In case you didn’t know, the winner of an NBA playoff series isn’t determined by total score.
A series is determined by games won, first to four.
Which is good news for the Thunder heading into Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Sunday night.
If it was about total score, the Warriors would be in good shape, up 220-199 after two games. OKC would be down 21 at tipoff starting Game 3.
Instead, the Thunder is still in the driver’s seat, behind the wheel of a car that still has to navigate a very bumpy road to get to their desired next destination- the NBA Finals.
OKC won Game 1 in Oakland, which still gives the Thunder the edge, despite being torched by Golden State over the last 25 minutes in Game 2.
If Oklahoma City can win all of its home games at the Peake, it wins the series. That’s the bottom line.
Easier said than done. The Warriors present so many challenges. And a lot of those came to light in that loss at Oracle last Wednesday.
Oklahoma City is a historically great rebounding team, but lost the battle of the boards to Golden State in Game 2. Can’t happen if OKC is going to win this series.
The Thunder bigs, especially Enes Kanter and Serge Ibaka, were caught in pick and roll mismatches in Game 2, with little chance of stopping Steph Curry and Co. in those situations.
It will be interesting to see how much switching Billy Donovan has his team do Sunday night.
Will they continue to be put in those spots on the perimeter? Or will they man-up and try and fight through more screens?
Kevin Durant, who shot the ball better in Game 2 (11-18), must cut down on turnovers. KD had eight the other night, and giving a lethal offensive team like the Warriors extra possessions is basically playoff suicide.
Durant’s teammates (Russ aside) have to help too.
Dion Waiters needs to be good Dion. Serge needs to be the Ibaka of old. Andre Roberson can’t hesitate on open threes, and if he misses early, roll to the basket. Make someone guard you. Steven Adams and Kanter in the pick and roll is always a good idea.
Russell Westbrook needs to be aggressive getting to the rim, setting up teammates and getting to the line.
It’s all doable, but not easily done against a team of Golden State’s quality.
However, the Thunder is home, with one of the best home court advantage’s in the NBA.
The next two games are a great opportunity for OKC to perform better, aspire to reach “Peake performance.”
Two wins and sending Golden State back to Oakland down 3-1 would severely shake a team, even one with the Warriors confidence level.
The ball is in OKC’s court to get it done.