NBA Playoffs – Day 43

The Warriors complete the comeback.

Advertisements

Tonight, an epic series comes to an end with Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. We’ve all watched and enjoyed the Warriors and Thunder beating the hell out of each other, and sadly, we’ll be saying farewell to one of these teams. Look, you don’t need me to build this up even more for you. If you’re reading this, you’ve either stumbled upon this page accidentally, or you really love basketball. You know what the stakes are for tonight, and there’s nothing left to say or do except let these two teams duke it out for a trip to the Finals.

8:49 pm – We’re getting started a little early for this one, because we have some late breaking news!

As you can see from that tweet, Andre Iguodala will be stepping into the starting lineup for the Warriors, replacing Harrison Barnes. Apparently the Warriors want Iguodala’s defensive presence against Kevin Durant right off the bat.

8:54 – Here’s another pre-game tweet for y’all who might want to know the historical context of tonight’s Game 7…

9:02 – We’re welcomed into The Oracle out in Oakland, California for Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. Marv Albert, Chris Webber and Reggie Miller will be our narrators tonight. After falling behind 3-1, the Warriors can complete their comeback and head to their second straight Finals tonight, while the Thunder will be trying to pull off a rare feat in the NBA by winning a Game 7 on the road. Let’s get to it.

9:04 – The Thunder win the opening tip, and Game 7 is underway!

9:05 – Andre Iguodala bounces an awesome pass to Draymond Green for a layup, and we’ve got our first points of the game with the Warriors ahead, 2-0.

9:06 – Andre Roberson tips in a missed shot from Steven Adams, and we’re tied at two. It’s been a good start to the game for people named Andre.

9:11 – We’ve got our first time out of the night with the score Oklahoma City 11, Golden State 10 with 6:07 left in the first quarter. This one’s off to a fast and frenetic start with both teams playing more chaotically than under control. A Game 7 will do that to you.

9:19 – Another time out with the score Oklahoma City 21, Golden State 15 with 2:33 left in the opening quarter. The Thunder are off to a good start, and it seems the events of Game 6 have not carried over to tonight. Obviously, we’re still quite early in the game, but it was important for OKC to start this game strong, and so far, they’ve done so.

9:26 – We’ve made it to the end of the first quarter with the score Oklahoma City 24, Golden State 19. The Thunder have been the more poised team so far, but both teams are shooting under 40%. That’s not Kevin Durant’s fault though. He’s a perfect 3-3 to start off the game after his unfortunate shooting performance in Game 6.

9:31 – Enes Kanter hits a jumper to start off the second quarter and extend OKC’s lead up to 26-19.

9:34 – A time out is called in between a pair of Russell Westbrook free throws. He missed the first one, and the score’s Oklahoma City 28, Golden State 19 with 9:48 left in the first half.

9:41 – Russell Westbrook lofts up an alley-oop for Andre Roberson, who slams it home! The Warriors take a time out with the score Oklahoma City 35, Golden State 22 with 7:01 to go until halftime. Klay Thompson is really struggling for the Warriors. After his heroics in Game 6, he’s started this one off 0-7 from the field. The Thunder are playing some really great defense, remaining calm and collected, and cleaning up the offensive boards.

9:44 – Klay hits his first shot of the night, a three to cut the Thunder lead down to ten at 35-25. Soon after, we have a time out with 5:41 remaining until halftime.

9:47 – Of course, Klay Thompson hits his second straight three, and the Warriors have their deficit down to 35-28.

9:49 – After Klay’s third straight three, the Thunder need to take a time out with the score Oklahoma City 37, Golden State 33 with 4:07 left in the first half. While the Warriors are starting to warm up, the Thunder continue crashing the offensive boards, but they’ve had some trouble finishing around the rim, and it’s cost them some valuable points with the Warriors on an 11-2 run.

9:55 – After Kevin Durant knocks down a jumper, Draymond Green drags Steven Adams down to the floor, and he pays for it as Adams lands on Green’s dome. Green looks a little woozy for a bit, but he’s back on his feet. Meanwhile, the refs are checking the replay. Can we just let them play on? Green dragged him down, and got punished for it by having Adams land on his head. Sounds fair to me.

9:57 – After the review, the refs call a double fouls on Green and Adams. I guess they felt like they had to call at least something after the long review.

10:03 – Steph Curry ends the first half by zooming down the court and flinging the ball up and in off the glass with his left hand, capping off a 9-3 Warriors run as we head into halftime with the score Oklahoma City 48, Golden State 42.

Russell Westbrook has 14 points and 7 assists to lead the Thunder, but he’s shooting just 5-14. Kevin Durant’s been much more efficient, with 9 points on 4-5 shooting. Klay Thompson shook off his horrible start, and now has 13 points to lead the Warriors. Steph Curry’s right behind him with 12 points and 5 assists. The Thunder are really hustling and rebounding well. It was fair to wonder how they’d respond after their collapse in Game 6, and so far, they’ve remained composed, even when the Warriors put together a couple of nice runs over the course of the first half. Speaking of the Warriors, they fell behind by double-digits a couple of times in the second quarter, but each time, they’ve been able to close the gap and remain within striking distance.

Of course, this game’s going to come down to who keeps their cool in the second half. The Warriors are always going to have spurts where they get hot from the floor, and it’ll be up to the Thunder to keep playing with the same poise they’ve shown in the first half.

10:13 – It’s time for tonight’s episode of Today in NBA Playoff History, brought to you by the good folks over at Basketball-Reference!

Back on May 30, 1987, another splendid Game 7 was played in the Eastern Conference Finals. In it, the Boston Celtics held off the Detroit Pistons for a 117-114 win, and another trip to the Finals. Larry Bird had 37 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists for the Celtics, and Kevin McHale came up with 22 points and 10 boards. Robert Parish contributed 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Dennis Johnson scored 18 and dished out 11 assists as the Celtics needed everyone to come up big to fend off the pesky Pistons. Joe Dumars led Detroit with 35 points and 6 assists, and Isiah Thomas scored 25 and distributed 9 assists, but the Pistons fell just a little short in an epic Game 7 of an epic series. With the rate we’re going, we’ll be in for a similarly close finish tonight.

larry-bird-608-052512.jpg

10:23 – Steven Adams banks a shot off the glass for the first points of the second half, and the Thunder extend their lead to 50-42.

10:26 – Andre Iguodala hits a three, the Warriors third straight, and we’ve got a one possession game on our hands as the Thunder call a time out. The score’s Oklahoma City 54, Golden State 51 with 7:56 left in the third quarter.

10:29 – Marv Albert tells us that the Warriors have set a new NBA record for threes in a seven game series, with Klay Thompson setting the individual record.

10:30 – Speaking of threes, Steph Curry hits one, and we’re tied at 54! Curry’s up to 18 points on 4-5 shooting from downtown.

10:31 – Curry hits another three! The Warriors take a 57-54 lead. Kevin Durant answers with a lefty layup, and the Thunder trail, 57-56.

10:34 – Andre Iguodala gets to the hoop for a layup, and the Thunder take a time out with the score Golden State 59, Oklahoma City 56 with 4:16 left in the third quarter. Turnovers are starting to become an issue for the Thunder, and it’s starting to look a little bit like the end of Game 6 out there. This is a big moment for the Thunder. Can they bounce back?

10:37 – Fun fact: this is the 125th Game 7 in NBA history. The home team is 100-24 all time.

10:38 – Dion Waiters banks in a ridiculous layup, and the Thunder close the gap down to one, trailing 59-58. Everything Waiters does is ridiculous, by the way.

10:39 – Shawn Livingston gets a little floater to bounce in, and the Warriors go up, 61-58.

10:40 – After Kevin Durant misses a wretched three pointer, Livingston takes it and goes all the way in for a dunk, plus he’s fouled! He hits the free throw, and the Warriors lead is up to 64-58.

10:42 – We’ve got a time out with the score still Golden State 64, Oklahoma City 58 with 2:06 remaining in the third quarter. With the big momentum shift, things seem dire for the Thunder, yet they’re only down six. That being said, they need to settle down and play with more control, or this game will slip away from them.

10:45 – During the time out, some words were exchanged between Steph Curry and Russell Westbrook! Nothing too exciting seemed to come from it, but it’s always nice to see a little disdain for one another in a Game 7…

10:49 – We’re here at the end of the third with the score Golden State 71, Oklahoma City 60, after the Warriors outscored the Thunder 29-12 in the quarter. Everything the Thunder were doing right in the first half went out the window, and the Warriors caught fire, a suicidal combination for OKC. Of course, the Thunder have the firepower to erase this deficit and steal this game, but how will they handle the immense amount of pressure that’s weighing down on them?

10:52 – Kevin Durant hits a turnaround along the baseline for the first points of the fourth quarter, but the Thunder trail, 71-62.

10:56 – Serge Ibaka finishes strong in the paint for a basket, plus he’s fouled! The Warriors take a time out as the Thunder are trying to claw back into the game. Our score’s Golden State 73, Oklahoma City 66 with 9:03 left in the ball game.

11:00 – Ibaka misses the free throw, so the Warriors remain ahead, 73-66.

11:04 – Time out with the score Golden State 82, Oklahoma City 75 with 5:26 left in the game. The Thunder cut the Warriors lead down to four at one point, but they haven’t been able to keep the Warriors from scoring. If they can get a couple of stops, they’ll have a shot to retake the lead.

11:12 – We’ve got a time out with the score Golden State 90, Oklahoma City 79 with 2:57 left in the game. The Thunder continue to shoot themselves in the foot with turnovers and missed shots, while the Warriors are doing what they have to do to extend their lead little by little. Obviously, time is becoming a serious factor for the Thunder, and their margin for error has dwindled down to zero.

11:17 – Kevin Durant hits a shot from midrange, and he’s scored the last seven points of the game to personally make the score Golden State 90, Golden State 86 with 1:40 left in the game.

11:19 – In a scramble for a loose ball, Draymond Green and Russell Westbrook hit the floor, with Kevin Durant coming over to try and tie the ball up for a jump ball. Instead, the Warriors are able to call for a time out with the score still Golden State 90, Oklahoma City 86 with 1:22 left in the game. That was a close one for the Warriors.

11:20 – With the shot clock winding down, Steph Curry draws a shooting foul on Serge Ibaka from beyond the arc. It was a smart play by Curry, and an unfortunate one by Ibaka, and it just seems lame that this game might be decided on it.

11:21 – Curry of course hits all three free throws, and the Warriors go up, 93-86.

11:22 – Curry knocks down a three, and that’s going to be the dagger! A time out is called with the score Golden State 96, Oklahoma 86 with 26.8 seconds left in the game. I hope everybody’s looking forward to the impending rematch of last year’s Finals.

11:25 – After Dion Waiters misses a three, Harrison Barnes is called for a foul in the ensuing battle for the ball. It sends Serge Ibaka to the line where he hits both free throws, and the Thunder trail, 96-88.

11:26 – The Warriors inbound the ball to Curry, and the Thunder elect not to foul. Their season comes to an end with the score Golden State 96, Oklahoma City 88.

Steph Curry showed once again why he’s the two time MVP, springing for 36 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists on 7-12 three point shooting. Klay Thompson shook off a lousy start to finish with 21 points and 5 rebounds. Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 27 points and 7 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook ended up with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 13 assists. Andre Roberson grabbed 12 boards, but shot just 2-11 for four points.

6_8EE81AF87427491FA9E060A6BCD2A6B1.jpg

Well, that certainly was a fantastic series. The Thunder damn near pulled it off, but the Warriors dug deep, and proved that they truly are a team for the ages. Despite how easy they sometimes made it look, coming back from a 3-1 deficit is quite a difficult achievement, and the Thunder gave them all they could handle. Both of these teams were worthy competitors and treated us to a memorable series. Unfortunately, one of them has to go home, while the other has one more big battle to fight.

Speaking of that big battle, for the second straight year, the Warriors and the Cavaliers will square off in the Finals. Unlike last year, the Cavs are at full strength, so Golden State will have their limits tested once again. It should be another thrilling series, and it won’t be starting until Thursday, so let’s take the days in between to regroup and recharge for what should be another exciting series.

Author: tomeagher

Watching too much basketball.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s