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Basketball Daily Dose

OKC not great, but good enough

by Steve Alexander
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Thunder stun Warriors at Oracle with 108-102 upset

 

The Thunder won their third straight road playoff game and took a 1-0 lead over the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, along with home-court advantage despite being 7.5 point underdogs on the road in Game 1. The Spurs and Warriors had lost a combined three games at home this season, yet the Thunder have now won three straight on the road against those teams. Crazy. Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!

 

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Kevin Durant missed seven (or eight) straight shots during an important stretch in the second half, yet the Thunder were able to keep a slim lead after coming back from a 13-point deficit at halftime and going on a 21-7 second-half run, fueled by Russell Westbrook. Westbrook scored a career-playoff high 19 points in a quarter (the third) and finished the game with 27 points, 12 assists and a playoff career-high seven steals, becoming just the second player in playoff history to post that line (Tim Hardaway). Westbrook also took a ton of tough hits in this one, but a body shot from Klay Thompson and an elbow to the face from Andrew Bogut weren’t enough to slow him down. Westbrook went off in the second half, while Stephen Curry never really caught fire. Westbrook hit just 7-of-21 shots on the night, but was still the best player on the floor. And the Warriors were just bad in the fourth quarter, failing to take advantage of Durant’s miscues. The Warriors hit just 6-of-23 shots in the fourth and were 1-of-10 from downtown in the final 12 minutes.

 

Durant hit just 10-of-30 shots and 1-of-4 3-pointers for 26 points, 10 rebounds, three steals, a block and five turnovers, but as I said, the Warriors couldn’t make shots in the fourth quarter, either. Steven Adams was fun with 16 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, and also hit free throws when they mattered, and Serge Ibaka added 11 points, 11 boards, a block and a 3-pointer. And starter Andre Roberson was efficient, hitting all three of his shots and a 3-pointer for seven points, five rebounds, a steal and a block. Dion Waiters added 10 points, four assists and two 3-pointers in 30 minutes off the bench, and Enes Kanter came through with eight points, six rebounds, a steal and a block in just 18 minutes off the pine. The fact KD and Westbrook combined to hit 17-of-51 shots and OKC still won at Oracle is a huge break for the Thunder.

 

The Warriors saw Curry hit a 3-pointer in his 45th straight playoff game, breaking Reggie Miller’s record in the process, but the good news ended there. Curry finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, three steals, six 3-pointers and seven turnovers on 9-of-22 shooting. Klay Thompson had 25 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three 3-pointers on 11-of-25 shooting, and Draymond Green hit 9-of-20 shots for 23 points, five rebounds, four assists, a steal and two blocks in the home loss. Harrison Barnes had 12 points, five rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers in 33 minutes, and Andrew Bogut failed to score a point in just 17 minutes, but at least played through his hip injury. With all the talk about the Thunder consistently choking in the fourth quarter, it was the Warriors who couldn’t get shots to fall.

 

The Warriors’ bench was pretty bad, led by Andre Iguodala’s six points in 33 minutes, while Marreese Speights and Festus Ezeli combined for just 14 minutes, four points and three rebounds in the loss. Game 2 is on Wednesday night at 9 ET at Golden State, which will be considered a must-win for the Dubs. Hopefully we’ll see more minutes for Kanter, while Westbrook and Curry will probably guard each other again for much of Game 2.

 

Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 on Tuesday

 

The Cavaliers host the Raptors in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at 8:30 on Tuesday night. Jonas Valanciunas is doubtful for Games 1 and 2 with his ankle injury, so it should mean plenty of run for Bismack Biyombo and Patrick Patterson, and maybe even some Jason Thompson in those games. Other than that, guys on both teams are pretty healthy and it should be interesting watching DeMarre Carroll try to slow down LeBron James tonight. The Cavs are heavily favored to win this series in dominant fashion, but the Raptors will hope to take a page out of the Thunder playbook tonight at Cleveland. It should be fun. 

Steve Alexander

Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2020-20 NBA season marks (at least) his 20th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.