Warriors vs Thunder WCF Preview. NBA Playoffs.
Drew Zlogar (@drewzlogar21)
The Golden State Warriors won game 5 Wednesday night in the Western Conference Semifinals over the Portland Trailblazers, which propelled them to the Western Conference Finals, where they will now be taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder. OKC knocked off the tired-legged Spurs last night in the other West Coast semi final contest. Golden State backed by the dynamic duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 62 of the team's 125 points in their 125-121 victory to eliminate the Blazers from further playoff contention. Damian Lillard with some help from his scoring partner CJ McCollum tried hard to keep the game close by scoring 54 points between them, but the depth in talent that has been the Warriors biggest asset all year was too much for the young Blazer squad to handle.
The “Splash Bro’s” are back and at full health with Stephen Curry seemingly back to his usual ways after about 2 weeks of being out with a knee sprain. It reassured everyone watching the NBA that when healthy, the Warriors have to be the team to beat in the West coast. The offensive firepower that is always a threat from all over the floor but especially behind the three point line, was on full display the last three games of the Warriors series with the Blazers, and it was backed by the now reigning MVP of the league Stephen Curry’s presence. It is simple: when Stephen Curry is on the floor, two to three defenders of the opposing team are glued to what he is about to do with the ball. This in turn gets the rest of the Warriors line up that has 5-6 other legitimate scoring threats open, and they start to beat you down that way. Once Klay Thompson and Draymond Green hit a couple threes, Bogut gets a couple lob dunks, and Iguodala leaks out in transition for some buckets, you have to go back to guarding Curry straight up, and that is when he begins to toy with you. The dribbling medley that he does to get the defender twisted up and then the off balance 30 foot step back three that he doesn’t even need to see go in is the last straw if you are defending the team from the Bay. They wear you out to the point you just can’t stop them anymore. Yes, you might score 100+ on them, but they will find a way to score more than you. Knocking off the Blazers is a testament to how good Curry truly is. The best player on the best team in NBA regular season history has his defending championship squad looking ready for another title defense as we go into the Conference Finals.
Are you as excited as I am to watch a 7 game series between Russell Westbrook and Steph? Or Draymond against Kevin Durant? How about the tough-nosed rim protecting bigs in Bogut against the wild-mustache-rocking Steven Adams? In my opinion the two best teams in the West are left standing to see who is the stronger team to represent in the finals, and it is about to be an incredibly fun series to watch. Steph Curry might be the most un-guardable player in the league right now, but he is going up against maybe the most fearless, and tenacious guard in the league in Westbrook. The Thunder have found a late season surge behind first year head coach Billy Donovan in playing Steven Adams and Enes Kanter together, and for the most part KD and Westbrook are gelling together better than they have all year. All signs point to a wild series between these two teams. I truly wouldn’t be surprised to see either the Thunder or the Warriors come out of the West; they both are playing that well right now. That being said: If I had to put my money where my mouth is, I am taking the defending champs in 7 games over the Thunder. Too much offense for the Thunder to worry about, and with their lapses that they have a couple of times a game for 4-5 minute stretches, I believe the Warriors are the best team at taking advantage of those times, just because they continue to score at all times. Either way, the Western Conference Finals is must-watch TV and I can’t wait.