Something happened on the way to the Golden State Warriors’ destined second trip to another NBA Finals: they got slapped in the mouth by Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder team in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
The Warriors probably don’t know what exactly hit them, but it came in a blur. That would be in the form of Westbrook, who went nuclear on the Warriors in third quarter to score 19 of his 27 points to lead OKC to a 108-102 road win at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The Warriors scored just 14 points in the fourth quarter. When was the last time we saw that kind of meltdown from the Warriors?
With just about every NBA expert salivating over Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and the rest of the defending champs Warriors, foolishly they have been sleeping on OKC. The last I checked two is always better than one. That’s the equation the Warriors are dealing with when it comes to the number of superstars on each team.
The Warriors, of course, have Curry. On the other side, OKC has Durant, the last player to win the NBA MVP before Curry took it away the last two seasons. They also have the unstoppable motor of Westbrook, one of the top five players in this league.
It’s only one game, but those numbers came to fruition in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, with Westbrook proving to the Warriors and the rest of the world that he is going to bring his hard hat with him every night with the NBA Finals in view.
Good luck with that Warriors. During last season’s run to their NBA championship run, Curry and the Warriors didn’t have to face any team’s starting point guard until the NBA Finals, and that was an abbreviation as Cleveland Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving went down with an injury in Game 1 of that series.
Curry and the Warriors had their hands full with Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers in the previous series. The Thunder, on the other hand, are a different type of team. The two obvious reasons are Durant and Westbrook. Other teams might have melted under Warriors’ avalanche of kudos on the road, but not OKC.
The Thunder have been there and done that. This is the fourth time in six years that OKC have played in the Western Conference Finals. Durant and Westbrook have played in the NBA. So, along with their mercurial skills, OKC is not new to this stage. And they may be a bit hungrier given the fact they still have no championship rings in the Durant and Westbrook era.
This spells trouble for the Warriors.