let me down, I have to get ready for .50 Team-Stealer’s NBA Finals appearance. Thanks, guys.