Oklahoma City Thunder are now just one win away from the NBA Finals series after a 118-94 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
OKC now have a 3-1 lead with three games remaining in the Western Conference finals, and had Steven Adams to thank as the hosts outmuscled and outworked their star-studded opponents.Adams and his Oklahoma City Thunder, behind a blazing performance from point guard Russell Westbrook, thumped the Warriors 118-94 at Chesapeake Arena to take a 3-1 series lead. New Zealand’s sportsman of the moment is now just one win from a first trip to the NBA Finals, and the defending champs must win three straight to avoid elimination on the back of their historic 73-win regular season.The Thunder had exploded via a 42-27 second period into a 72-53 halftime lead. It equalled the record haul set last game and was the first time since the 1987 Lakers that a team had posted back-to-back 72-point halves in the NBA playoffs.
The Warriors closed to within six points on the back of Thompson’s thirdquarter barrage, but the Thunder steadied to lead by a dozen (94-82) at the final break, and cruised to victory from there.Westbrook was magnificent, outplaying MVP Steph Curry (a quiet 19 points on six-of-20 shooting) with his first triple-double of the playoffs. The explosive point guard had 36 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists and four steals, and was unstoppable when he wanted to be.Durant chipped in with 26 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and four steals as the dialled-in Thunder defence forced 21 turnovers and grabbed 16 steals to set up a procession of fast-break opportunities.
Roberson’s career night of 17 points (7/12 FG), 12 rebounds and five steals was an emphatic response to the narrative early in the season that he needed to be benched because the Warriors weren’t guarding him.Serge Ibaka added 17 points and seven boards and Dion Waiters provided the early scoring thrust off the bench to finish with 10 points.Thompson’s 26 points apart, failed to fire once again. Draymond Green, the serial crotch-kicker who was so lucky to avoid suspension for his low-blow on Adams in game three, had a second straight horror game (six points, six turnovers, one-of-seven shooting) and the champs now have all sorts of soul-searching to get through ahead of game five.
“We have to play like the world champions on Thursday, it feels like we’re kind of timid out there.” Thompson said. “It’s a long way from over. That’s what our mindset is.You can’t discredit what they did. They used their length and forced us into about half of those turnovers tonight.”One more thing to be impressed about in terms of the Thunder: they’re beating the Warriors big, and they’re smashing them small. Over the last two games OKC’s lineup of Westbrook, Waiters, Roberson, Durant and Ibaka has outscored the Warriors 91-35.
That’s beating the champs at their own game.