As I wrote on May 20th, just before games three and four in the Western Conference Finals moved to Oklahoma City, “any thought of this team off Reno Avenue winning their Western Conference Finals series with the Golden State Warriors hinges on the winning out in home games in the Chesapeake Arena. That, in all seriousness, says that games three and four in Oklahoma City must be won by the home team.” I would have added that winning game six back in OKC would also be a must, as I did not expect the Thunder to win another game in Oakland against the great Warriors, especially a game seven on the road in the Oracle.
After watching the Thunder destroy the Warriors on Sunday and Tuesday in the Chesapeake Energy Arena I have come an educated conclusion. The Golden State Warriors could and can be beaten by Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and company, either in OKC or in Oakland, in upcoming games five, six and seven. The difference in teams on this day are vast, and the invincibility of the west coast NBA champions is no longer an issue. The team from the southern plains is better and it is not even close, especially away from the Warriors home court. Yes, Golden State might win the series, but they also can be beaten in game five on “their” hardwood, or could get run out of the Peak in game six, and again, could get taken by OKC in game seven back in the Oracle. Do not think Golden State is the best in the Association on this fine day in May. The Thunder is now the dangerous wild thing, and the hunter, not the Warriors. Good luck Stephan Curry and Klay Thompson. If you can put together three straight wins over OKC, you will truly be considered great. You get your chance.
As I wrote, again, back in the early part of this season:
In my analysis, if the Warriors and Thunder meet in the 2016 playoffs, the Westbrook/Curry match-up will be a significant determining factor for that series. As great as MVP Steph Curry is, Westbook devastates the smaller less athletic guard when they match up (on either side of the ball.)
Feature photo: Players wait for a rebound in the second half as the Golden State Warriors played the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla., on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. The Thunder defeated the Warriors 118-94, to take a 3 games to 1 lead. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle