The Oklahoma City Thunder topped the Golden State Warriors 108-102 on Monday night. Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant scored 26 points and pulled in 10 boards while his teammate, Russell Westbrook, led the scoring with 27 while also dishing 12 assists. Golden State got satisfactory production from their big three; Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, as they scored 26, 25, and 23 points respectively. Harrison Barnes also added 12 points for the Warriors, but lack of production from big man, Andrew Bogut, and their bench led to a 0-1 series start for the 1 seed in the West.
I believe the Warriors are going to bounce back and win game two in front of their home crowd, and it might even be a blowout. But that doesn’t mean Oklahoma City will be down and out after that. The Thunder have shown that they can rally after losing big in these playoffs. They were blown out by the Spurs in Game 1 of the last round, but ended up winning the series in 6. So if they lose the next game, which I think they will, it is not necessarily devastating for the Thunder.
In fact, I think the Thunder are a great matchup to go up against the record setting 73-9 Warriors. The combination of Westbrook and Durant is impossible to match up against. Both players have the ability to go off for 40 points on any given night, and as we saw in Game 1, they are both more likely than not to put up 25-30 points each game. Steph Curry is not nearly strong enough to cover Westbrook. And while Andre Roberson and Russell Westbrook split the load covering Steph Curry in the first half, it was mostly just Westbrook covering him in the second, and he did a great job limiting him to 12 points and holding the unanimous MVP to only 9 shots in the second half.
Durant can be covered by Andre Iguodala of the Warriors, and although Iguodala is a bench player, he still got 33 minutes of playing time in game 1. He has the size to hang with Durant, and did a pretty good job against him last night. With that being said, Durant still scored 26 points with someone doing a “pretty good job” on him. The two superstars, Durant and Westbrook, are enough to keep any teams’ hands full. But the Thunder also add two good big men. 7 footer and New Zealand native, Steven Adams, and Serge Ibaka, both had ppg in double figures this season and that continued in Game 1 last night. They are also a handful on the boards and defensively.
I think the Thunder and Warriors will split the first two games at Golden State. I think they will then split at Oklahoma City, so it will be 2-2 heading back to Oracle Arena. It’s tough to say who will take the series after that. We will have to see how the teams are playing at the time, and if everyone stays healthy. But I don’t think it’s too far fetched to say we can expect a game 7 from this series. This might be the greatest test the Warriors have faced in the past two seasons, so let’s see how they hold up.