Low blows and high expectations to occur in NBA finals
For the first time in what seems like forever, the Golden State Warriors are in trouble. This squad has yet to face adversity of this severity in the playoffs thus far, but the Oklahoma City Thunder fired on all cylinders in their 133-105 defeat of the reigning champs. Kevin Durant shot an incredibly efficient 10-15 with 33 points and was a perfect 12-12 from the free throw line in 32 minutes. Additionally, Durant only had one TO which was a huge improvement from Game 2 in which he turned the ball over eight times.
The Thunder began to break away in the second quarter and didn’t look back as their relentless defense translated to the other end of the court and sparked an offensive flurry. The Thunder capitalized on Golden State misses by running out and scoring points in transition. Their ability to control the tempo of the game led to an easy win, and, for the first time since the 2015 NBA finals, the Dubs have found themselves in a little bit of a hole. This clearly isn’t the end of the 2015-2016 Warriors, not even close, but this OKC team looks like they are actually a formidable challenger to potentially boot the Dubs from their throne. Making matters worse is the prospect of a Draymond Green suspension for Game 4 after he once again tried to take a shot at the private parts of Steven Adams. That was a low blow, Draymond.
The Thunder is a team that has been regarded as a step below the first tier contenders. Their play throughout the regular season was relatively inconsistent in their first year under Billy Donovan, but what ultimately matters is the health of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. These two superstars have the ability to accelerate their levels of play when called upon because they have an unreal desire to win. While they have yet to capture the elusive championship that has been within arm’s reach in the past, these two stars should be respected for their ability to overcome adversity. It seems as if neither of them have been fully healthy at the same exact time in recent memory, and that has been their achilles heel. But now here they are: healthy, unafraid and ready to take the next step. This is the type of playoff basketball that we have all been waiting for. The last two games might’ve been blowouts, but it will be fascinating to watch the rest of this series. One should never take for granted the opportunity to watch five of the best players in the NBA dueling it out on one of the biggest stages in sports.
Written by: Michael Wexler — firstname.lastname@example.org