One of the best parts of the playoffs is seeing the narrative shift from game to game. Remember Game 1 in San Antonio? NBA fans around the league were acting like KD had already walked out of the door. A magnificent Game 2 victory quelled that narrative a bit.
While Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals may have caught Thunder fans looking ahead to the Finals, Steph Curry going supernova in Game 2 has brought them down to earth a little. Curry and the Warriors trounced the Thunder in Oakland, 118-91.
You really can’t overstate how incredible Curry’s third quarter was. The game was absolutely in reach for the Thunder beforehand. After, the OKC players looked dazed. They’ve seen this movie before.
After taking a scary spill on the sidelines with three minutes remaining in the first quarter, Curry’s elbow had swollen to the size of a tennis ball:
A little elbow swelling wouldn’t stop the MVP, though. Four three throws (three on a Durant shooting foul, one for a Durant technical) started off the run. Steph ended up with 17 in the quarter, 12 of them coming in just an 82-second stretch. Watch all of Curry’s third quarter points as he stretches an eight-point lead to 23:
“Business as usual,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said about Curry’s outburst. “This is what he does.” Kerr coyly gave a shrug while answering that looked a little familiar:
Kevin Durant was the only Thunder player who can claim they had a good performance. Durant’s shooting kept OKC in it for a half, but the ineffectuality of his teammates absolutely killed the Thunder’s chances to emerge victorious. Durant finished with 29 points and six rebounds. Durant is not blame free, though: his eight turnovers were a large source of Golden State’s deadly transition offense. Durant had five in Game 1, which was somewhat masked by the victory. Durant’s ball handling and passing decisions have been questionable at best in this series.
Westbrook, who is typically inconsistent against the Warriors, didn’t have his greatest game. Westbrook finished with 16 points on just 5-14 shooting, adding 12 assists. To win this series, the Thunder need Westbrook and Durant to play their best basketball at the same time.
Another requisite of emerging from this series alive: the Thunder need more production out of Serge Ibaka. Ibaka shot well through the first two series, but has seemed to struggle mightily against Draymond Green. Ibaka went just 1-6 for three points.
Winning one of two one the Warriors’ floor is definitely an accomplishment. Winning two of two would have been immense with three home games remaining in the series. Alas, the Warriors turned it on in Game 2 while the Thunder crumbled–a complete 180 degree shift from Game 1.
Can the Warriors steal back home court advantage from the Thunder? Game 3 is Sunday at 7 P.M. in Oklahoma City.