May 23, 2016, 6:28 am
Welcome to the postseason, where the regular season doesn’t matter. That concept can’t get more apparent than it did on Sunday night. If you told an uninformed person that one of the two teams on the court went 73-9 during the regular season, it is obvious that it had to be the Thunder. Where art thou MVP? Stephen Curry and the Warriors were ran out of the gym by halftime with a 25-point deficit. Let’s get in to the blowout and assess the situation in Monday’s Daily Dish:
THUNDER 133, WARRIORS 105
It seems like ancient history since the Thunder dropped a game to the lowly Mavs in round one and were down 2-1 to the Spurs in the conference semi-finals. This team is playing smart basketball with two all-world players in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and it’s a refreshing sight to behold. They are long and athletic, which is just the recipe required to shock the Warriors. No one knew that it would work this well.
Durant was lethal all night to the tune of 33 points (10-for-15 FGs, 12-for-12 FTs) with eight boards, two assists, three blocks and one three ball in 32 minutes. KD is really starting to understand how to use his physical attributes and skill set to his advantage. His running mate Russell Westbrook was impressive once again, scoring 30 points on 10-for-19 shooting from the field and 9-for-11 from the line with 12 dimes, eight rebounds, two steals and one three ball. Both are cooking right now and they stand two wins away from the NBA Finals.
While the Warriors are distracted by the two all-stars, they are blatantly ignoring Andre Roberson. He made them pay for leaving him open on Sunday night with 13 points (5-for-9 FGs, 3-for-5 3PTs) with six boards in 30 minutes.
The true X-factor for the Thunder in this series has been Dion Waiters. He led the Thunder with 34 minutes off the bench with 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting with three boards and three assists and one three ball. His aggressive play takes pressure off of KD and Westbrook and makes the Thunder dangerous. You don’t blow out the defending champs without some strong help from your bench.
From the losing perspective, the Warriors certainly didn’t look like themselves on Sunday night. They repeatedly settled for bad shots rolled in to the wrong match ups. They became their pre-championship selves with a loose style of play and mouth guards hanging out of their mouths.
The last time Steph Curry set foot in Oklahoma City he tied an NBA record with 12 threes and scored 46 points, including the game winning 37-footer. Sunday night was very different. Curry shot 7-for-17 from the field (3-for-11 3PTs) and 7-for-8 from the line for 24 points with five rebounds, three assists and two steals in 30 minutes. Klay Thompson was worse, scoring 18 points on 8-for-19 shooting (2-for-8 3PTs) with a pretty empty stat line. There was no splashing despite the Thunder storm Sunday night.
The blowout felt like a kick to the groin to the Warriors, but it was Draymond Green who was doing the kicking. Dray was charged with a Flagrant 1 foul after kicking Steven Adams in the groin.
“I’m sure he wants to have kids some day,” Dray said in the post game interview. “I’m not trying to end that on the basketball court. That don’t make sense.”
Dray was an awful 1-for-9 from the field and 4-for-4 from the line for six points with four rebounds, three assists and one steal in 32 minutes. You can safely expect that to be the worst line he registers during this postseason.
What is great about the NBA Playoffs is that the series can turn on the drop of a hat. Overreactions are settling in, but the Warriors have yet to lose two games in a row this season. They can simply steal home-court advantage with a win in Game 4. You can expect them to bounce back with a tighter disciplined game on Tuesday in Oklahoma City.
That will do it for Monday’s Daily Dish. Follow @HoopBallTweets for the most up-to-date information on all things around the association. For more NBA insight and questions on life, I’m @RiazD on Twitter. Have a great week!