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Game 3 Preview
Game 3 was more shocking than the Game 1 results. In the Game 2 preview, it was mentioned that the Oklahoma City (OKC) Thunder had the same determined look on their faces as the 1991 Chicago Bulls. Well that look transferred to their play as they played with purpose and a sense of urgency. Russell Westbrook once again power surged the team with 30 points, 12 assist and 8 rebounds to blow out the Golden State Warriors 133-105. Kevin Durant also added 33 points and eight rebounds. The Warriors shot 41% as a team. Stephen Curry led the team with 24 points and Klay Thompson pitched in 18 points but the two combined to go 5-19 from three point land. The most excitement for the Warriors came when Draymond Green kicked Steven Adams in the groin area. It caused a lot speculation that it was intentional. He received a flagrant 1 but has been upgraded to a flagrant 2.
Keys To The Game
The Warriors come in to Game 4 with their backs against the walls. Usually you would want the team to play like it’s Game 7 but not Golden State. They have to realize that OKC is not a team that is “trying” to beat them like everyone else in the regular season. This is a team that is confident that they are the best team. In saying that, the Warriors need to go back to basics by constantly moving, shooting wide open threes in rhythm and play sound help defense. OKC can’t be happy with going up 2-1 in this series. They actually need to play like it’s Game 7 with their backs against the walls. They have to come out scrapping, hustling and fighting for loose balls and rebounds. Westbrook needs to keep playing relentlessly by keeping them on edge with driving hard to the rim. When he and Durant is aggressive, usually great things happen.
The X-Factor for the Warriors is Draymond Green. In the first three games, Green is averaging 13 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5 assist a game. We all know Curry is the best player on that team but Green may very well be the most important player on the team. From Green, the Warriors need the energy plays, the assist and him touching the ball at least once on every possession. When he’s involved, they usually are successful on the offensive end.
The X-Factors for the Thunder is Steven Adams and Serge Ibaka. Adams has not only absorb kicks, hits and other contact but he’s been controlling the boards and showed a little post game. If he continues to get under the skin of the Warriors by not letting them get under his skin, then advantage OKC. Ibaka has to hit that jumper consistently or just enough to keep Green out of the paint. Ibaka can really put his imprint on the game by his athleticism on defense. His ability to move his feet and block shots with his long wing span take away easy layups and make jumpers harder.
Prediction: The Warriors are not NBA champs for anything. The poise, experience and bond with each other should propel them to another win. The Thunder should avoid being happy because of having one game up on Golden State. OKC stuns Golden State 109-107.