Golden State won 73 games in the regular season. Best in NBA history. San Antonio put 67 in the win column. Best in franchise history.
Impressive, monumental regular seasons by both.
So, it was a forgone conclusion, right? The Warriors and Spurs would decide the West.
Except that everybody forget to tell Oklahoma City.
Despite being two of the league’s biggest stars, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook weren’t getting much respect. The Thunder’s dynamic duo was basically a sideshow before the expected main event between San Antonio and Golden State.
Then, the Thunder did something totally unexpected. OKC knocked out the Spurs in six games. Billy Donovan bested Gregg Popovich.
And now, Oklahoma City has already won a game on Golden State’s home floor and leads the Western Conference finals, 1-0.
OKC now owns a three game road playoff winning streak against two teams that lost all of THREE home games between them ALL season.
Wow! And how!
As in, “How has this team done it?”
*First all of all, OKC is pretty damn good, too.
*Durant and Westbrook are great competitors. They don’t go down without a fight.
*The bench, a major issue for much of the season, has shortened to three players.
*Enes Kanter, Dion Waiters and Randy Foye have all played well off the bench.
*Defensive effort and awareness have improved.
*Turnovers have been cut down
*Steven Adams has become a force.
*Donovan has gotten better later in the season.
*OKC has received some breaks.
It’s been a productive postseason so far for the Thunder, with the exception of Game 2 vs Dallas and Game 1 vs the Spurs.
I’m not sure OKC’s improved play is still good enough to get by Golden State in a seven game series.
It’s going to take even better play to take out the historically good, defending NBA champs.
It’ll be fun to see how it all plays out, but at least Oklahoma City is seriously in the conversation now, where it should’ve been all along.