Ladies and gentlemen, this is NBA playoffs at their finest. The Western Conference Finals kicked off with the highly anticipated matchup of the Oklahoma City Thunder taking on the reigning champs, the Golden State Warriors.
Coming off a very impressive closing win against the San Antonio Spurs in the semifinal round, the Thunder were aiming to steal Game 1 as well as the home court away from Golden State in Oakland. If the previous three regular season matchups showed us anything, it's that this series will live up to the hype of being a battle of the two best offensive powerhouse teams in the league. These games will all be going down to the final buzzer.
Early on in Game 1, the Warriors came out and played great. Klay Thompson started off right where he left off last series, and he hit shots early. He was hitting all of his three-pointer shots, and he was getting easy buckets at the rim. In my opinion, Klay Thompson, also known as Splash Brother Two, is the the true glue to the greatness of the Warriors.
So far in the playoffs, he has averaged 27 points per game, shooting 47 percent from three-point range. He's also playing defense on the opposing team's best player. I shouldn't have to say any more, but if I was Coach Kerr, I would be yelling, "Pass that man The Rock!"
This WCF battle was a tale of two halves. The first half was won by Golden State. They were able to out-rebound the big men of OKC, who happen to lead the NBA in offensive rebounds throughout the playoffs so far.
The Thunder also had six turnovers in just the first quarter, and they had 10 in the first half, which is way too many. These two stat lines will continue to be important keys to the series, as they completely changed in the second half.
And so did the manic man himself, Russell Westbrook. Westbrook was shooting 1-8, and his fast, aggressive style of play led to a lot of turnovers early on. However, head coach Billy Donovan made some changes during the halftime break, and Westbrook's active aggressive style finally took flight.
He took over in the third quarter. OKC had 38 team points, and 19 of them were from Westbrook. He finished with 27 points, 12 assists, seven steals and six rebounds. The Warriors did the opposite, and it cost them. They let the lead slip, and they actually started the fourth quarter down from behind.
As a side note, the most important contributor for the Thunder's 108-102 win had to be Dion Waiters, who had 10 points. Most of them, however, came in the fourth quarter. This was when Westbrook was being harassed by Klay, and Kevin Durant wasn't making any shots.
If Waiters can play like he did all series, then the Thunder will advance to the finals. If Waiters can play a similar role to the one James Harden played during 2012 OKC Thunder finals run, then watch out.
Still, the Warriors played horribly in the fourth quarter. The MVP Curry was a no-show. He disappeared, and he wasn't the only one. Durant, the former MVP, almost gave the game back to the home team down the stretch.
Maybe this is because of the Lil B curse. Lil B does represent the Bay Area, and his team is the Warriors. He recently tweeted that Durant is still cursed, and he won't win a championship.
Just got word from " The BasedGod " that the thunder will not be beating the Warriors in the playoffs series,Durant is still cursed - Lil B — Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) May 16, 2016
Going 10-30 from the field and 1-7 in the fourth quarter, he certainly played like he was cursed. The one shot he did make helped OKC steal Game 1. Well, and the fact the referees made a controversial missed travel call on Westbrook, with GSW down by three with around 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
It's only one game, but it did tell us a lot about this series. The stars that forget their past mistakes and show up in the end to play will help their teams advance. This is not the regular season, so the past games don't matter. Game 2 with the Warriors will be nothing but amazing, so I expect them to come out hungry for a win. Stay tuned because this will be a fun and competitive series.