Through all the struggles of a regular season, OKC one win from the NBA Finals
By Suave Francisco
The Golden State Warriors don't look like the best team in NBA history right now and Steph Curry doesn't look like the unanimous MVP. The Oklahoma City Thunder are out-working the Warriors. Golden State only looked like the better team one game in this series, and that is all. The Oklahoma City Thunder look like a completely different team at this point, definitely better than the inconsistency we saw throughout the season. With that being said, the Thunder control another game against the Warriors and take a 3-1 lead after an 118-94 trouncing of the Warriors.
This is the first time in the past two years that I've witnessed Golden State frazzled. They have absolutely no answer for the Thunder and that became obvious when even Stephen Curry couldn't hit a shot. He shot 6-20 on the night and 2-10 from three for 19 points. Like I assumed, Draymond Green didn't have an effective scoring night offensively either, and other than his three steals, he wasn't much of a factor at all. I mean, Steven Adams and Serge Ibaka combined for 26 points and 14 rebounds. Even Andre Roberson got into the paint with ease, racking up 12 rebounds of his own. Andre is a guard, but with the exception of his five steals, his stat-line looked like a power forward's; 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 steals. The point is, Draymond has been limited and can't adjust to OKC's game plan, scoring just six points and committing six turnovers. Like I said, the only positive stat he had was his three steals and 11 rebounds.
Klay Thompson tried to make this game interesting in the third quarter, scoring 19 points, and 22 total in the second half but due to foul trouble, coach Kerr had no choice but to pull him and that's when the rout continued. Thompson finished with 26 points.
Russell Westbrook probably played with the most energy I've seen him play with all season, and that's saying something. I don't even know how that is possible but it happened. Finishing with another one of his familiar triple-doubles, scoring 36 points, along with 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Durant didn't shoot well, just 33.3 percent from the field, and 1-5 from three but that didn't seem to matter. He was effective on the defensive end with four steals and three blocked shots. He did finish with 26 points, though, and when he and Russell combine for 62 points it's going to be a tough task to win the game for any opposing team. That's without mentioning all five of the Thunder starters finished in double-figures scoring as well.
The resurrection of Serge Ibaka for the majority of this series has been a relief for the team and the fans as well. He's playing like he used to play while also incorporating a perimeter game to his repertoire. That's the way it should be for a 6-foot-10 power forward that made his name in the league by blocking shots and being an above average contributor offensively in the paint. Serge finished the game with 17 points on 7-11 shooting, seven rebounds, and two blocks.
This team is just hitting on all cylinders at the right time of the season. They scored 72 points in two straight playoff games, the first time any team has done so since 1987. They are also on the verge of defeating the NBA's best regular season team in NBA history, in the conference finals. This is a team that's been resilient throughout the course of an entire season, and through all the tragedies that surrounded this franchise, along with the struggles of adjusting to a new coaching staff. This team has started to see a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel.
It's not completely over, though. Oklahoma City will travel back to Oakland, California for Game 5 where they will look to close out the defending champions. This has been an amazing playoff run for Oklahoma City, and I'd like to think that all the talk about Kevin Durant's free agency will be silenced.