Tag Archives: Kevin Durant

NBA All Stars: Who should the starters be?

The NBA All star voting concluded on Monday leaving some people with questions as to how legitimate the voting system has become in the NBA. Golden State Warriors Center Zaza Pachulia has racked up enough votes to possibly become the Western Conference stater at the 5 position. Over 21 million votes have been cast in this years voting, which is a 142% increase from last years game. The starters are determined by voting that is combined from the fans (50%), players (25%), and the media (25%). The starters for the All Star game will be chosen tonight on TNT on a special edition of NBA tip off. We pick who SHOULD start the game.

Eastern conference:

Guards:

NBA: DEC 23 Knicks at Cavaliers : News Photo

Kyrie Irving

Irving is averaging 23.6 points per game along with 5.6 assists. During the season, Irving has put Lebron in the backseat for some clutch moments including the dagger on Christmas day against Golden State. One of the best young players in the game, Irving is the best point guard in the Eastern Conference.

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Isaiah Thomas

Thomas is averaging 28.7 points per game combined with 6 assists. This season, Isaiah has put the team on his back which has garnered him the nickname “King of the Fourth”. Thomas has taken over games time and time again averaging the most points in the 4th quarter in the NBA.

Frontcourt:

Washington Wizards vs Cleveland Cavaliers : News Photo

Lebron James

James is obviously a shoe in to be an all star because he is the BEST player in the league, no questions asked. James is averaging 25.6 points, 8.1 assist, and 7.8 rebounds per game. James can do anything on a basketball court, he has great court vision and superior athletic ability making him the most dangerous player in the game.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Greek Freak jumped onto the scene last year with some impressive highlights, but this season he has really turned into a fantastic player. Giannis is averaging 23.7 points, 5.6 assists, and 8.7 rebounds per game. He has shown is freakish athleticism time and time again this year with highlight reel dunks. The 22 year old has a very bright future.

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Joel Embiid

Embiid is the first draft pick to somewhat look like he is going to pan out like they planned. Embiid is leading the Sixers, averaging 19.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. “The Process” is dominating the game down low.

Western Conference:

Guards:

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James Harden

Harden is my favorite for MVP right now. He’s taken an average Rockets team and made them one of the best teams in the league. Harden is averaging 28.9 points, 11.6 assists, and 8.3 rebounds per game. The former backup to Russell Westbrook has moved past him for best point guard in the Western Conference. Harden controls the game and limits his turnovers making everyone around him better.

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Russell Westbrook

There are really no words to explain what Russell Westbrook is doing to the league this year. Although his turnover numbers could be much better, you can’t ignore his stats, 30.6 points, 10.4 assists, and 10.6 rebounds per game. Averaging a triple double has been damn near impossible in the NBA. But if he continues down this road, it could go down as one of the best statistical season ever.

Frontcourt:

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Kevin Durant

Durant has received a lot of hate for he offseason move to the Warriors. It has not gone as well as some people imagined, but Durant’s play has been consistent as he had a 40 point outburst last night against his former team in the Oracle. On a team with a ton of scorers, Durant is still averaging 26.7 points per game on top of 4.7 assists and 8.6 rebounds.

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Kawhi Leonard

Arguably one of the most underrated players in the NBA, Kawhi Leonard has become THE guy in San Antonio. He is the complete package, an excellent defender, paired with ability to score at will. Leonard has become a top tier player in the West. His stats aren’t indicative of how important he is to the team, with 24.8 points, 3.1 assists, and 5.7 rebounds per game.

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Anthony Davis

Davis is a premier player in the NBA. He is the best center in the NBA and is carrying an awful team down in New Orleans. Davis is averaging 28.8 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. If you could start your franchise with one player, this guy has to be close to the top of the list because he is a fantastic talent in the NBA.

Tune in to NBA Tip off on TNT tonight to see which players receive the honor of starting in this year’s All Star game.

 

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U.S. vs Them: Can Anyone Beat USA Basketball in Rio?

The 2016 Summer Olympics are set to begin next Friday in Rio De Janerio, and with them, the United States men’s national basketball team will look to win its third consecutive gold medal. In seventeen appearances at the Olympic Games, USA Basketball has won fourteen gold medals; a mark that sets the bar high and the level of embarrassment in losing even higher.

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After losing at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul with a roster of collegiate players, Team USA decided to give a middle finger to the world in 1992, assembling a roster that can only be described as epic. USA blew everyone out on their way to a gold medal, never scoring below 100 points and never winning by less than 30. It was the biggest f*** you in all of sports, and the rest of the world had no answer for it. The dominance continued through the next two Olympics, where Team USA ran away with gold in both. They entered 2004 with a 24-0 record since the Dream Team was installed, and boasted another stellar roster.

The roster included Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson in their prime, as well as a young Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and 19-year old LeBron James. Despite all the skill and star-power, that team mind-blowingly finished third behind Italy and Argentina, who combined for a grand total of 1 NBA player; Manu Ginobili. In retrospect, that USA Basketball team could be in the running for biggest sports disappointment of all time. When youth coaches want to show young players what “complacency” is, they reach for film from 2004 Athens.

You might think a roster starring Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving would be a lock for gold, but nothing is a given, just ask the 2004 team. While it is unlikely that a 38-year old Ginobili will be any threat to USA Basketball’s gold medal chances, there are other teams with decent talent that are flying under the radar.

USA’s first matchup, China, boasts a roster of young players, a roster which Team USA completely decimated in a pre-olympic showcase on Sunday. Yawn. Next contestant, please. Their next opponent will be Venezuela, a team that is playing in just their second Olympic Games and their first since 1992. So, why should we consider taking them seriously? They are an up-and-coming basketball nation. They won the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship over Argentina, a team that beat Team USA in the 2004 Olympics. They may be an afterthought to us, but they are familiar to the big stage; over 20,000 were in attendance for the final in that tournament.

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France is perhaps the biggest threat from a talent standpoint for the United States. 4 NBA players are on their roster, highlighted by Boris Diaw and Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs. Joining them is Joffrey Lauvergne, a 6’11 power forward for the Denver Nuggets who shows promise as a defender but the general consensus is that he needs to bulk up.

Look, nobody is arguing that the United States isn’t going to win this thing. In fact, you would be insane to say they won’t. However, we would be ignorant to ignore the talent around the rest of the world. It takes the perfect storm to dethrone a team of this magnitude, but perhaps a mix of complacency in Team USA and hunger in an opponent could be enough to tip the scale.

The New Kevin Durant

Earlier this week, Kevin Durant told the media that he didn’t get out of bed for days after signing with the Golden State Warriors. Unless he twisted his ankle and couldn’t walk, It’s hard to buy that story.

Durant was completely entitled to choose Golden State and more power to him for doing what he wanted, but amid Gary criticism for his decision, this is nothing more than a plea for sympathy. He wanted to go there. People got upset, but it’s over now. It’s almost like he can’t decide whether he wants to be the villain or the misunderstood hero. Anyways, the dust has settled, Kevin Durant is now a Golden State Warrior, and somehow, a sense of normalcy has returned to the NBA. Now, smoke is pouring out of Steve Kerr’s ears as he figures out how to maximize Durant’s output on the revamped Warriors’ squad.
The honeymoon is over in this new marriage of superstar and super team, and it’s time to go back to work and start paying the bills. Surely, Kerr and his staff already had a rough idea of how they would use Durant before the signing, but now that he’s on board, the real planning can begin. Everyone knows it won’t be easy to get maximum production from everyone when there are 4 great players on the court at once, but the trick is to ensure that each of them are placed in a position where they can thrive. Unfortunately, that trick is, well, tricky.

We saw firsthand in the 2010-11 season what it looks like when a super team is still ironing out the kinks, as the Miami Heat struggled out of the gate. You may recall there were even rumors that they could fire Erik Spoelstra, a coach who went on to win two titles in the big three era.

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On the court, the problem begins with chemistry. While Steph Curry in the past two seasons alone has solidified himself among the top three players in the league, it is impossible to know how he will be affected by the presence of another superstar. Durant’s arrival could place Curry between a rock and a hard place, having to choose between asserting himself over Durant as the alpha dog, or conceding and settling for second best. Curry is a player that thrives when he gets in a groove. How many times have we seen stretches in the third or fourth quarter where you think “no way he will hit this one”, and he does it. Every. Damn. Time. With Durant getting his share of touches, maybe there is less room there for Curry to get in that rhythm.

Aside from the starters, it will be interesting to watch how the bench performs under these new changes. In acquiring Kevin Durant, the Warriors have sacrificed depth for dynamite. When their stars are clicking, it’s hard to make a case that anyone could beat Golden State, but suppose they lose a star for a prolonged period of time. Is their bench capable of picking up the slack? It’s not that their bench is necessarily bad, but compared to the stellar bench of the past two seasons that aided them in back-to-back Finals appearances, it certainly pales in comparison.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Golden State Warriors out of the gate will be keeping everyone’s ego in check. Despite everyone on the Warriors being completely cool with Durant, having 4 all-stars on one roster lends itself to an ego conflict. It could be like the movie Rat Race. You have all these hilarious actors but at the end of the day, it’s kind of an awful product once you put it all together. People have compared the Warriors lineup to an all-star or Olympic lineup, and while that is great on the court, there could be issues.

Picture Team USA playing an entire season of basketball together. A lot of talent, but also a lot of ego. What if Durant misses a few game winning shots and Curry gets upset because he feels he would’ve made them? Everything is rainbows and butterflies before the season starts, but seeing how the Warriors react to conflict will be very interesting.

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Speaking of Olympics, it will be interesting to watch Durant have the opportunity to play with Thompson and Green on Team USA. You think Steve Kerr is texting Coach K throughout the entire Olympics with a “psst, try this play with KD and Draymond”? Those guys are going to look really good against the rest of the world (who obviously isn’t very good). It could be a preview of what’s to come for the Golden State.

Kevin Durant Joins Warriors, Heads Explode

In the wise words of Drake and Future, what a time to be alive.

The Kevin Durant sweepstakes turned out to be a lot more than anyone bargained for, including the Celtics, who actually ended up with a legitimate shot at Durant, making use of New England icon God Tom Brady in their pitch. After the sudden acquisition of Al Horford and rumors that the Celtics were targeting Jimmy Butler, the team and its fans were quickly thrown into a 24-hour period of complete free agent frenzy, the likes of which we haven’t seen since, oh that’s right, never. One of the more bizarre yet somewhat expected moments of the Durant extravaganza was when reports surfaced that Clippers owner Steve Ballmer actually cried during the team’s pitch. Real, genuine tears. I guess we should expect as much from a guy who sits with the fans and behaves like your obnoxious friend who paints his stomach every time he goes to a Patriots game.

The past week has certainly been one of the more interesting ones in recent memory for the NBA fan, as free agency heated up in ways we haven’t seen since 2010, which was highlighted by LeBron James and his polarizing free agency selection, famously aired in prime time as “The Decision”.

That was then, this is now, and Kevin Durant has flipped the basketball world upside down by taking his talents to Golden State to play with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Let me repeat this for emphasis. Kevin Durant, one of the best players in the NBA today, the 2014 league MVP, will be joining forces with the splash brothers and Draymond Green, forming what appears on paper to be one of the most skilled lineups in NBA history.

It’s a move that many, including myself, highly doubted Durant would make, considering his ties to Oklahoma City and the success they had last year despite losing to his new team in the Western Conference Finals. There is no doubt that this team will be great, but Durant’s decision carries a lot more than that. Durant’s choice to join up with an all-time great team has opened up several debates, and the actual basketball team is only a small part of it.

Pardon me for a moment while I advocate for the old geezers of the NBA who view this trade as an abomination of everything they stand for. You see, years ago, back in the heydays of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, players had a stronger tendency to stay in a place that allowed them to compete head-to-head against other superstars, a battle of one star and their supporting cast versus another. However, in today’s NBA, there is a strong inclination for players to link up with other stars, thus forming a “super team”.

In recent memory, there have been a few of these teams, all of varying success. Many people point to the 2008 Boston Celtics as the league’s first team in the “big 3” era, with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen all playing vital parts in bringing a championship to Boston. They weren’t met with a ton of controversy for this, but the recent super team of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh left a bad taste in the mouths of NBA fans who would rather see more parity in one of the most predictable leagues in modern sports.

Many people are drawing comparisons between the 2010 Miami Heat saga and this latest installment of free agent frenzy. However, we must be careful with these comparisons. LeBron was met with harsh criticism for the way in which he announced his decision, and less harsh criticism for the choice itself. He was labeled as a villain, betraying his hometown in search of titles. If you rooted against LeBron James and the Heat then, how could you possibly root for the Warriors now? This is a textbook example of a player chasing rings, and that is fine for some people. It is fun to watch this greatness, even for those who are only watching in the hopes that it crumbles. Durant has every right in the world to go to the Warriors, and it’s honestly hard to blame him given their talent. He’s not up on a stage surrounded by fog machines yelling “not 5, not 6, not 7”, but if LeBron was criticized for linking up with former enemies on the court, shouldn’t Durant face the same criticism for joining a team that just crushed his title hopes as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder?

This story will be very interesting to monitor over the summer, but one thing is for sure: The Warriors just adopted another splash brother, and he is ready to make some waves.

NBA Free Agency: The Kevin Durant Sweepstakes

The Kevin Durant sweepstakes of the 2016 NBA Offseason is a lot like the Powerball; you can try, you can cross your fingers and hope, but deep down you know some jerk from Oklahoma will probably win it anyway.

 

NBA Free Agency begins this Friday, and this season, it’s all about Kevin Durant.  For the past few years, the media has been hyping up Durant’s potential free agency, and now that it’s finally here, put in your earplugs, because there’s about to be a whole lot of noise. It was initially announced last week that Durant would meet with 3 teams: The  Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, and Golden State Warriors. As the weekend progressed, 3 teams suddenly turned into 6 (maybe 7?) as the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics will reportedly sit down with the 27-year old former league MVP and state their cases. To make matters even more confusing, it is also being reported that Carmelo Anthony is trying to recruit Durant to the Knicks as well. The truth is, by the time July 1st gets here, the number of teams in on the Durant sweepstakes could be well over 10.
Look, it’s fun to speculate. I could write a feature-length story about each of these teams and how Kevin Durant would fit with their current roster. I could talk about how deadly he could be with the Warriors, and how much they’d have to give up to get him. I could go on about how much he would change the dynamic of the Boston Celtics, and how he would be the first major free agent to ever sign with the team in their storied history. It’s fun to think about these things, and over the next few days, people will. However, in the end, it doesn’t matter because the chances that Durant leaves Oklahoma City this offseason are slim to none. Guaranteed.

Despite losing to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals in one of the most demoralizing ways imaginable, the Oklahoma City Thunder still give Durant the best chance to win a title next season. In order for Durant to join the Warriors, nearly half their team would have to be scrapped, and that’s not just no-names. Bringing in Durant would mean the departure of players like Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, and potentially even Shaun Livingston. It is much more likely that the Warriors would go after a second-tier star player like Dirk Nowitski or Al Horford, both of whom are more realistic options than Kevin Durant. The Thunder were minutes away from going to the Finals, and who knows what they could’ve done if they made it. Durant said that his choice will be a “basketball decision”, and if that means he’s looking for a place he can win, he should look no further than home.

Over the next few days, we will hear a lot about each of these teams and their respective pitches to land Durant. We will learn way more than we needed nor wanted to know about Durant, like whether or not KD is the kind of guy who likes city nightlife, or if he prefers to stay in a small market. We will hear every possible storyline from his meetings, what the body language was, what their pitch was, how long the meeting was, the list is endless. It’s okay to watch all of this and take notes, but just understand that in the end, the chances he actually leaves OKC are very, very small. The media knows this, but it’s not like they’re going to ignore this story. It’s way too damn interesting.

The Loser’s Corner

I think we need to rename the Washington Wizards the Washington Lizards, because they definitely take the L on this one. Remember in 2013 when they were the presumed destination for Kevin Durant this offseason? Every move they made was done in order to lure Durant, and now they probably won’t even get a meeting with him. After a dreadful season and an uncertain future ahead, it’s gotta sting for the Wizards to sit and watch the guy you put so much effort into out talking to other people… Wait, we’re still talking about basketball, right? I feel like I’m writing a relationship advice column all of a sudden. I know you’re heartbroken, Washington, but don’t worry! At least you have the Nationals!

 

Cavaliers Defeat Warriors 93-87 to win first NBA Championship: Reaction and Reflection

Minutes after the final buzzer sounded at Oracle Arena to give the Cleveland Cavaliers their first NBA Championship in franchise history, LeBron James collapsed to the floor.   James, surrounded by players he recruited, was finally victorious in the Cavalier wine and gold uniform. It wasn’t a likely outcome, and it almost didn’t seem real, especially given the fact that the Golden State Warriors had hardly lost a game in their building all season. In fact, just days ago, the Warriors were so close to a title that the narrative had already begun to shift to the fallout of The Finals. People talked about whether Tyronn Lue would be coaching next season, whether Kevin Love would still be on the team, and how a lackluster 2-5 record in the NBA Finals impacts a player who desires to be mentioned with all-time greats such as Jordan, Magic and Russell.

Now, after an improbable 3-1 series comeback, Cleveland is a championship city for the first time in 52 years.

Many people will look at the Draymond Green suspension as the turning point in this series, and that may hold some truth. However, it is unfair to blame Draymond Green for the overall failure of the Warriors in the final 3 games. Green played excellent in Game 7, and deserves a lot of credit for what he was able to do. In all likelihood, however, winning on the road in Game 5 gave the Cavaliers some confidence going into Game 7, and they needed every bit of it.While the Cavaliers may have won Game 5 even if Green was on the court, the suspension served as motivation for the Cavaliers to seize on an opportunity, a philosophy they carried through to the next two games.

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If there’s any individual blame to go around, it has to go to Steph Curry. As the back-to-back MVP, 6 for 19 with 17 points in an NBA Finals Game 7 is unacceptable. Curry shot 4 of 14 from 3-point range, well below his usual average. For perspective, if Curry shot his 2015-16 regular average for 3-pointers (.454), he finishes with six more points, and the Warriors win this game. Something was off with Curry, and he wasn’t draining the shots we are used to seeing him make. Many times throughout the night, Oracle Arena was ready to explode with excitement from a clutch Curry 3-pointer, just to be disappointed when it clanged off the rim. Even after Kyrie Irving hit what proved to be the game-winning shot with just under a minute left, you still felt like the Warriors were going to find a way to win. There was no way they were going to go down like this with the historic season they had. Nevertheless, they couldn’t pull it off, and now one must wonder how something like this could’ve happened. Maybe they were fatigued from the strenuous regular season and back-to-back 7 game series. Maybe it was injury. Even if it was, Curry would never hide behind that excuse. The truth is, we will never know what exactly caused this series to end the way it did, but the Cavaliers deserve all the credit in the world.

While so much attention is paid to LeBron James and his accomplishments in the final games of this series, an equal amount of attention should be placed (but sadly, probably won’t) on the players around him. Trailing 3-1 in the series, it would have been easy for a guy like Richard Jefferson or JR Smith to pack it in for the year. Why should it matter to them? Obviously, no player is going to just stop trying, but when so much of the narrative is focused solely on LeBron James, as a supporting player you might begin to wonder how much credit you’re actually going to receive. On the flip side, there is very little blame handed down to guys like Smith or Iman Shumpert with a loss, they are just pieces, easily moveable and replaceable. When it comes down to it, the supporting cast decided the fate of this series just as much, if not more, than LeBron James and Kyrie Irving did. Their dedication and commitment could not have been more clear than when J.R. Smith let out all his emotions following the win and also in his press conference.

So, this is the fun part; what does the future look like for LeBron James and Steph Curry? While the sting is still very fresh for Curry, there is nothing but optimism for his future. While LeBron may have temporarily stolen back the imaginary throne of current best player in the NBA, Curry and the Warriors are poised to be contenders for years to come. In fact, Vegas already has them as the favorites to win it all next year. When Golden State says they will use this loss as motivation for next season, I’d take their word for it. A 73-9 team doesn’t reach that mark out of pure chance. This team has dynasty potential, and how they respond next season will show if they are up to that caliber. With the predictability of the current NBA, my money is on a third-straight Warriors vs. Cavaliers finals next season, and even more bragging rights will be on the line.

For LeBron James and Cleveland, their future won’t start for at least another month. They will spend a good chunk of time enjoying this one, but expect them to be back next year. The makeup of the team is another question, and it remains to be seen whether Kevin Love will be back next season. One thing’s for sure, we have a long offseason to talk about it.

NBA Offseason Odds Meter

What are the odds LeBron James bolts Cleveland?

10%

Wow. Can you imagine? This percentage would definitely be a little higher if they lost, but deep down would anyone really be that shocked? I’m not sure anyone would burn his jersey this time if he left, but they might at least stomp on it a little bit and put it in a box for when he inevitably returns again.

What are the odds the Warriors get Kevin Durant?

20%

I can’t think of anything that would shake up the NBA world more than the Warriors somehow landing Kevin Durant. Personally, I question whether or not he would want to go to a team he just lost to in an emotional 7-game series, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for a lot of people with much more knowledge about the NBA than myself. If that were to happen, you would think the Warriors would have to part ways with Draymond Green, but once again, anything is possible in the NBA offseason.

What are the odds Kevin Love leaves Cleveland?

40%

This has been a rumor for too long to not be of at least some risk. Love’s poor play throughout much of the playoffs only fueled rumors, but perhaps his decent Game 7 combined with an NBA Championship might smooth things over between Love and Cleveland.

What are the odds the NBA is rigged?

2%

I bring this up because there is a growing number of people (including Ayesha Curry) making comments about the league being rigged. While it sometimes seems like a logical explanation for the inexplicable, the NBA is not rigged. Tanking might be a real thing, but there are too many people around this league to keep such a colossal secret quiet. However, my friend (who is a football maniac and probably cares more about NFL mini-camps than the NBA Finals) offered an interesting viewpoint; what if it’s the refs that are fixing it?

What are the odds that Drake is now a Cavalier fan?

50%

I leave this one at 50% because with Drake, you always need to leave room for the other option. Maybe that option is Golden State, maybe it’s Toronto. Depends on how he feels when he wakes up. Clearly, Drake only cares about associating himself with anything successful. It makes sense, considering he’s been so successful lately, but it kind of makes you wonder, when Drake’s run finally ends, will he root for a bad team instead? I hear 76ers season tickets are going for pretty cheap these days, Drizzy.

Warriors, Thunder Set to Clash in Colossal Game 7

After taking a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals, it seemed all but guaranteed that the Oklahoma City Thunder would advance to the NBA Finals. The Warriors were failing horribly against the dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and it appeared as though the Thunder finally had the team they envisioned after trading away James Harden a few seasons prior.

Then, the Warriors got to work.

There was a sense of desperation for Golden State heading into Game 5, an emotion that likely hasn’t been felt by the 73-win squad in a long time. Warrior’s coach Steve Kerr wanted to get the energy in Oracle Arena pumping early, encouraging fans to come early and make plenty of noise. The Warriors were hot most of the game, and though the Thunder were able to grab a lead after a Westbrook 3-pointer with 6:06 remaining in the third quarter, Golden State was able to roar back for a decisive 120-111 victory.

For the Thunder, Game 6 was supposed to be their time to shine. They could afford to drop a game in Oakland, but coming back home, they were supposed to seal the deal. Things looked good for the Thunder throughout much of the game; they outscored the Warriors in the first three quarters and went into the fourth with an 83-75 lead. The finish line was right in front of them, and they tripped over their own feet. Actually, saying they tripped over their feet doesn’t do justice to the gravity of the situation. They were 15 minutes and an 8-point lead away from a ticket to the NBA Finals, playing in front of their home crowd, and they absolutely imploded. It’s a shame nobody in the audience knew how to perform the Heimlich maneuver, because the Thunder, specifically Russell Westbrook, were putting on an absolute choke job. Klay Thompson scored more points (19) than the entire Thunder roster (18) in the fourth quarter.

So, after a game like that, what are we in for tonight? Well, the general consensus is that it will be a closely contested game that will be replayed on NBA Hardwood Classics for years to come. It’s Memorial Day, everyone will be watching, and there is huge names on both teams. It has all the makings of an instant classic, but for some reason, I’m not so sure about that. The Warriors have only lost twice at home all season, and in a game like this with so much on the line, it’s very hard to see them faltering.

Obviously, the Thunder have proven that they are capable of beating the Warriors on their home floor, but this game is a whole new animal. Game 1 was the beginning of a feeling-out process. The Thunder didn’t carry much pressure at all going into that game, and that attitude carried all the way through to their 3-1 lead in the series. After losing game 5, they at least had a home game to look forward to, but now, there is no room for error.

It’s easy to make a statistical argument for why the Thunder could win this game. The combination of Durant and Westbrook certainly has the potential to outscore Curry and Thompson, and if Steven Adams can grab anywhere around his usual 10 rebounds, they could be in decent shape. That being said, when I say there is no room for error for the Thunder, there is literally no room. At all. If Curry gets hot and gets the crowd going, good luck. Once they get a double-digit lead, they become an invincible machine with no off-switch. Perhaps the scariest thing for the Thunder, however, is that Klay Thompson is just as equally capable of going on a hot streak from downtown as Curry; the Thunder learned that the hard way Saturday night. The only way the Thunder win this game is if they get off to a hot start and never look back. Chances of that are slim, however, and I’m only giving them an outside shot at winning this game. The way in which they lost the previous two games does not bode well for them playing on the road, and I expect the Warriors to pounce.

PREDICTION:

Warriors: 115

Thunder: 109

 

Curry 32, Thompson 27

Durant 25, Westbrook 34.

Westbrook will be fueled by his mistakes in the final minutes of Game 6, but the supporting cast around him and Durant won’t be able to produce. Adams and Ibaka will both finish with 8-10 points, and the rest of the team will fail to reach double digits.