Thunder Want Hot Start And Big Finish
By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
Who knows if the trend will continue tonight but in this series with the Warriors and in these playoffs the Thunder are undefeated when they’ve led at the end of the first quarter.
The Warriors are 2-0 in this series when they’ve been on top after one.
And the Thunder are 9-0 in the playoffs when they’ve led any game by at least 10 points at any time during the contest.
So it kinda sounds like whichever team has a good first 12 minutes that team has a good chance of sustaining that success.
None of that is a shock to Kevin Durant.
“That’s just the playoffs,” he said. “That’s what every team wants to do you wanna start off the game with the first punch and play physical basketball and I think that’s what we’ve been doin’ throughout these playoffs is being as physical as we can.”
And Durant said that must continue tonight if the Thunder are going to walk out of the arena with a trophy.
“We got a bunch of guys that play that way so if we wanna have a chance to beat this team tonight we gotta come out and do that from the beginning.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters after his team’s shootaround this morning, “I feel like we’re more prepared, especially after Game 5, so I feel good about tonight.”
Kerr admitted though he also felt good about the Warriors chances going into both Games 3 and 4 which ended up being Thunder blowouts fueled by the raucous atmosphere inside The Peake.
“We just need to be solid on both end of the floor,” Kerr said when asked if the Warriors need to start fast. “We gotta execute offensively, we can’t turn it over, we gotta get good shots and then defensively get back in transition. It sounds boring but that’s how you stay in games.”
The Thunder have now won four straight home playoff games by at least 20 points, “this is a great crowd,” Kerr said. A crowd that can easily energize the home team and help overwhelm the visitors.
But like Billy Donovan said on Friday Durant agreed he and his teammates can’t depend on the voices of the fans in the seats to insure victory.
“We gotta go out there and play,” he said. “No matter where we are, who we’re playing against we still have to go out there and play and we gotta bring our “A” game, play hard and be disciplined.”
Tipoff is set for 8 o’clock tonight and you can see the game exclusively on TNT. You can follow me on Twitter @RandyRenner for live updates and check out our feed page for tweets from other NBA and Thunder reporters. Full postgame coverage, videos and blogs will be posted here after the game.