Warriors Come Back From 3-1 Deficit To Win Western Conference
Oklahoma City had the series by the throat, and they let it slip through their fingers. Golden State was one game away from elimination, but they climbed out of the darkness to advance to the NBA Finals.
The Warriors were only the 10th team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the playoffs, or you could say the Thunder were only the 10th team in NBA history to let it happen.
Golden State outscored OKC 29-12 in the third quarter, and they held off a late push for the 96-88 win in Game Seven. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson shot 13-23 from three point territory and combined for 57 points, while Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant tried to keep up with the jump shot barrage in Oracle Arena. KD (27 points, 10-19 FG) and Westbrook (19 pts, 13 ast, 7 reb) put up decent stat lines, but they let the Warriors off the hook.
Free agency starts now for Durant. It’s going to take a while to wash this sour taste out of his mouth, but is the lingering feeling enough to make him leave Westbrook and OKC?
We won’t know KD’s decision for a while, but we know our matchup for the NBA Finals today: LeBron vs Steph (even though they won’t guard each other), Cavs vs Warriors, LeBron and the Warriors both vs the history of Michael Jordan and his Bulls…it’s exactly what the NBA wanted.
If Golden State shoots the ball from three like they did in Game Seven (17-37, 45.9%), Cleveland is in trouble.
There will be a lot of questions to be answered, starting with “who guards LeBron?” Andre Iguodala plays tenacious defense off the bench and Klay Thompson plays well at the perimeter, but they both need help in the post on James. Draymond Green is a versatile defender, but he would get used by LeBron one-on-one on the outside. It will likely be a team effort stopping “The King,” and they will have to put a hand in the face of guys like Channing Frye and J.R. Smith as well.
On the opposite side, Cleveland has to figure out how to slow down the best jump shooting team in the history of the game. Sounds simple, right?
Both teams have star power, veteran role players and a lot of momentum. The main difference between the two is found in their paths to the finals.
Golden State had to deal with adversity in their trek to the finals. Curry’s injury, a pesky Portland team, and seven games against a dangerous Thunder squad wore the Warriors down, but they survived with some scar tissue to show for it. The Cavs waltzed through the playoffs, aside from a slight nibble north of the border from the Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals. When things get thick, it might determine the NBA Finals.
For now, the Warriors’ hopes of writing their names in the history books live on. If Steph, Klay and Draymond want to put their names next to Michael Jordan’s, they’re going to have to follow his former teammate, Steve Kerr. Experience (and rings) counts in the playoffs, just ask the Thunder…