In the most pressure packed Thunder game in franchise history, Oklahoma City fell short to Golden State, 88-96. It was a battle from beginning to end, with the Thunder holding a 6 point advantage at the half. But an awful third quarter had the Thunder heading into the fourth with a 11 point deficit. That third quarter had a lot of gut-wrenching misses on the Thunder's offensive end, despite good ball movement. Meanwhile, Steph Curry had 9 points in the third quarter, all on threes over clumsy Thunder bigs. Then Golden State's bench came in and made an impact, as the Thunder had no rim protector in the game. Dudes like Barbosa, Varejao, Barnes, and Livingston....
OKC battled the game to within 5 with 6:41 to go, and had the Warriors within 4 with 1:40 to go. But the Warriors were just too skilled from three, shooting 4 of 8 from beyond the arc in the final quarter. Curry was a big contributor, scoring 15 fourth quarter points on 5 of 6 shooting. Mismatches allowed Curry to score late in the game, much as they allowed him to score earlier in the game.
Speaking of great late performances, Klay Thompson started off 0-7. But Thompson finished the game shooting 7-11. Andre Roberson played 39 minutes and was locked into Thompson defensively, especially early. But whenever Thompson got room in transition or got a mismatch with another player, it was over. Roberson didn't do much to stave that off on the offensive end. Roberson was 0-4 on wide open three attempts, and 2-7 when forcing layups at the rim. And Roberson had a -19 +/- ratio, worst on the team. Despite Roberson's 12 contests, I do blame him for the lack of offense and lack of focus on Klay.
But Roberson doesn't get the blame alone. Dion Waiters was a putrid 2 of 9 from the floor, and 0-5 from three. Russell Westbrook was right behind Waiters, shooting 7 of 21 from the floor despite 13 assists. It was obvious to me that Westbrook was trying to be aggressive as possible and hunt for calls. But the calls didn't come frequently enough, and Westbrook wasn't taking high percentage shots. Westbrook did hit some big shots during the second quarter run and fourth quarter, but they were just too few and far between.
It's super lame to blame shooting. But really, the Thunder only had 7 turnovers tonight. The ball was taken care of, the defense was there, the rebounds were near even. But a 38.2% shot percentage on offense just isn't going to cut it in the conference finals.
- Randy Foye played four seconds at the end of the first half. Effectively, the Thunder were running a 7 man rotation. Westbrook didn't sit the entire second half. KD logged 46 minutes. Ibaka logged 43 minutes. When all of these guys are being run so ragged, it's hard for them to produce efficient nights.
- For comparison, the Warriors played three bench players for double-digit minutes, and three more bench players for single digit minutes. They were definitely a much bigger part of the Dubs' gameplan.
- Serge Ibaka stayed involved throughout, and was a reliable 5 of 11 from the floor. A good range of shots for Ibaka, along with a pick and roll make. The fact that Iguodala started for Barnes speaks to Ibaka's defense throughout this series.
- OKC was us 35-22 in the second quarter, and had a possession on offense. Westbrook chose to take a pick from Roberson and shoot a contested three. So irresponsible.... Then Klay gets Adams on a switch on the other end, splashing a three. Such a crucial swing there.
- After that critical three by Klay, he made two more critical threes in the second to keep the game close. One was a sidestep three on the weak side, off Curry penetration. The other three was in transition off a Roberson missed layup.
- It's not like Westbrook gave super-great defensive effort. Curry's highlights contain lots of runs to open space after Westbrook gets caught around a screen.
- KD stopped a 15-4 run in the third quarter with a layup.
- Speaking of KD, he was fantastic in one on one situations with Andre Iguodala. KD was able to shake Iggy for space every single time. Also, mad props to KD for that mid-range shot on Thompson that got the deficit to 4 late.
- Enes Kanter had one mid-range make, and the rest of his shots were near the rim. 8 points, 4-7 shooting, 1 block, and a -1 +/- ratio isn't bad! A shame he couldn't muster more minutes.
- No appearance for Morrow and his lack of D, predictably.
- Adams' offense continues to be solid. 9 points on 4-11 shooting. And he's getting a bit more confident about his range. Looking forward to many double-doubles next year.
Kevin Durant, on the same night that he shot 10 of 19 and scored 27 points, managed to have the most contested shots on defense as well. Huge kudos to that championship-level hustle. Ibaka and Roberson had a decent 12 shot contests each. Adams was very impressive with 10 contests in 25 minutes. But the 7 contested threes show just how much Adams was targeted by Curry and Thompson.
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, best scorer on the planet
Thunder Down Under: Russell Westbrook, ultimate shot creator
Thunder Blunder: Andre Roberson, no threes
Thunder Plunderer: Stephen Curry, dribblemaster
Next Game: Team USA's Run at Olympic Gold, and the 2016-17 season. Stay tuned!
What did you think of tonight's game? Drop a comment and let us know!