Latest posts by Raphael Haynes (see all)
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Game 1 Review
It was everything we expected and then some. It was expected to see threes launching, physical contact, great defense and Golden State Warriors with a big lead. What we didn’t see coming is Oklahoma City (OKC) Thunder coming back from a big lead in the second half and winning Game 1. OKC had that look in their eyes before the game which was reminiscing of the Chicago Bulls in 1991 that signified we won’t be denied. Russell Westbrook came out and played maybe his best game of the playoffs carrying the team on his back, scoring 27 points (including 24 points in the second half), 12 assist, six rebounds and seven steals. The Warriors started the game as if they were going to run away with the game. They not only hit a dry spell in the second half but they couldn’t stop a determined OKC. Stephen Curry showed flashes scoring 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assist but struggled in the 4th quarter. Although the Warriors look stunned and confused after Game 1, it should be another epic battle Game 2.
Keys To The Game
OKC did a great job crashing and controlling the boards. However, they need to space the floor for easy lanes and need constant movement from the offense. Kevin Durant has to find better ways to get to the basket. By him driving to the whole in the middle of the floor and him being 6’11 and not holding the ball up high allows the Warriors to have easy access of stripping the ball. They can’t be satisfied with getting one on the road and have to be more aggressive than they were in Game 1. Although the Warriors’ game is shooting threes, Golden State has to attack the basket more. As deep as OKC is, the starters mean the world to them which means Golden State needs to draw fouls and put pressure on Steven Adams and others to get them in foul trouble. The defenders of the Warriors need to bait them into falling in love with the jump shot. The only two people on the Thunder’s team who you don’t want to let shoot is Durant and Anthony Morrow (which he doesn’t get in the game). If they try to match the Warriors in a jump shooting contest, advantage Warriors.
The X-Factor for the Thunder is Enes Kanter. Kanter had a decent performance in Game 1 but the Thunder needs an explosion from him offensively. The Warriors will counter by going small so Kanter has to make them dictate to the big lineup. Kanter needs to punish down low and dominate the boards. If he scores 15 points with eight rebounds and two blocks, then OKC will win the chess match.
The X-Factor for the Warriors is Shaun Livingston. Livingston is the only player on the court that really has an advantage at his position. Standing at 6’7, he has a massive height advantage over any point guard that guards him. He should take advantage by posting up which gives him a clear view at the basket or he can create by passing if they start to double.
Prediction: Game 1 displayed character from OKC climbing their way out of a hole. Now it’s time for Golden State to show theirs. Golden State wins 98-93.