NBA Playoffs – Day 40

The Warriors keep their season alive.

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On the 40th day of NBA Playoff action, we might see something truly momentous. The Oklahoma City Thunder are one win away from shocking the NBA world and dispatching the defending champion Golden State Warriors. They’ll have to do so in hostile territory out in Oakland, a place they’ve won once this series. The Warriors surely won’t go down without a fight, and if any team can come back from a 3-1 deficit, it’s them. Nevertheless, it’s a feat that has been accomplished only nine times in the entire history of the NBA, and the Thunder are looking particularly unstoppable lately. With both teams having a lot to play for, a trip to the Finals for OKC, staying alive for Golden State, we could be in for a classic. Of course, I said something like that last night, and was unceremoniously treated to a 38 point blowout. We really don’t know what the hell’s going to happen on a nightly basis, we just hope for it to be memorable. With that in mind, let’s kick back and see what these two teams have in store for us.

9:00 pm – The time has come! Marv Albert welcomes us into The Oracle, where he’ll be joined by Chris Webber. Word on the Twitter streets is that traffic is particularly bad in the Bay Area, and it’s impacted the amount of fans that have been able to make it in time of the game. Although, judging from the initial shots from inside The Oracle, it looks like a pretty loud, packed house.

9:02 – The Warriors win the opening tip, and Game 5 is underway!

9:03 – Harrison Barnes knocks down a three from the corner for the first points of the game. It gives the Warriors a 3-0 lead to begin the game.

9:04 – Kevin Durant hits a jumper, and the Thunder are on the board, trailing 3-2.

9:06 – Steven Adams picks up his second early foul, and he heads to the bench. He’s been such a big part of the Thunder success in this series, so let’s see if they can carry on without him in these opening minutes. Dion Waiters comes off the bench as the Thunder elect to go small.

9:08 – After Draymond Green blocks an attempt from Russell Westbrook on one end, Steph Curry gets Andre Roberson to jump on a pump fake. As Roberson flies by, Curry goes under him and knocks down a shot. It leads to a time out with the score Golden State 11, Oklahoma City 7 with 8:14 left in the opening quarter. Green had a lot to say to Westbrook after that block, by the way.

9:18 – Kevin Durant hits a jumper, and the Warriors call a time out with the score Golden State 19, Oklahoma City 12 with 3:29 left in the first quarter. OKC’s shooting just 5-22 from the field, yet they’re only down seven. A big reason why is they’ve already got five offensive rebounds, and it’s getting them extra shots and keeping them in the game. The Warriors, frankly, should have a bigger lead.

9:29 – We’re here at the end of the first quarter, and the Thunder have capped it off wiht a 9-3 run. The score’s Golden State 25, Oklahoma City 21. Despite shooting just 8-28, the Thunder are just four points down. If they can just calm down a bit, they’re going to be just fine.

9:33 – Marresse Speights ends a fast break with a layup, plus he’s fouled! He hits his free throw, and it’s the first points of the second quarter. The Warriors lead, 28-21.

9:37 – Anthony Morrow, who’s getting more playing time than he’s been accustomed to lately, knocks down a three, and he’s providing such a spark off the bench that the Warriors need a time out. The score’s Golden State 33, Oklahoma City 32 with 9:03 left in the first half. Morrow’s got seven quick points on 3-3 shooting in his unexpected stint off the bench.

9:45 – Steph Curry takes it to the hoop and scoops it in, and he’s starting to heat up, having scored seven straight for the Warriors. OKC wisely takes a time out with the score Golden State 47, Oklahoma City 39 with 5:22 to go until halftime.

9:51 – We’re going to have a time out with the score Golden State 53, Oklahoma City 45 with 2:55 left in the first half. The Warriors are fired up this evening, but the Thunder are doing a good job hanging around.

10:00 – We’ve made it to halftime with the score Golden State 58, Oklahoma City 50. Klay Thompson has 16 to lead the Warriors, and Steph Curry has 11 points and 5 assists, but their most key contributor so far might just be Andrew Bogut, who’s come up with 10 points and 8 rebounds on 5-6 shooting as the Warriors have been able to hold off the Thunder so far. Kevin Durant leads the Thunder with 15, and Russell Westbrook has 13 points and 6 assists, but that third contributor for OKC has yet to emerge. That being said, despite not shooting particularly well, the Thunder are lurking in striking distance. If they come up with a good second half like they did in Game 1, they’ll be well on their way to the Finals. Can the Warriors continue to keep them at bay?

10:06 – Time for tonight’s enthralling episode of Today in NBA Playoff History, brought to you by Basketball-Reference!

It’s been a very quiet day in NBA Playoff History, so we’re going back to a game I actually attended! That’s right, back on May 26, 2012, I went to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals and saw the Boston Celtics defeat the Philadelphia 76ers, 85-75. Rajon Rondo led the way with a triple-double, springing for 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Kevin Garnett also scored 18, and grabbed 13 boards for Boston. Andre Iguodala, playing in tonight’s game for the Warriors, led the Sixers back then with 18. Thaddeus Young came off the bench for 6 points and 10 rebounds, but it would prove to be then end of the 8th seeded Sixers Playoff run.

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An actual picture I took after Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals.

10:19 – Serge Ibaka kicks off the second half with a three pointer for the Thunder, cutting their deficit down to 58-53.

10:20 – Draymond Green fouls Kevin Durant as he’s shooting a three, then follows it up by getting hit with a technical foul for screaming at the ref! Durant hits the technical free throw, then hits all three free throws from the initial foul. Thanks to Draymond Green, it’s a four point play for the Thunder, making this a one possession game, as they now trail 60-57.

10:22 – Serge Ibaka hits a jumper, and the Warriors are calling a time out as the Thunder are on a 9-2 run to make the score Golden State 60, Oklahoma City 59 with 10:23 left in the third quarter.

10:25 – Steph Curry hits a three from the corner, and the Warriors extend their lead up to 63-59. Curry’s up to 14 points so far.

10:27 – Russell Westbrook pulls up and hits a jumper, and the Thunder trail, 63-61. Westbrook’s got 15 points and 7 assists. Klay Thompson answers with an easy layup on the other end, and Golden State gets their lead up to 65-61.

10:28 – We’ve got a time out with the score still Golden State 65, Oklahoma City 61 with 7:43 left in the third quarter. The Warriors are starting to lose the mojo they had in the first half, forcing shots and turning the ball over, but they still maintain the lead for now.

10:31 – Steven Adams hits a little floater, and the Thunder keep pace, trailing 65-63.

10:32 – Kevin Durant gets a pull up to go in, thanks to a friendly rim, and we’re tied up at 65. Steph Curry quickly gets the lead back for the Warriors by laying the ball in high off the glass, and they go up, 67-65.

10:33 – Russell Westbrook hits a three! It gives the Thunder their first lead of the night at 68-67.

10:34 – A couple of Klay Thompson free throws returns the lead to the Warriors as they go up, 69-68. On the ensuing Thunder possession, Westbrook turns the ball over, and it leads to a layup on the other end by Draymond Green, who’s fouled! He unleashes his signature muscle flexing, and hits the free throw to put the Warriors ahead, 72-68.

10:36 – Steven Adams takes a pass from Dion Waiters and throws down a one hand dunk. It makes it a two point game again with the Thunder behind, 72-70.

10:37 – Draymond Green grabs an offensive rebound and puts it in the basket, where it belongs. OKC calls a time out with the score Golden State 74, Oklahoma City 70 with 3:46 left in a lively third quarter.

10:39 – Russell Westbrook uses some footwork to get himself open for a shot near the free throw line, and he buries it, putting us right back to a two point lead with the Thunder trailing, 74-72. Westbrook’s up to 20 points, seven of which have come right here in the third quarter.

10:40 – Andre Iguodala picks a loose ball up off the floor and puts it in the hoop, putting the Warriors ahead, 76-72.

10:45 – A furious third quarter comes to a close with the score Golden State 81, Oklahoma City 77. This is exactly what this game should be. Both teams have a great chance to win this game, and both of them have been a little out of control at points, and running on all cylinders at others. It certainly wasn’t easy to type and embed videos at a pace that matched the game itself, but I hope the excitement continues into the fourth quarter. I feel like I’m up to the task.

10:50 – Shawn Livingston starts off the fourth quarter with a jumper, and the Warriors extend their lead to 83-77. Andre Iguodala knocks down a three on the next Warriors possession, and it leads to a quick time out from the Thunder with the score Golden State 86, Oklahoma City 77 with 11:02 left in the ball game.

10:57 – Russell Westbrook gets all the way to the hoop for a layup, and the Warriors call a time out, as they don’t want the Thunder to get any momentum with the score Golden State 91, Oklahoma City 81 with an even nine minutes left in the game. The Thunder have unraveled a bit here to start off the fourth, but I have a feeling they have another run in them.

11:09 – We’ve got a time out in between a couple of Kevin Durant free throws. He hits the first one, and our score’s Golden State 103, Oklahoma City 94 with 4:54 left in the game. The Thunder are still in shouting distance, but I’m still waiting for that run I had a feeling about.

11:13 – Kevin Durant hits his second free throw, and the Thunder trail, 103-95.

11:15 – Trailing 106-100, the Thunder employ the ol’ intentional foul on lousy Warriors free throw shooter Andrew Bogut. He goes 1-2, getting the Warriors lead to 107-100.

11:21 – Andre Roberson just fouled out for the Thunder, getting called for his sixth as he was chasing Steph Curry around. He finishes with 6 points and 6 rebounds on the night. Steph Curry hits two free throws, and the Warriors go up, 109-101 as we go under 1:30 left in the game.

11:22 – After a Kevin Durant turnover, the Warriors take their time until Steph Curry goes in for a layup! OKC calls a time out with the score Golden State 111, Oklahoma City 101 with just 1:02 left in the game. I think it’s safe to say that we’re in for a Game 6.

11:24 – During the time out, Thunder coach Billy Donovan got hit with a technical foul. Steph Curry hits the ensuring free throw, and the Warriors lead, 112-101.

11:27 – Well, instead of fouling Steph Curry on his way up the court, the Thunder are able to get a steal, which leads to a runner from Russell Westbrook, plus he’s fouled!

He misses the free throw however, but flies in and gets his own rebound! They get it out to Kevin Durant for three….but it’s no good! The Warriors secure the rebound, and Steph Curry is fouled with 33.5 seconds left. We were that close to this being a three point game. Instead, Curry hits his free throws, and the Warriors lead, 116-108.

11:31 – Draymond Green hits two free throws, and this one might finally be in hand. It’s Golden State 118, Oklahoma City 108 with 15.4 seconds to go.

11:34 – This one comes to an end with a final score of Golden State 120, Oklahoma City 111. Give me a moment to catch my breath…

Steph Curry led the Warriors with 31 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals. Klay Thompson was right behind him with 27 points and 5 rebounds. Andrew Bogut came up big with 15 points and 14 boards, and Draymond Green contributed 11 & 13. Kevin Durant scored 40 points and grabbed 7 rebounds for the Thunder. Russell Westbrook sprung for 31 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 steals, while Steven Adams chipped in with 8 points and 10 boards. In a lot of ways, it was a chaotic game, with both teams having their sloppy moments and having their turnover issues. Tonight, the Warriors played just a little better, and the Thunder were just a bit worse. As a result, this series is going back to Oklahoma for Game 6.

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I think we can all agree that we weren’t ready to see this series come to an end. Now we’ve got one more game between these two with even more pressure bearing down on each team. The Thunder, of course, still have the series lead, and they’ll be at home, but they’d be wise to avoid allowing a Game 7 back in Oakland. They could have easily won this game, and battled hard until the very end. Perhaps having their rowdy home fans behind them in Game 6 will provide the difference they need to advance to the Finals (a few less turnovers would help, too). I can’t wait to see how it all goes down on Saturday night.

Author: tomeagher

Watching too much basketball.

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