Posted on May 31, 2016 by Travis Pulver
It is okay Golden State fans. You guys can breathe now. Your team is heading back to the NBA Finals after beating Oklahoma City 96-88 to close out the Western Conference Finals.
A few days ago it did not appear like that would be the case.
The Oklahoma City Thunder rode the momentum they had from taking down the San Antonio Spurs out to a 3-1 series lead. It didn’t help that Steph Curry wasn’t shooting particularly well, but the Warriors are more than just Curry. The team wasn’t getting enough from the rest of the roster to overcome Curry’s shooting woes.
Andrew Bogut came to the rescue in Game Five. In Game Six, it was a Klay Thompson with the daggers from behind the arc. For Game Seven it was finally the man, the myth, the legend.
It was Steph Curry.
The two-time MVP led the way for the Warriors with 36 points on the night. It was easily his best night of the series from the floor (13-24) and his most productive from three-point range as well (7-12).
“I knew we were ready for the moment,” Curry told the media. “(I knew) we were a mature basketball team that tried our best not to listen to the noise when we were down 3-1…”
It didn’t look too good for the Warriors in the first half. The offense opened the game rather sluggish and managed only 19 points in the first period as the Thunder took out an early lead, 24-19. They stretched it out to 11-points early in the second, but Golden State was able to close the gap to 48-42 by the end of the half.
It was the lowest first-half point total for the Warriors all season.
Fate appeared to be smiling on the Thunder—but then the third period happened. The Thunder couldn’t buy a shot, and the Warriors were unstoppable. I only took a few minutes for the deficit to be erased. By the time the period was over, Golden State would succeed in turning an eight-point deficit into an 11-point advantage.
Oklahoma City would make a game of it in the final 12 minutes, but could not close the gap.
“They won a world championship last year, and they’ve broken an NBA record, and people are already talking about it before the playoffs started, this may be the greatest team to ever lace them up in the history of the NBA,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan told the media.
For the second night in a row, the Thunder’s stars did not have a good evening. Russell Westbrook only had 19 points and missed 14 of his 21 shots on the night. Kevin Durant ended the night with 27 points but was only 4-5 from the floor in the first half (10-19 for the game).
The odds were stacked against the Warriors going into the game. Only nine other teams in NBA history had ever overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series.
The Warriors now make it 10.