All of the dust of the wild west has officially settled and it has come down to two teams. One of these teams was fully expected to be here, that tends to happen when you are the reigning defending champs and you are also the winning-est team in NBA history. The other comes as a bit of a surprise ( not to me, I picked them to be here), they were able to pull off the upset of the second best team in the league this year and shock the world. But honestly, the NBA world should be happy, are you really upset at getting to see Kevin Durant and Westbrook take on the defending champs instead of the Spurs? That’s what I thought.
The Case for the Thunder
Let’s get the obvious out the way. The Thunder have the two best players in this series not named Stephen Curry. When you have two of the top four players in the league, anything is possible, and that was shown perfectly in the last round versus the Spurs. In the case Westbrook is having one of those nights, Durant is there to pick him up with 41 points like he did in Game 4. If it’s one of those rare nights Kevin Durant is more quiet than usual, best believe Westbrook will pick up the slack like he did in Game 5 punishing the Spurs for 35 points, 9 assists, and 11 rebounds. And let’s just say both of them are on? Well you’re toast, and the Spurs found out the hard way as Durant went for 37 and Westbrook closed the deal with 28 and 12 in game 6.
Another thing going for the Thunder is their size. The Thunder were THE best rebounding team in the league this season (48.6 RPG) and that’s because positions 1 through 5 can rebound. Steven Adams came alive last round and he will need to duplicate if not exceed that versus Golden State. For OKC to win they must punish the Warriors with their size whenever they do go small and they must win the backboard.
The Case For The Warriors
I’ll say one word… Unanimous. The Warriors have the first unanimous MVP in league history, and I think by now were all in complete agreement that the Warriors are way better with him. Not to mention the fact that whenever OKC comes to town, Curry gets up to play. In three games vs the Thunder this year, Curry is averaging 35 in three wins, and I’m pretty sure no one has forgotten what Curry did to OKC last time they played, but just in case you forgot..
The X-Factor for Golden State will be their “Death lineup” and more specifically, Draymond Green. The Warriors Death Lineup, so Curry, Klay, Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, and Draymond, have been the most productive lineup in the league this season outscoring opponents by 47 net points per 100 possessions. For Golden State to win this series this lineup must be able to negate OKC’s hugeness with their shooting, speed, and finesse. A lot of this will hinge on Green’s ability to successfully bang with the Thunder’s big boys and still push the tempo and stretch the floor with his handles and shooting ability.
So.. Who Wins?? WhyToby??
Honestly I’ve been struggling with this all week. It’s destiny for the Warriors. They have the best record in NBA History. They have the back to back MVP who can miss three weeks of game action and come back and score 40.. off the bench. They are meant to go back to the Finals and avenge the asterisk on their title run and show the world last year was no fluke. But I’m sorry, I got the Thunder winning this series.
One of the biggest asterisks of the Warriors title run was the fact that OKC missed the playoffs by a hair so Westbrook never got his chance against Curry, and I believe Westbrook is going to give the Warriors hell. Kevin Durant loves playing the Warriors because when they come around he’s averaging 36 points and 12 rebounds. The size and athleticism of OKC will be too much this time around. So as badly as I want LeBron to get his revenge against the Warriors, it’ll have to be another year. The Thunder will steal game one, and by game six, a Drake line will never be more fitting. IT’S RAINING MONEY, OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER.
Thunder in SIX