The Oklahoma City Thunder have a 2-1 edge over a 73-win Golden State Warriors squad in the Western Conference Finals, and it appears the sky is falling in Dub Nation as the chemical balance of the NBA fluctuates by the bucket.
Must by Conference Finals time.
I thought an NBA playoff series went seven games, but apparently, according to many of my close expert prognosticators such as Sports Guru Champ, Rob Parker and a bevy of other respected sports minds, this series was over after the dramatic, 108-102 come-from-behind win that OKC pulled out in Game 1.
They weren’t impressed by Golden State’s easy Game 2 comeback either. The Warriors cruised to a 118-91 win. Losing that road game, they told me, "snatched the heart of Chef Curry and The Potcookers, and it was a blow that they won’t be able to recover from."
I laughed then and I’m laughing now, even after OKC’s 133-105 “Chesapeake Energy Arena Assaut” in Game 3 on Monday night.
The basketball world wanted to see more from Russell Westbrook (30 points, 12 assists and eight boards) in Game 3. He and Kevin Durant (32 points on just 17 field goal attempts) answered the bell and did what NBA fans have waited four years to see again. The healthy Dynamic Duo took charge of a Conference Final game and opened up a can of whup ass on Golden State. At one point, the Warriors trailed by an unfamiliar 41 points.
"We got what we deserved," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game, obviously at a loss of words concerning his team's putrid performance.
The last time Curry played in Oklahoma City, he scored 46 points and tied an NBA record with 12 3-pointers and hit a game-winning, 37-footer. This time, the two-time MVP finished with a modest 24 points on 7-for-17 shooting. Klay Thompson was unimpactful, adding 18 points on 8-for-19 shooting.
OKC’s relentless bumrush frustrated Draymond Green to the point that he kicked Steven Adams in the groin on a play and received a Flagrant 1. It was reminiscent of Dennis Rodman's kick to the groin of an unsuspecting photographer on an out of bounds play back in the gritty NBA 90s.
Golden State looks a bit out of sync, but we know that the Warriors' entire game is predicated on making the three-ball at a rate unattainable by most humans. They made just 6 of 23 treys in the first half and 10 of 33 overall. The resounding loss makes total sense. It’s not about one team taking another team’s heart in Game 1 or Game 3 of a high stakes series.
By the way, that Durant and Westbrook performance is not something you should expect to see every game. It was the first time since 1991 that multiple players scored at least 30 points against the Warriors in a playoff game.
Durant made 10 of 15 shots and Westbrook was 10 of 19. It was also the first time this postseason that both players shot better than 50 percent from the field.
When you win 73 of 82 games in a season, complacency can set in at times. Remember, Golden State is the hunted and the defending NBA champions. Everybody gets up to play them, every night. Things change in the playoffs, however. Performances elevate and some fizzle out. Momentum often rules the day and the psychological sparring is a must see.
OKC’s two beasts finally got the best of Golden State’s money boss players. It happens when you have four of the top 10 players in the game on one court in a Conference Finals.
Many basketball heads believe that the two best teams in the NBA, regardless of what team LBJ is spear-heading, played on Sunday night. Now, people are increasingly switching to the OKC bandwagon and identifying them as the NBA’s No. 1 team.
That was quick. Golden State’s hobby was catching bodies just a week ago. Now, folks are talking like they are an easy lick.