It was an instant classic type of series...
By Suave Francisco
This series was amazing. I don't think anyone would've predicted it either. Forget the 3-1 lead, this team overachieved. No one expected the Thunder to make it past San Antonio, and if some people did, they definitely didn't expect them to compete like they did versus Golden State. With that being said, it's still disappointing to see this amazing run come to an end and that causes some fans to say things that don't make sense.
Let me explain exactly what happened for Golden State to come back from a 3-1 deficit.
The most obvious reason has to be Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. In the three games they lost, Game 1, Game 3 and Game 4 they didn't shoot the ball well, just 20-61 (32.7 percent) from three. Also, Andrew Bogut wasn't much of a factor and Draymond Green didn't perform at his potential level. Things changed, though, the comeback began when OKC headed back to Golden State. In the three games the Warriors won after being down 3-1, Steph and Klay shot a much improved 36-80 (45.7 percent) from the three.
This isn't the time to point fingers, and say certain players didn't do certain things, it's just a situation where two of the best shooters maybe in NBA history, showed up late in the series and found their shooting stroke. No team has found a way to stop them throughout the season, and neither could the Thunder. The defense wasn't bad on them at all. Remember, Golden State led the NBA in scoring this year, averaging 114 points per game and we held them under that mark five of seven games, even holding them to 96 points in a Game 7 loss. So defense isn't the problem at all. It all goes back to the unbelievable Splash Brothers. I can't say it enough, the emergence of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in the final games of this series was the deciding factor.
That isn't all, though. Kevin and Russell started entering panic mode during these last three games. When they had the lead, it was team basketball, everything was fine and dandy, but when the Warriors started making their run in each of those games, they started to panic, and seemed to think they were the only players that could bring this team back into the game. As Charles Barkley and many other basketball analysts said, OKC has the most talented team in the NBA, so this definitely isn't a situation where KD and Russ have to do everything. They should ask Carmello about that...he knows the true struggle.
This has been an eventful year, though, where no one expected anything great to happen following the regular (55-27) regular season record. Beating a 67-win team in San Antonio in six games, and taking what may be the best NBA team in history to seven games wasn't even in most people's thoughts. They were expected to beat Dallas with ease, and battle against San Antonio, but in the end, lose. That didn't happen, and looking forward, the nucleus of this team will be back. Billy Donovan will be in his second year as an NBA coach, and this team seemed to finally work some things out. There's no reason to think this team won't be even better next year. Also, considering Harrison Barnes more than likely won't be a member of the Warriors next year, expect there to be a slightly different Golden State team taking the floor next season. I think people overlook Barnes' value to this team. There is a reason he's had one of the highest plus/minuses on the team. He's effective in other ways than scoring the ball. This team will take a bigger hit than people think if and when he leaves.
It's been a great year Oklahoma City. Came up one game short of the NBA Finals, but defied many odds by making it this far. We didn't look like a team that was 18 games inferior to the Warriors through the season. Also, a potential new superstar was discovered in Steven Adams. Great things are still coming for the Thunder.