Game-watching plans are being made around the world for one of the most intense Game 7 matchups in recent NBA history. The Golden State Warriors, a team that most thought was a guarantee as a winner in the Western Conference Finals, has become an underdog in a series against the explosive Oklahoma City Thunder. Trailing as much as 3-1, the Warriors have managed to make up for their deficit and force a Game 7 back at home. Some people love an underdog story, but some people love to see champions turn into legends. Monday night will give both groups an exciting game to watch.
Let’s put this into perspective. The Warriors are the current NBA champs, set a record for the most wins in an NBA season (73 – 9), and have Steph Curry who was named as the first unanimous MVP of the year. Now these guys have their backs against the wall at home to try to force their third straight win over the former underdog. Rarely do you see an underdog go 3-1 over a championship team, so this Game 7 will truly be a spectacle.
Golden State won 108 -101 in Game 6, which was just enough to fight off elimination. Klay Thompson went off for 41 points, and Steph almost had a triple double, including 29 points. Durant and Westbrook, the powerhouses of the Thunder, scored 29 and 28 points respectively.
Game 6 showed the OKC Thunder play with the same intensity they have been this series, even with a quality Steven Adams posterizing dunk on Draymond Green.
This intensity, however, was ultimately overshadowed over by Klay Thompson’s performance, setting an NBA record by hitting 11 threes. This is very impressive, especially considering that he’s not even the best shooter on the team (shout out Steph Curry).
The People That Love an Underdog Story
To ensure an OKC win and another playoff appearance, the Thunder need to do several things:
- The most important thing is for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to play with the same intensity and execution that they have been. In fact, it’s almost required for them to each have 30+ games just to keep up with the Warriors.
- The first point alone won’t be enough. As seen in Game 5, Durant scored 40 and Westbrook scored 31, yet the Thunder still fell 111-120. They absolutely have to keep locking down Curry, but they also need to start paying extra-hard attention to threats such as Thompson and not have a repeat of Game 6.
- Keep that early lead, and protect it for dear life. The Warriors are a team that will cut down a double-digit deficit in under a minute – and they do this consistently. Great defense will keep Curry, Thompson, and Green numbers low, but it should also keep the numbers of Bogut and Speights to single digits.
The People That Want to See Champions Turn into Legends
Golden State’s monumental season would be a complete disappointment if they did not even make it to the Finals. To reclaim their momentum, the Warriors need to focus on:
- Creating open shots for Curry and Thompson. Both are capable of catch-and-release wet shooting, but an open look is deadly.
- Take advantage of any OKC slip-ups. They are a very eager, but relatively emotional team and are prone to make mistakes. This is something that the Thunder have been focusing on and it has been showing.
- For goodness sakes, lock down KD and Russell Westbrook. These are clearly your biggest issue. They are both playing over 43 minutes a game, and there is only two of them. They are phenomenal athletes, but everyone has their limits.