The Western Conference Finals: Game One Recap and Predictions

The Oklahoma City Thunder VS. The Golden State Warriors: GAME ONE

Oh boy, oh boy. Game one is the in the books and we’re already in a crazy predicament.
Where there’s lightning, there’s Thunder, and the Oklahoma City Thunder clawed back from 14 down to win 108-102 vs. the Warriors. Exceptional performances from all the usual cast but down the stretch the Thunder take it to lead the series 1-0. The Thunder have now won 3 straight road games against the Warriors and Spurs. The rest of the league only took 3 for the season.

The Thunder did a tremendous job of switching defensive assignments and having their guards fight over the screens of Golden State to keep within striking distance of the W. The shift in momentum occurred in the third quarter and continued onward from there. Westbrook goes off for 19 and the Warriors kept missing shots and turning the ball over, and OKC’s defense remained steady while the Warriors seemingly played like they were coasting.

Steph Curry went for 26 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, and… 7 turnovers. The two time reigning MVP had a solid night up until the 4th quarter where his shot disappeared. Curry’s last made shot was 4:28 of the fourth quarter. Talk about a drought. He went 1-6 in the 4th and had 7 turnovers. Steph looked human this game and the Thunder took advantage. Meanwhile, the Warriors did weird things like chuck up early shots and they also got dominated on the boards.

As a side note, the Andre Iguodala foul with no continuation shouldn’t be a big deal. He’s not a good free throw shooter. I think the Warriors were better off with the in-bounds play instead of sending him to make 1 of 2 (statistically).

Klay Thompson, aka. Splash Bro #2, went for 25 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. He had a pretty good night but all his three’s were in the first half. He solid defense on Westbrook as well. He took a few ill-advised shots in the last 2 quarters but let’s hope he bounces back next game.

Draymond Green went for 23 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. He shot decently but missed all 4 three point attempts. He played pretty well overall but needs to grab more boards if he’s gonna be out there in the forward position.

Now to clarify some things with the last minute or so of play.
According to Royce Young of ESPN, the Thunder were already calling timeout before Westbrook’s travel. Yes, he did travel for sure, but at the same time there’s so much going on, it’s difficult to completely pin this on the refs. Klay looks like he’s bodying Westbrook, Thunder coaching staff yelling at the same refs for a timeout, and the intensity of the game was at an all time high. This does not excuse the refs for the botched call but at the same time, the blame can’t be solely placed on them.

Notably, Westbrook went on a TEAR in the third. Dropping 19 points in that quarter alone, ending the game with a 27 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds, and SEVEN steals. The Warriors team all together had 8. Westbrook had 7. Not only that, through either scoring or assisting, he accounted for 56 – FIFTY SEVEN – of the 108 points the Thunder scored that game. Westbrook also did a great job at trusting his teammates and deferring to KD and his bigs despite being on fire in the third quarter. We’re really starting to see Bestbrook come into form these playoffs. What a treat number 0 is for the Thunder.

Kevin Durant went for 26 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. He did do damage throughout the game but did go cold as the clock ticked down. As a lowlight, Durant shot 1-8 in his last nine attempts of the game but still hit a clutch mid-range jumper to seal the Warriors’s fate. Durant still has the clutch gene, and hits the shots when they need them.

I also want to highlight the New Zealand up and comer, Steven Adams. He was +19 in plus/minus and had a busted hand. What a beast. Honestly, he’s been the best big in the West these past two series and he went for 16 points and 12 rebounds while playing stellar defense. He even made more than his season average of 60% FT shooting. He’s really coming into this own especially alongside fellow twin tower Enes Kanter. This big lineup will continue to do damage vs. Draymond, Bogut, and Ezeli.
Keep your eye out for this guy, he’s tough as nails and is only getting better. He’s the Thunder’s new enforcer and has so much more potential in my opinion.

My prediction for game 2 is that the Warriors win and get their act together. They’ll come out with a fire lit under them and expect to see them much more focused and ready to go. The Warriors bench needs to also step it up their production. They didn’t look like the 73-9 team from the regular season and they’ll look to step up their game tonight in order to advance to the finals.

The Thunder are the first real threat this Warriors squad has had to face this post season, and we’re all in for an amazing back and forth series.