Warriors vs Thunder Western Conference Finals 2016

Golden State Warriors vs Oklahoma City Thunder Western Conference Finals 2016

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Golden State Warriors vs Oklahoma City Thunder Western Conference Finals 2016
GSW wins Series 4-3
GAME SUMMARY
Game 1: OKC 108 GSW 102
Game 2: GSW 118 OKC 91
Game 3: OKC 133 GSW 105
Game 4: OKC 118 GSW 94
Game 5: GSW 120 OKC 111
Game 6: GSW 108 OKC 101
Game 7: GSW 96 OKC 88
GAME 7 played on May 30, 2016, GSW wins the series 4-3 on the score of 96 (GSW) – 88 (OKC)
Game 7 Western Conference Finals 2016 RECAP

Stephen Curry leads the Golden State Warriors in a historic comeback capped with a magnificent performance seeing him bury one triple shot after another.

The Splash Brothers shone in this western conference finals 2016 against the Thunders to beat them 3 games to 1 on the score of 96-88 in Game 7.

The Golden State Warriors had a 73-win season which looked like they were coasting up until now where they had to work the hardest to get back to the finals. As Curry put it — “You appreciate how tough it is to get back here. You’ve got to be appreciative of this accomplishment, and look forward to getting four more wins.”

Stephen Curry, MVP, scored 36 points on seven 3-pointers on a total of record 32 from beyond the arc for a seven game series.

Fellow Splash brother Klay Thompson scored 21 points and six triples that also saw him carry the load on Game 6 with 11 3-pointers.

The Warriors are the 10th team to comeback from a 3-1 deficit, pushing them for a return trip to the NBA Finals with a rematch against the Cleveland Cavaliers led by Lebron James. GSW beat the CAVS in six games for their first championship in 40 years.

Steve Kerr has this to say — “We survived by the skin of our teeth. We were able to pull it out, and we’re moving on.”

Stephen Curry was a sight to behold as the final buzzer sounded with a pump on the right arm as the yellow confetti fell at the Oracle Arena.

The Thunders didn’t go down with a fight and they still had a chance to close the gap and win the game with 1:18 remaining but a foul by Serge Ibaka on Curry’s 3-point attempt and then making all three free throws to give the Warrior breathing room towards victory.

Curry is clutch and Steve Kerr has this to say — “This is who he is. Having a clutch performance in a Game 7, that’s Steph Curry.

Green was vocal on his confidence for the Warriors to comeback — “No one ever had any doubt that we could get this done. People have seen teams down 3-1 before but they ain’t seen many. They’ve definitely never seen a 73-win team down 3-1.”

Special note should be given to Andre Iguodala who was once a franchise player and starting five but for most part of the last two seasons came off the bench. He is starting five caliber and when the Golden State Warriors needed him most started for the Warriors in just the second time this season primarily to lock down Kevin Durant, who scored 27 points on 10 for 19 shooting but most importantly locking him down for the crucial moments of the game.

Kevint Durant has this comment — “It hurts losing, especially being up 3 games to 1.”

Thunder coach, Billy Donovan, acknowledge the difficulty of playing the defending champions — “They won a world championship last year, and they’ve broken an NBA record, and people are already talking about it before the playoffs started, this may be the greatest team to ever lace them up in the history of the NBA.”

This marks the first Game 7 of the Warriors at home in 40 years and the team didn’t disappoint the fans and making it more memorable with the comeback from 3-1.

The Golden State Warriors didn’t only score points but were stellar at the defensive end as they held the Thunder to just 12 third quarter points, the lowest allowed by GSW in a playoff third quarter in the shot clock era.

Harrison Barnes came off the bench to give way to Iguodala in the starting lineup which proved valuable in helping the team reach the finals. The Warriors now have a 4-4 all time win record in Game 7s and have a home record 3 is to 1.

Game 7 Western Conference Finals 2016 PREVIEW

The Warriors broke the regular season record of the Chicago Bulls by winning 73 games. The Bulls were able to win the championship on that season. The record setting regular season of the Warriors would mean less if the cannot bring home the title. The team agrees that every team and personal milestones and accomplishments would mean nothing if they can’t take it all the way to the Championship title.

The 73-point regular season milestone might be joined by another major achievement — being the 10th team in history to comeback from a 3-1 deficit.

The Warriors team however feel that the 73-win regular season means nothing if they do not win the Championship. They managed to claw their way back to Game 7 after trailing by 3-1 against the Thunder.

Steve Kerr says the players are tough, and I absolutely agree especially against Durant and trailing by 3-1 could have broken other teams — “I’ve learned that our players are tough, they’re mentally tough. I don’t know if I really learned that. I already knew that. But they’ve firmly confirmed that. It’s been a great comeback. Now we still have to play. We still have another game.”

The team took it one game at a time and now they have a chance to close out the Thunders and comeback to the Finals.

After the team won Game 5 Stephen Curry has this to say — “We ain’t going home!”

Steve Kerr on winning Game 6 — “We got a big one last night to stay alive, and now we’ve got some momentum. But it can work in reverse. One game changes everything, and we’ve got to come out and play our game and play well to finish the series out.”

Things are looking good for the Warriors as they have only lost three times at home this season and while Durant can have mismatches are various positions like Durant at SF and Adams in the paint, Warriors will be very tough at home to beat them. Although they are trying to keep their confidence just enough — “It’s going to be a hard game. If we thought tonight was hard, Game 7’s going to be even tougher. Everybody on both sides of the ball is going to leave it all out on the floor. It’s win or go home. So we can’t expect just because we’re at home that we can just show up and win.”

Thompson says — “Lot of people probably counted us out.”

Durant sees this as an opportunity for greatness — “This is what you dream about, getting this opportunity. We’ve got to take advantage of it. Go up into their building, and it’s going to be great atmosphere. … No matter where you play, you’ve still got to play. That’s how we look at it.”

Thunders coach chimes in – “We lost Game 6, and it was a tough, hard-fought game. We’re disappointed about not having a different outcome. But we haven’t lost the series, and we have an opportunity again. I think just being around these guys, they’re a resilient group.”

Curry is still nursing his injuried but knows what is at stake — “I actually kind of like it, because you understand the moment of the playoffs and just kind of gets you going. I’ll be ready to go and give it everything I’ve got for Game 7.”

GAME 6 played on May 28, 2016, GSW wins ties the series 3-3 on the score of 108 (GSW) – 101 (OKC)
Game 6 Western Conference Finals 2016 RECAP

This was a night where Klay Tompson took over carrying them until the last possessions that saw Stephen Curry seal the deal for the Warriors.

The Warriors now have a shot of becoming just the 10th team to comeback from a 3-1 deficit and win the series. Klay scored 41 points delivering a playoff-record of 11 3-point shots to lead Golden State to victory 108-101.

For most part of the game the Thunders were leading and appear to be in control but everytime they look like breaking away Thompson hits them with a triple to make sure they were in striking distance and had a shot of winning the game.

Stephen Curry then went out and scored the necessary points to put them ahead in the 4th quarter as Klay says to Curry — “Steph told me before I went out in the fourth, `This is your time. You know, put on a show out there and have fun.’ I took those words to heart, and I just tried to be aggressive.”

Curry has this to say — “We’ve got a lot of belief and a lot of heart, and we’ve given ourselves a chance to win this series. That’s all we could ask for. There’s obviously a lot of excitement, but we still have one job to do.”

Not to take away from Curry’s heroics in the closing minutes of the 4th quarter, Thompson did carry a lot of the load as he scored 19 points in the final quarter as they trailed 8 points against the Thunders.

The Warriors lived by the three point line as they have in so many games the past few years, they had 21 of 44 from beyond the arc while the Thunders had a measly there 3-pointers on 3 of 23 shooting.

Both Durant and Westbrook didn’t shoot the ball very well considering it was in their homecourt; Kevin Durant scored 29 points on 10 of 31 shots, while Russell Westbrook added 28 on 10 of 27.

Most of the breakdown in the Thunders game was because of turnovers as they committed six in the final 2:55 seconds and Westbrook contributing to three in the last 55 seconds. Composure wasn’t there for Oklahoma as their coach notes — “That really wasn’t – hasn’t been us in the last month and a half. I thought we got a little stagnant coming down the stretch.”

Durant said — “They switched everything and kind of closed the game up, and we missed some shots and they got hot from the 3

Green has this to say to winning and looking forward to Game 7 — “To be in this situation – people were doubting us. It will be the hardest game of our lives. It will be way harder than this game. Going back home, everybody will think, `Oh, it’s done.’ It will be way harder. But if we come out and do what we did and stick to the game plan, we’ll be fine.”

Game 6 Western Conference Finals 2016 PREVIEW

The Oklahoma has two chances to clinch the Western Conference Finals 2016 however if they lose game six and go back to Oracle Arena for Game seven it looks like way lot less as the Warriors have only lost 3 times this season at home.

Donovan wants his team to focus on what’s in front and not Game 7, “We’ve got to play the 48 minutes tomorrow night. That’s really what it comes down to. You can get caught up in thinking about the future and what the results mean at the end of the game. But the bottom line is the result at the end of the game will happen, and what you don’t want to do is be focused on the result and forget to do your job during the course of 48 minutes.”

Oklahoma is as deadly at home as the Warriors is at their homecourt as they have won in huge margins against the Warriors in Game 3 for a 133-105 and Game 4 for a 118-94 blowout that has buried the Warriors to a 3-1 deficit. Momentum is what is going on with the Warriors but if the Thunder can mentally put that aside they have the capability to closeout the series at home.

The Warriors know it’s not going to be an easy task — “It will take all of our IQ, all of our gamesmanship, and just 48 great minutes to get a win down there, considering how the last two games have gone”

Steve Kerr adds — “Our guys have had a spectacular run here the last two years. They’ve loved every second of it. They don’t want it to end, and no matter how you look at it, if you’re not the last team standing, it’s tough. It’s a disappointing way to go out. So we want to hang in there. We want to win the next two and get back to the finals.”

Golden State’s bread and butter is the 3-point shot while the Thunder have dominated the league in rebounding however all three wins by the Warriors is when they have tied or bested the Thunder in rebounding. Hustle is what is making it up for the Warriors and Oklahoma shouldn’t allow that. The Thunder do not have the shooting range to beat the Warriors from beyond the arc but they have to hustle and dominate the boards that helped them win against the Warriors this season.

Thunder coach has this to say — “There have been some games in this series where we’ve done a really good job, and there are some games we need to do a better job. I’ve said this during the course of the season – you’ve got to be intentional about what you’re doing. We’ll have to go back and start over and understand that that’s really – and has always been in this series – a very, very important ingredient for both teams.”

Curry notes — “We play better when we’re having fun. We played like we were really stressed in OKC, and it showed. Got to bottle up that joy and take it with us on the plane to OKC and be ready on Saturday. It’s going to be an electric atmosphere, and I think we’re ready for the challenge.”

GAME 5 played on May 26, 2016, GSW wins trails the series 3-2 on the score of 120 (GSW) – 111 (OKC)
Game 5 Western Conference Finals 2016 RECAP

Stephen Curry is shouting and chanting — “We ain’t going home! We’re not going home!”

Trailing the series 3-1, the Thunders were looking to close out the series and keep the Warriors from being only the 10th team to comeback from a 3-1 deficit. It is still a long way to go but if there is any team than can continue keeping alive in this series it is the Warriors.

Curry scored 31 points and made sure the defending champions do not have an early vacation with a 120-111 victory over the Thunder on Thursday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals 2016.

Curry has this to say — “We just did what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to win at home. We know what we still have to do going forward. … We knew if we didn’t win we were going home. There’s no other motivation you need.”

MVP Stephen Curry is still hurting from a series of injuries – ankle, sore knee, tender elbow but coach Steve Kerr thinks he is fine — “I thought he looked like 91 percent. He came out and played a really good game. That’s all I can tell you. He’s going to compete every night. He had an excellent night and helped us get it done.”

The Warriors looked very much like the Warriors who won 73-games in the regular season as Klay Thompson scored 27 points to keep their hopes alive. Thompson chimes in — “None of us want to go home. We’re having too much fun out there.”

Kevin Durant still had a big night scoring 40 points while Russell Westbrook put in 31 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals.

The Warriors was dealt with a first back-to-back loss this season against the Thunder that saw them go down 3-1 in the series.

“We have to take that game and travel,” Curry notes about this win.

The Thunder went down fighting as Durant even scored a 3-pointer with 4:34 remaining which closed the gap to 103-98.

Steve Kerr said — “I liked our will, I liked our fight. We were embarrassed in OKC the last couple games.”

Thunder had a very good game as Thunder coach says — “We didn’t shoot a particularly good percentage when we got into the lane and got into the deep paint. We had our opportunities.” However, the Warriors had a great game and total team effort, Curry says, — “We really relied on the entire team tonight, which is when we’re at our best”.

Steve Kerr adds — “We played with great desperation. I knew how we would play. This is a championship team.”

Durant identified the complacency that happened — “Their bench came in and made shots, made plays for them. We know we’re going home. We can’t relax.”

Game 5 Western Conference Finals 2016 PREVIEW

The Warriors have suddenly trailed in the series 3-1 and the team that looked invincible are now in the brink of elimination. It is too late for major Xs and Os and the major work that needs to be done here is to get the team mentally prepared for the next game and possible the next three games under a resilient and powerful Thunders’ team.

Kerr has this to say — “Well, it’s a sense of reality staring us in the face. We’re down 3-1. “Momentum can shift quickly in the playoffs. We’ve seen that the last couple years. Let’s take care of business at home, get some momentum back and we’ve got a chance.”

The Warriors team had been very tough throughout the season and every team seemed like an easy picking but today with the Oklahoma Thunders, the Warriors team are faced with a formidable opponent that will test the strength of the 73-win regular season team.

After the Warriors were defeated 118-94 and went down for 3-1 series standing, Kerr says the mood is not good — “It was not festive. It was quiet.”

The Golden State Warriors had a huge 21 turnover for the game and Stephen Curry who is deadly from beyond the arc looked like someone who couldn’t shoot as he was only able to make 2 out of 10 3-pointers.

Is Stephen Curry affected by the injury? Kerr says — “I don’t do that. If he were struggling with anything, I would know. Nobody has said anything about Steph being 70 percent to me. Our training staff, relatives, friends, sources with knowledge of our team’s thinking, nobody has told me he’s 70 percent.”

Golden State will need to see the Splash Brothers step up and have huge games to get this team back to the finals. There are only nine teams in history that was able to get back from a 3-1 deficit. Kerr however is optimistic since they are the defending champions.

Thunder coach says this — “Again, we have great respect for Golden State. We know how good of a team they are. You’ve got to get to a place after each game – what happened in the game, what do we need to get better, what do we do well, what are some changes or adjustments we need to make – and then you’ve got to move into the next one. I just don’t believe that Game 5 is a continuation from Game 4. This is its own separate game and we’re going to have to go now on the road to play in a very difficult environment against a great team.”

Durant who last reached the Finals in 2012 is very close to getting back to the Championships — “Every game you have a sense of urgency, it’s the playoffs and you know what everybody’s playing for. We’ve just got to come out there and be who we are. We can’t put too much pressure on ourselves. We have to go out, play the game, and play with passion and energy. And we know the whole crowd’s going to be against us and we have to stick together even more.”

Kerr knows how well prepared the Thunders are — “They’ve had a lot of frustration over the years. They’re healthy. They’re whole. They are determined, and they want what we have. We have a banner hanging up in here and we take great pride in that. It’s a hard thing to accomplish, and they’ve been close, but they haven’t done it, and they’re coming after us. They’re really getting after it and playing well and competing. We’ve got to stand up to that.”

The Thunder have the ability to close this out in Game 5 but the Warriors is not going to be a push-over and would fight and might be able to win this still.

GAME 4 played on May 24, 2016, OKC wins leads the series 3-1 on the score of 118 (OKC) – 94 (GSW)
Game 4 Western Conference Finals 2016 RECAP

The unthinkable just happened, Golden State Warriors are now down in the series 3-1 and are in the brink of elimination. Russell Westbrook had an incredible triple double performance with 36 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists as the Thunder have beaten the Warriors by 24 point on the score of 118-94.

This also marks the first time that the Warriors have lost two consecutive games this season.

Warriors head coach said — “We all have to bounce back. The good news is, we go home. Obviously we play well at home. The idea now is to go home and get one win. Do that, and we put some pressure on them and we’ll see what happens.”

The Warriors was led by splash brother Klay Thompson with 26 points. Stephen Curry who is probably still hurting was only able to score 19 points on 6-20 shooting. However, Steve Kerr says Curry is fine — “He’s not injured. He’s coming back from the knee, but he’s not injured. He just had a lousy night. It happens, even to the best players in the world.”

The last time the Warriors have lost consecutive games by at least 20 points was 44 years ago in 1972 Western Conference Semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The team struggled including Draymond Green who usually keeps low turnovers and hustles on productive on both ends of the floor as he only finished with six points, 11 rebounds plus six turnovers.

Aside from superstart Durant and Westbrook, the Thunder got huge contribution from Andre Roberson who scored 17 points, 12 rebounds. Durant finished the game with 26 points, 11 rebounds while Serge Ibaka added 17 points and seven rebounds in a total team contributing effort that gave them a 3-2 lead in the series.

Westbrook who posted his 5th playoff career triple double has this to say — “I play every game like it’s my last, regardless of who’s in front of me. That’s my job, and my job is to worry about my team, and that’s all I do.” Russel continues — “I think we’re in a good place, but like I said, this game is over. We’ve got to move on to the next game. Every game is different.”

It was a tight match at the beginning that had the Thunder lead by only 4 points at the end of the first quarter 30-26. They had a run in the second quarter and by the end of the half they were leading by 19 points 72-53.

The Warriors tried to rally back at the start of the third quarter with Klay Tompson scoring 19 points at the start of the third quarter. Thunder still was able to hold off a major comeback and still had the lead at 94-82.

Curry notes — “This is a tough situation to be in, but the series isn’t over.”

Game 4 Western Conference Finals 2016 PREVIEW

Draymond Green is being accused by Russell Westbrook of intentionally kicking and hurting Thunder Steven Adams. The Thunder have managed to keep up with the Warriors by their hustle plays and Adams is out hustling and outplaying Draymond Green in this series so far.

Green appear to have kicked 7-foot, 255-pound Adams in the second quarter of GSW’s Game 3 loss to Oklahoma City on Sunday night.

Green has this response — “There are multiple plays where I did it later in the game when I got fouled and my right leg went up. I always do it. Russell said I did it on purpose, but he’s part of the superstar group that started all this acting in the NBA. Russell Westbrook kicked me at the end of the half. He just didn’t happen to catch me where I caught Steven Adams.”

Westbrook responded — “I’ve never been fined for one flop since I’ve been playing in the NBA. I don’t know about no flopping or nothing. I don’t know how to flop. But it seems like he was the one that was flailing, kicking his legs out and stuff yesterday. It wasn’t me.”

Draymond Green was called for a flagrant 1 foul and Adam said Green has done it twice already, once in Game 2. The NBA fined Draymond with $25,000 and the foul was upgraded to flagrant 2. Good thing however is that there are no suspensions and the series would be fought with both teams complete and ready to battle.

Steve Kerr says — “He needs to refocus a little bit. He’ll admit it. It was not one of his best games – in fact, it was one of his worst. The great thing with Draymond is he always turns it around. He’s one of the great competitors that we have in the league, that we have on our team. When things aren’t looking great, he usually plays his best. “Does he have to be careful? I guess. Now, people are watching for him or whatever. He’s just going to play, he’s going to be himself, and we’ll see what happens.”

Green defends himself downplaying the flagrant foul — “I can see how somebody can think it was intentional, but yet nobody can go in my head and say, `Draymond was thinking about kicking him and he kicked him. If you watch my reaction, I walk back to the three-point line, clap everybody’s hands, turn around and look like, `What’s the dude on the floor for?”‘

Now Green is being booed by the Thunder crowd — “That’s what was frustrating to me. I was just bad. I missed a couple easy ones and it just kind of killed my whole game. That was pretty frustrating, especially with all the boos, because I love boos and it usually helps me play well. It was frustrating that I couldn’t get it going.”

Green needs to be back in his usual self as he seem out of element. He is only averaging 13 points on 37 percent shooting in the series, and just 5.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists. Green averages 14 points on a high 49 percent shooting, 9.5 rebounds and 7.4 assists.

Curry believes in Green — “He’s mentally strong, so nothing that happened last night is going to affect Game 4 except light a fire probably. You can look at trends and all that. In the Houston series, he was able to understand what he needed to do differently. He’s a very smart guy. He has a great eye for the game. I think it matters to him a lot to have an impact on the game. He’ll find a way.”

GAME 3 played on May 22, 2016, OKC wins leads the series 2-1 on the score of 133 (OKC) – 105 (GSW)
Game 3 Western Conference Finals 2016 RECAP

Getting blown out by 28 points by a team you have mastered to beat during the regular season is not looking well for the Championship hopes of Golden State Warriors. The Thunder have brought on the firepower thunderous enough to take the lead in the Western Conference Finals 2016.

The Warriors who are bidding to win back to back Championships found themselves sinking against the Thunder as they are now trailing. The Thunder is led by Durant’s 33 points and Westbrook adding 30 points and 12 assists and eight rebounds. The Warriors lost by 28 points and have even trailed by a huge 41 points against the Thunder’s.

Kerr has this to say — “We got what we deserved”.

Durant and Westbrook are playing extremely well as both have been shooting more than 50 percent from the field.

Tompson has this to say — “We’re not going to win that way. One of those guys got to have an off night.”

Golden State will need to focus on winning the next game otherwise they will fall behind 3-1 against a powerful and explosive Oklahoma City Thunder. This is not an unfamiliar territory for the Warriors as they also trailed Memphis and Cleveland 2-1 in playoff series last year before winning the Championship title.

As Kerr puts it — “Both times, we got blown out in Game 3, and we responded well, so we have that memory. I’m confident we’re going to come out and play a really good game in Game 4, and we’ll see what happens.”

Game 3 Western Conference Finals 2016 PREVIEW

The Splash Brothers are fueling the Golden State Warriors and what could have been a clear easy series became a tough competitive one as the Oklahoma City Thunders are working the Warriors with their big guys.

The Thunder have secured game 1 by beating the Warriors on the boards by eight and against a team who likes to shoot from the outside, the ability to rebound the ball is a key factor in this series.

The Warriors are aware of this which is why in Game 2 they were able to tie the series by beating them in the rebounding department despite being the smaller team. The hustle needs to be spot on for the Warriors with Green, Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli and Marreese Speights defending the boards.

Green says they are ready to get physical – “always flying in there, trying to get the rebound. So you’ve got to hit bodies.”

The Warriors crashed the offensive boards even when the Thunder have the upper hand in rebounds and can quickly translate it into a fastbreak.

Durant has this to say on the Warriors adjustments on the boards — “I think they just got all the 50-50 balls on the offensive glass. It kind of surprises when guys are running in there because we’re so good in transition. But they were in there and able to get their hands on some basketballs, so you have to give them credit.”

The Thunder needs to make adjustments here and Durant says — “It’s on us to make adjustments, boxing guys out and putting bodies on them and getting those rebounds. As simple as that. So we can’t have that next game.”

The Thunder not only have their power forwards Ibaka and center Adams who are crashing the boards but even Durant and Westbrook are not only deadly on the offensive end but also in the rebounding departments.

Ezeli is one of the forwards in the Warriors team tasked to take care of the boards, has this to say — “We know they’re a very tough team,” he said. “It’s going to be a battle of the rest of the series, that’s for sure. We just have to keep focusing on what we do and playing the right way, and hopefully it works out in our favor.”

GAME 2 played on May 18, 2016, GSW wins ties the series 1-1 on the score of 118 (GSW) – 91 (OKC)
Game 2 Western Conference Finals 2016 RECAP

As expected the odds for Thunder winning four straight road playoff games and the Golden State Warriors losing two straight this season have caught up and the Warriors coasted along to win the second game of the Western Conference Finals on a 27-point lead 118-91. This marks the Warriors 12-0 record after losing a game this season.

Curry says its all about his comment on “pain tolerance” but when he dived into the stand in the first quarter fans were concerned whether he hurt his knee furthermore or the elbow which had a direct hit on the metal platform. Curry assured he was alright — “The elbow’s fine. It looks like it has a tennis ball on top of it. … I should be all right.”

More than words, his actions on a barage of points were enough to silence concerns as he scored 15 straight points in less than 2 minutes in the third quarter.

Steve Kerr has this to say — “Business as usual. This is what he does. I feel great joy. It’s true.”

Klay Thompson who had his own run of scoring 20 points or more eight straight games was halted by adding just 15 points as the whole team had a balanced attack in their home game.

Thompson has this to say — “We responded all year long whether it was a bad loss or a sloppy win. We come back sharp the next game, and it’s a testament to everybody on this team.”

Kevin Durant scored 29 points and Russell Westbrook only had 16 points but 12 assists for the Thunder. Russel Westbrook who earlier said Curry is not something he hadn’t seen before regarding his ability to score points, I am sure he is seeing Curry’s dominance up close right now.

The Warriors hustled better this time around as for the first time in five meetings they have out rebounded the Thunder. Their defense also elevated as Durant notes — “They were sending three guys. I was trying to make the right pass. Maybe I’ve just got to shoot over three people.”

Kevin Durant made some key errors on the third quarter as he fouled Stephen Curry on a 3-point attempt and got a technical foul after he swatted his hand in frustration. Stephen Curry scored a quick four points on the foul line and added a couple of long shots including a 3 pointer to give the Warriors a 76-59 lead with 5:47 remaining in the third quarter.

OKC coach commented on the Warriors’ game play on both offense and defense — “They were certainly very, very lively on both ends of the floor. We let Curry get loose a few times.”

Rounding up the Warriors balanced performance were the no-look layup and alley-oop dunk from Andre Iguodala, double digit performance from Festus Ezeli scoring 12 points, Mareese Speights added 13 off the bench.

On Curry’s scary jump to the stands, Green has this to say — “Flying over the seats like that you don’t know if it’s a leg, if it’s an elbow, if it’s a head.”

Curry is playing through pain on his MCL knee injury as says — “Tonight, started off with a nice punch and was able to sustain it over the course of the game. When I get open shots obviously the confidence is there to knock them down. It’s been like that since I’ve been back. My body’s catching up and I think I’m there.”

In an off-court news, Golden State won the “Sports Team of the year” and owner Joe Lacob “Sports Executive of the Year” at the Ninth Annual Sports Business Awards in New York.

Game 2 Western Conference Finals 2016 PREVIEW

With the Oklahoma City Thunder winning their first game against the Warriors in the Western Conference finals and getting their third straight playoff win on the road they are confident and ready to face on the Warriors. However, I feel that the law of average will now catch up especially against the Warriors who barely lose at home. The Thunder have defeated the Spurs and Warriors in their last three games, both teams have combined on 79-3 win-loss home record. Aside from that the Thunder have not won four straight road playoffs games since the 1995-1996 Seattle Supersonics.

Their streak might end tonight. The Warriors are expected to come blazing as they don’t want to put themselves in a 0-2 hole and losing both of their home games. Another thing going for the Warriors is that they haven’t lost
two straight games this season.

Green has this to say — “That doesn’t matter at this point. Obviously, it helps just knowing what to do to not lose back-to-back games, but it’s the playoffs. It’s the conference finals. The other guys are playing better. KD (Durant) didn’t play well last night to KD’s standards. Russ didn’t play to Russ’s standards, yet they won the game because the other guys are playing better. So that’s something that we’ve got to take care of and make sure that everybody else is not getting off and having really good games.”

One of the “other” guys that Green is referring to is Steven Adams who had 16 points and 12 rebounds and Serge Ibaka contributing 11 poinst and rebounds.

Steve has a lot of respect for the Thunder — “This is obviously a really good defensive team we’re playing against. They’ve got length and athleticism, and in a lot of cases they force you into kind of iso ball. I thought they did that to San Antonio quite a bit in the last series.”

Durant might have not played well according to Green but aside from 26 points he still had 10 rebounds to get his first double-double of the playoffs while Westbrook had 12 assists and seven steals on top of 27 points.

The Oklahoma Thunder is not getting overconfident despite getting homecourt advantage with their road win; Durant is keeping it realistic — “We got a W the first Game 1, but there is a lot of basketball to be played, so we can’t be too excited. It was a good win for us, but we’re not going to be jumping up and down, chest-bumping on the court. We’ve got a lot more basketball to play.”

GAME 1 played on May 16, 2016, OKC wins takes 1-0 lead on the score of 108 (OKC) – 102 (GSW)
Game 1 Western Conference Finals 2016 RECAP

Durant & Westbrook carried the Thunder defeating the Warriors Warriors 108-102

The Warriors came in blazing as expected and looked to win their 4th straight against the Thunder this season and locking their 1st playoff win in the Western Conference Finals; however, Durant & Westbrook would not let that happen as they rallied from 14 points down to secure a road game victory 108-102.

The Thunder head coach Donovan, has this to say “You have to have a mindset coming into these kinds of venues. Our guys, I think they understand what they’re walking into. You don’t just walk in here say, `Oh, everything’s going to be OK.’ You have to have a mindset to understand. The first thing is to embrace the fact it’s going to be hard.”

Durant scored an important 17-foot jumper with 30.7 seconds remaining while finishing with 26 points. Westbrook led all scorers with 27 points and added 12 assists and seven steals. The Thunder seems to have benefitted from their Western Conference finals experience as they are playing in this stage for the 4th time in six years.

Warriors has the ability to score in boat loads, come from behind and bury their opponent, and hold on to big leads however Durant says it best about his teams’ resilience — “We just stayed with it on the defensive end and when we got the shots late in the game we were able to focus in and knock them down. We’re just a resilient group and keep fighting `til the end.”

Westbrook knows the mental strength required to compete in the Warriors ground — “We’ve just got to compete. It’s going to be a tough game. It’s a tough building. They have a lot of great players on their team, but I know we’re a great team and when we put our minds to it, tonight we didn’t play our best game and we came out with a win.”

The good news for the Warriors despite the loss is that they only scored 42 second-half points and 14 in the fourth quarter; both are the lowest output for the team this season and would be hard to imagine the Warriors hitting their all-time low in the succeeding games.

Stephen Curry scored 26 points and added playoff career high 10 rebounds. Curry has this to say on their low scoring output in the second half — “We got rushed and tried to go for the home-run plays. Sometimes it works. Defensively we were getting enough stops and rebounds. We got out of character a little bit. It’s something we’ll learn from going forward.”

It was a close match until the end with the Warriors still having the chance to win the game when they were down 105-102 when Westbrook was not called for a traveling violation with 17.2 seconds remaining and the Thunder quickly calling for a timeout.

Thompson scored 25 points but only 6 points in the second half. Durant on the other hand was instrumental in getting the Thunder within striking distance when he closed the gap 88-85 going into the fourth quarter and scoring a three point shot to tie the game 88-88. The Thunder got their first lead of the game via a Dion Waiters’ layup 1.5 minutes into the fourth quarter.

Westbrook who was clamped down by Thompson in the early period missed 9 of his first 10 shots but was able to overcome the defense and scoring 19 points in the third quarter.

Golden State anchored on Green hustles the ball very well but against Durant, Ibaka and Adams they are falling behind. Thunder’s hustle allowed each of these three players for a double-digit rebound stat.

Curry is optimistic on their chances — “It’s not a good feeling losing Game 1, especially at home. It’s fun to have this opportunity to come back, show what we’re made of.”

Curry is not yet 100 percent coming off from the knee injury though he says he can manage just fine, it’s just about “pain tolerance” going forward.

Scoring Entertainment
With the Thunders and Warriors series fans are able to witness scoring delight as Curry and Thompson are the highest scoring partners in the NBA with 52.2 points while Durant and Westbrook are close second 51.7 points per game.

Thompson is having a scoring record of his own as he has now scored 20 points or more in eight straight playoff games for the Warriors, a record currently held by Tim Hardaway’s 12 games in 1991-1992 season.

Game 1 Western Conference Finals 2016 PREVIEW

The Golden State Warriors are going into the Western Conference finals brimming with confidence especially after they have won all three-regular season games against the Thunder. The team however needs to be extra careful since the Thunders are looking more like the super underdogs coming from behind to upset everyone for a Championship run. The Thunders led by Durant and Westbrook have defeated the San Antonio Spurs 4-2 in the series to the surprise of many. It was though that the Western Finals will be between the Spurs and the Warriors after San Antonio also had a excellent season only to be eclipsed by the historic 73-win record of the Warriors.

In the Warriors and Thunder previous meeting in February, the Thunders almost came out with a victory if it wasn’t for the miraculous half-court shot by Curry to win the game in Overtime. As the team have chimed in starting with Green — “I have no clue. That’s one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen. That’s not supposed to happen.”

Curry has acknowledged the potential of the Thunders — “They’re an explosive team. They’re clicking right now and found a good recipe to beat a tough Spurs team. That says a lot about how they’re playing right now.” He also adds, “The last three years against them it’s been pretty entertaining games, most of the time going down to the wire, so you can only imagine what it will be like in the playoffs. Every possession’s going to be key.”

We are hoping that this will be a great series and that Curry would be able to play all the games in the Western Conference Finals. He missed most of the games in the 1st round, and the first three games in the second round due to sprained right knee. Stephen still looks to be in good form as he scored 40 points against the Trailblazers when he came back from the injury and added 29 points to close out Portland.

Key items to be noted for the game are as follows:

Bogut is listed as questionable because of a strained muscle and Kerr says it depends on his warmup workout if Bogut can play.
Curry is about “pain tolerance” regarding his knee injury and he expects to be able to handle his regular load
Westbrook will have his hands full against Thompson who has excellent defense and was able to clamp down on Lillard and Harden.

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