Andrew Bogut is questionable.
I've already covered the game from a basketball angle over at my official series preview, so I'm going to take the game preview to discuss what this series means to me emotionally.
For those of you who don't know, I've been a die hard fan of the Warriors since I was 7 or 8 years old. I grew up in Oklahoma City, and the Hornets didn't come around until I was 15 or 16. And because the Hornets were temporary, it was easy for me to commit to being a Warriors fan through it all. It wasn't until the Thunder came to OKC when I was 18 that my Warriors fandom really started to be challenged. So for all intents and purposes, I've grown up a Warrior fan. I still cheer for the Warriors when they're not playing the Thunder, and see most of their games.
But I've also spent my entire adult life as a Thunder fan, and spend a great deal of my time writing about the Thunder. Needless to say, I'm thrilled that both of my teams have met in the Conference Finals. It will be a joy to see them play together, and it's almost impossible to contain my excitement!
The craziest thing about it all is that I chose the Warriors as a team to follow because they were bad. In the game I was playing at the time (NBA Live '98), I needed a challenge. So the Warriors, one of the worst teams, were the most fun to use. But the Warriors continued to play terrible basketball in real life, up until I was a teenager. Then I got to see really inspiring performances from Baron Davis and the We Believe crew. Even during that era of success, the Warriors were still huge underdogs. I really reveled in watching the Warriors scrap and claw against impossible odds. At the end of the day, the Warriors only made the playoffs once between 1994 and 2012.
Nowadays, things couldn't be more different. The Warriors are on top of the NBA. And the Thunder are the underdogs.
The funny thing about that is that the Thunder were never underdogs against the Warriors until Kerr took them over last season. Up to that point, the Thunder had always been seen as the more talented team. Despite the Thunder's superior talent though, the Thunder and Warriors have always delivered a spectacular matchup. The Warriors fast paced, trap-first style always presented a problem for the turnover-prone Thunder, and it wasn't uncommon for a Thunder-Warriors game to go to OT.
So now, my lovable underdog team (the Warriors) are favorites against my ridiculously successful hometown team (The Thunder). It feels like bizarro-land. But all indications are that this series will be just as thrilling as Thunder-Warrior matchups have been in the past.
Anyway, I'm definitely going to support whomever comes out of the West in the fight against LeBron. And I have a feeling one of my favorite teams is going to win the championship. But I'm still very heavily emotionally pulling for the Thunder to win.
I used to put the Warriors first, but now they have their championship. Furthermore, the team is set to move to San Francisco, a thriving, world class metropolis. I don't really feel like their success can be more important than that of the Thunder. Honestly, Oklahoma City can't even hold a candle to San Francisco in....well, anything really. So it's really nice when my hometown can get some positive press behind the passion of our fans, or the honor of our players. It would really mean a lot to everybody in this city and state if we could pull off a world title this year. Durant and Westbrook are a once in a lifetime duo for a small town team like ours, and wasting this opportunity would be a shame.
Literally every person that I know in Oklahoma City is hitting me up and wants to talk Thunder. The town is abuzz, and amidst a dark economic climate, needs something to lift their spirits. The Thunder have accomplished that regardless of the outcome of this series, but I believe that this city deserves its' day in the sun.
You've also got to look at it from the players' perspective. KD and Westbrook should be rewarded for their loyalty and friendship. The Thunder should be rewarded for keeping their roster stocked with specialist role players. And these guys have been through so much, physically and emotionally. It would really be lame for this to be another year of "almost".
Anyway, the Thunder can definitely win Game 1 and set the tone for this series. But it won't be a cakewalk.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 99, Golden State Warriors 97.
What do you think of tonight's game? Drop a comment and let us know!
|2016 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals Game 1
|May 16th, 2016
|ORACLE Arena, Oakland, California
|8:00 PM Central Daylight Time
|TV: Turner Network Television
|Injury Report: A Clean Bill of Health!
|The Semis: Game 1 (L 92-124), Game 2 (W 98-97), Game 3 (L 96-100), Game 4 (W 111-97), Game 5 (W 95-91), Game 6 (W 113-99)
Who's going to win tonight?
This poll is closed
The Oklahoma City Thunder
The Golden State Warriors