NBA Playoffs – Day 31

Game 1 lives up to the hype.

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Tonight, the Conference Finals get underway, and they couldn’t be more anticipated with tonight’s Game 1 between the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Warriors continue their championship defense, while the Thunder are here in the Conference Finals for the fourth time in the last six years. They’re trying to get back to the Finals for the first time since 2012 and finally reach the lofty goals of the Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrook era. They’ve also been on fire, pushing the 67-win Spurs aside by coming up with three straight wins to get here tonight. The Warriors, of course, won 73 games this season, and present a new challenge for the Thunder. They should be at full strength tonight, with Steph Curry having two games under his belt, and Andrew Bogut in the lineup.

During the regular season, all three of the games were close down the stretch but the Warriors came away with wins in all of them. Can the Thunder carry over their new level of play to this series, or are the Warriors an unbeatable juggernaut, on their way to a second straight Finals?

9:00 pm – We’re here on Turner Network Television, and it’s finally time for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals! Marv Albert welcomes us to the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, and I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have narrating this series. He’s joined by Reggie Miller. I can think of several other people I’d rather have providing color commentary for this series. Where’s Mike Fratello or Kevin McHale!?

9:03 – The Thunder win the opening tip, and the Western Conference Finals is underway!

9:04 – Klay Thompson gets himself under the hoop, and puts the ball in the basket for the first points of the game. Kevin Durant quickly finds Andre Roberson alone under the basket for a layup, and we start this one off tied at two.

9:10 – We have our first time out of the series with the score Golden State 9, Oklahoma City 8 with 7:20 left in the first quarter. The pace is fast, and the shooting percentages are low as the Warriors are shooting 3-9, and the Thunder are at 4-11 to start the game.

9:17 – We have a lame flagrant foul called on Andrew Bogut. He was going for a rebound, and did end up hitting Russell Westbrook in the dome, sending him crashing to the ground. Bogut definitely wasn’t trying to do anything wrong on this one, but he’ll get hit with the flagrant anyway. Westbrook goes 1-2 from the line, and we’re tied at 11.

9:20 – A time out with the score Golden State 15, Oklahoma City 13 with 4:17 left in the first quarter. Both teams are 6-15 from the field. That’s not great, but I do hope that these two teams remain even for the entire series. No blowouts!

9:24 – After Harrison Barnes knocks down a three, the Thunder quickly call a time out with the score Golden State 20, Oklahoma City 13 with 3:25 left in the first quarter. The fans at The Oracle are loud and on their feet already. OKC is already dealing with turnover issues, having given up the ball six times already, leading to 11 Warriors points.

9:28 – And another time out after the Thunder salvage a sloppy sequence and get a layup out of Serge Ibaka. The Thunder might be the best team at turning sloppiness into baskets. Anyway, the score’s Golden State 23, Oklahoma City 19 with 1:48 left in the first quarter.

9:32 – We’ve reached the end of the first quarter with the score Golden State 27, Oklahoma City 21. The Thunder’s sloppiness has been the big story of the game so far, and they have as many turnovers as they do assists.

9:36 – Shawn Livingston pulls up from the free throw line and hits a jumper, getting the first basket of the second quarter and extending the Warriors lead to 29-21.

9:39 – Leandro Barbossa goes along the baseline for a layup, and the Warriors are on an 8-0 run. The Thunder take a time out with the score Golden State 37, Oklahoma City 24 with 9:58 left in the first half. The Thunder really need to lock up their turnovers and disjointed play, or the great start to the series that we were all hoping for will go straight down the toilet.

9:43 – Steven Adams is out there with a big wad of cotton up his nose to prevent bleeding. Just thought you guys should know.

9:44 – Serge Ibaka knocks down a three, and the Thunder have responded with a 7-0 run, causing the Warriors to take a time out. It’s Golden State 37, Oklahoma City 31 with 8:26 left until halftime.

10:00 – We’ve got a time out after another big Warriors run. It’s Golden State 54, Oklahoma City 42 with 1:12 left in the first half. The Thunder have been able to cut the deficit down to six a couple of times, but then they go right back to turning the ball over, and the Warriors are going to take advantage of that every time.

10:07 – Steph Curry knocks down a three at the buzzer! It punctuates a 14-5 Warriors run to close out the first half, making the score Golden State 60, Oklahoma City 47.

Klay Thompson has 19 points and 5 rebounds to lead the Warriors, and Steph Curry isn’t far behind with 14 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Kevin Durant has 13 points for the Thunder, and Serge Ibaka has 11 points and 6 rebounds, but Russell Westbrook has just three points on 1-8 shooting. On the plus side, he does have 8 assists and 4 steals, but on the downside, the Thunder are turning the ball over too often, and while their best basketball is usually a result of their chaotic style, tonight, it’s becoming their downfall. That being said, they’ve been able to cut into the Warriors lead for brief spurts, and if they can get themselves under control, they could have a chance to make this interesting in the second half.

10:13 – With the NBA on TNT crew doing the halftime show live at The Oracle, and Bel Biv Devoe performing “Poison” on the court for the halftime show, we’re treated to a singalong courtesy of Shaq and crew.

10:23 – It’s time for tonight’s episode of This Day in NBA Playoff History, brought to you by the gang over at Basketball-Reference!

We’re going all the way back to May 16, 1976, the last time the Warriors were defending a championship. On that date, their defense came to an end in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, thanks to a 94-86 loss to the Phoenix Suns. The Warriors were up 3-2 in the series, before losing Game 6, 105-104. Paul Westphal and Gar Heard each scored 21 to lead the Suns in Game 7. Rick Barry scored 20 to lead the Warriors, but it would be the end of the Warriors championship defense. As for the Suns, they’d go on to lose in the Finals against the Boston Celtics in a memorable six game series.

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10:27 – Draymond Green goes 1-2 from the free throw line for the first point of the third quarter, extending the Warriors lead to 61-47.

10:33 – Andre Roberson gets himself a reverse layup, and it leads to a time out with the score Golden State 66, Oklahoma City 56 with 8:25 left in the third quarter. Once again, the Thunder are trying to put together a little run, and they’ve got the Warriors lead down to ten. Unfortunately for them, every time they’ve cut into the lead, their bad habits resurface, and the Warriors build their lead back up.

10:40 – Russell Westbrook knocks down a three, his second in a row, and the Thunder are on a 14-2 run! Klay Thompson answers by banking a shot off the glass, and the Warriors lead is 70-66.

10:42 – Klay Thompson drives towards the hoop and loops in a tear-drop. It leads to a time out with the score Golden State 75, Oklahoma City 68 with 4:26 left in the third quarter. OKC’s starting to play much better, and Russell Westbrook is starting to heat up after his miserable first half, but it’s going to be tough for them to wrestle the lead away from the Warriors.

10:50 – The only good thing about Reggie Miller being here is that Marv Albert keeps calling him out on every stupid comment he makes. For instance, Miller just said that Draymond Green is struggling from the free throw line “this afternoon” and Marv jumped all over it. Long live Marv!

10:57 – Kevin Durant gets to the hoop for a scoop shot, and they have the Warriors lead down to three at 88-85.

10:58 – The third quarter comes to an end with the score still Golden State 88, Oklahoma City 85. It feels like the Warriors should be leading by double-digits, yet here we are with a one possession game going into the fourth quarter. Russell Westbrook finally joined the ball game, scoring 19 points in the third quarter. He’s also working on a triple-double with 22 points, 11 assists and 7 steals. The stage has been set for a memorable fourth quarter, and hopefully this game won’t disappoint.

11:01 – Kevin Durant kicks off the fourth quarter with a three, tying us up at 88!

11:03 – Dion Waiters gets to the bucket for a layup, and the Thunder take a 90-88! It’s their first lead since they had a 10-9 advantage way back in the first quarter.

11:04 – Marrese Speights goes 1-2 from the line, cutting the Thunder lead in half as the Warriors trail, 90-89. Dion Waiters answers back with a three from the corner, and OKC’s lead balloons up to 93-89!

11:05 – Harrison Barnes gets into the paint and gets a shot to fall, and the Warriors keep it a one possession game until Kevin Durant backs down Shawn Livingston and hits a turnaround over him, giving the Thunder a 95-91 lead.

11:07 – We’ve got a time out with the score still Oklahoma City 95, Golden State 91 with 8:27 left in the ball game. The Thunder have only turned the ball over once here in the second half, and they’ve calmed themselves down, which has so far been good enough to get them a lead. Can they keep up the good work and fend off the Warriors down the stretch?

11:10 – Draymond Green corrals a loose ball and puts it in the hoop, and the Warriors trail, 95-93.

11:11 – Enes Kanter gets himself an offensive rebound and a basket, and the Thunder get their lead back up to four at 97-93.

11:13 – The Thunder take a time out with the score Oklahoma City 97, Golden State 93 with 5:41 left in the game. Both teams are starting to rush shots as they fight for control, and perhaps this time out will settle them both down.

11:18 – Draymond Green gets to the hoop for a layup, and the Warriors are back to within three, trailing 101-98.

11:20 – We’ve got a time out with the score still Oklahoma City 101, Golden State 98 with 2:31 left in the game. Both teams are missing a lot of shots right now, but the Warriors are compounding it, as they’re now turning the ball over with alarming frequency. The Oracle crowd is also nervous and uncharacteristically subdued.

11:24 – Harrison Barnes hits a turnaround from close range, and it’s a one point game as we go under two minutes remaining with the Warriors behind, 101-100.

11:25 – A time out with the score still Oklahoma City 101, Golden State 100 with just 1:12 on the clock. Kevin Durant has missed his last seven shots as the Thunder try and eke out a win here. He’s a ghastly 9-29 from the field, but all it takes is one shot to make a big difference. Sorry for the massive cliche there.

11:27 – Russell Westbrook tries to throw an alley-oop for Steven Adams, but the ball hits the bottom of the backboard. Adams chases down the ball, then goes in for a layup, and he’s fouled. The usually lousy free throw shooter goes 2-2 from the line, and the Thunder lead 103-100 as we enter the final minute of the basketball game.

11:28 – Kevin Durant rises up and hits a jumper! My cliche was right! The Warriors take a time out with the score Oklahoma City 105, Golden State 100 with just 30.7 seconds remaining.

11:31 – Andre Iguodala fights his way to the basket for a layup, and the Warriors are down, 105-102. As the Thunder come up the court, Klay Thompson forces Russell Westbrook to a stop, and he drags his foot! However, the refs miss the travel, and Westbrook calls a time out with 17.2 seconds remaining. Warriors coach Steve Kerr and the rest of the bench are furious!

11:32 – Russell Westbrook is fouled to stop the clock and send him to the line with 15.4 seconds left. He hits the first free throw, misses the second, but comes flying in for the rebound, but he gets called for a lane violation! He didn’t wait for the ball to hit the rim before taking off, and the ball will go to the Warriors. They take a time seconds with the score Oklahoma City 106, Golden State 102.

11:35 – Steph Curry misses a three, and the rebound bounces to Westbrook! He’s fouled again and will go to the line with an even nine seconds to go. He hits his free throws, and the Warriors take their last time out with the score now Oklahoma City 102, Golden State 102.

11:37 – Steph Curry misses a three, and that’s going to do it! The Thunder calm themselves down and come away with a shocking win here in Game 1. The final score: Oklahoma City 108, Golden State 102.

Russell Westbrook shook off an unfortunate first half to finish with 27 points, 6 rebounds, 12 assists and 7 steals. Kevin Durant scored 26 and grabbed 10 rebounds, but shot just 10-30 from the field. Steven Adams contributed 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Serge Ibaka chipped in with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Steph Curry led the Warriors with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. Klay Thompson was right behind him with 25 and 9 rebounds, and Draymond Green scored 23 and grabbed 5.

After the Thunder’s sloppy first half, the roles reversed, and the Warriors actually ended the game with more turnovers (14) than the Thunder had (11). The other important factor in this one was the rebounding. The Thunder were all over the boards in the second half, which was important, since there were a lot of misses that Steven Adams and Enes Kanter hauled in for offensive rebounds. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to shoot 17-51, and the Thunder still won as the Warriors got cold in the fourth and couldn’t take care of the basketball down the stretch.

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It’s nice when a Game 1 lives up to the hype. This one came right down to the end, and surprisingly, the Warriors couldn’t find a way to win it on their home floor. Once Russell Westbrook took over the third quarter, the Thunder calmed down, and proved that they have a real chance to win this series.

Tomorrow night, the Eastern Conference Finals get started. Hopefully it’s just as good as this game was. Or, half as good. It’s not going to be nearly as good, is it?

Author: tomeagher

Watching too much basketball.

1 thought on “NBA Playoffs – Day 31”

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