The Oklahoma City Thunder are in full control of the West Finals. With the defending champion Golden State Warriors now down 3-1 after losing 118-94 in Game 4, OKC is on the verge of its second NBA Finals appearance in the Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrook era.
For the first time of its remarkable 73-regular-season-win campaign, the Warriors have lost twice in a row. It was made possible due to a 36/11/11 game from Westbrook, 26/11 from Kevin Durant, and various contributions from role players.
The critical OKC players who stepped up were Andre Roberson and Serge Ibaka. With no turnovers, Roberson managed to put up 17 points, 12 boards, and 5 steals. Ibaka had 17 points on 11 shots.
Westbrook has been better than 12-27 and Durant has certainly had more efficient contests than 8-24, but OKC’s aggression was on point. This made up for a 43.3 percent shooting display from the field as a team. OKC relentlessly attacked the rim, helping the team shoot 40 free throws compared to 29 for the Warriors.
On Golden State’s end, where does one start? Stephen Curry went 6-20 from the floor and had 6 turnovers. Draymond Green had 6 turnovers on 1-7 shooting. No one on the bench stepped up in any majorly considerable way.
The sole glimmer of hope in this 20-turnover game from the Warriors was a brief Klay Thompson display of excellence in the third quarter. His hot shooting helped GSW cut the deficit to 6, but it wasn’t enough. Thompson didn’t receive help from his teammates, hardly a common statement throughout this 73-win season.
One can also point to Golden State going 9-30 on triples. While OKC didn’t light it up with its 43.3 percent number, it was nevertheless higher than the 41.3 percent showing from GSW. OKC deserves the utmost credit for its dominant victory, however, it’s clear the Warriors are in its own head. Golden State has been sloppy, unpredictable, and careless over the past two games. Drastic changes in efficiency and star-like performances are needed for GSW to make this a series.
OKC now takes its 3-1 to Oakland for Game 5 which will be Thursday, 5/26 at 9:00 PM ET.
|9:00 PM ET, May 24, 2016
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Attendance: 18,203
|K. Looney||DNP — INACTIVE|
|J. McAdoo||DNP — INACTIVE|
|N. Collison||DNP — COACH’S DECISION|
|J. Huestis||DNP — INACTIVE|
|M. McGary||DNP — INACTIVE|
Officials: Dan Crawford, John Goble, Bill Kennedy
Time of Game: 2:30