By Suave Francisco
Have you ever heard about that kid in high school that didn't really apply themselves in school, but when they took the ACT they nailed it? Well, let's use that analogy in regards to the Oklahoma City Thunder this season. They did win 55 games, but everyone thought they could've done better. That hasn't been the case throughout the playoffs and definitely not the case in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, where they tied a playoff scoring high 133 points, in a 133-105 victory.
What a welcomed sight. Watching OKC rip Golden State apart for three quarters was pure music to my ears. Stephen Curry just didn't play the game he normally plays, only scoring 24 points and shot 3-11 from three and 7-17 from the field.
The common denominator is their big men, who sort of underachieved as usual, but Draymond Green played a horrible game with just six points on 1-9 shooting and four turnovers. He will still make headlines though after he 'inadvertently' kicked Steven Adams in his area for the second consecutive game this series.
Russell thought it was intentional.
Oklahoma City had the ability to go small against the Warriors today and didn't have a problem with it at all. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook couldn't be stopped, scoring a combined 63 points, on 20-34 (59 percent) shooting. Russell was mighty close to a triple-double as well after dishing out 12 assists and collecting 8 rebounds. If he would've played the fourth quarter, he'd have it.
The team didn't shoot half bad either, after making half their shots...exactly 50 percent from the field. Six players scored in double-figures, which is great but not overly surprising. The surprise here was Andre Roberson playing yet another great offensive game. That's really become a thing in this series for him. He's averaging 11.3 points per game this series, and it's not because he's getting lucky. He's actually knocking these shots down. His emergence in this series has, in a sense changed some things up. He's somewhat a scoring threat now. He's not anyone that'll take over a game, but if you don't guard him, clearly he's able to add a few buckets to OKC's juggernaut offense. With this happening, it would be wise of Steve Kerr to actually put someone on him. This will eliminate many of the double-teams we see on Kevin/Russell, and we all know what can happen when these two players are one-on-one versus a defender.
Enes Kanter reverted back to his old form with a double-double off the bench. Finishing with 10 points and 12 rebounds in 18 minutes of play. Draymond Green's off-night really played a huge role in Kanter's game because Green was the only reason he hasn't played as well thus far in the series. Although I don't expect Draymond to play this poorly again, this may have gotten Enes the confidence he needs to perform at a high level from here on out.
Turnovers weren't much of a problem for Durant either, in the two previous games this series he finished with far too many turnovers, which in Game 2 was one of the major reasons the team lost, it felt like they couldn't get a solid possession. That wasn't the problem at all tonight, they got plenty of quality possessions, and Kevin only had one turnover. Pretty weird coincidence huh?
The teams offensive aggressiveness also played a big role in this game, as it led to the Thunder shooting 37 free throws and luckily they made 89.2 percent of them.
At one point, the Thunder were up 41 points, the biggest deficit all season for the Warriors. That obviously kept them down for the remainder of the game which led to a huge Thunder victory. OKC goes up 2-1 in the series now, with game four being right back here in Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena. Golden State hasn't lost two straight games all season, so let's see how this pans out.