Oklahoma vs Golden State NBA Preview
So far in the NBA playoffs, the series have basically gone according to expectations, with the exception of Portland knocking out the Clippers. However, once the Clippers lost Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to injury, they were no longer even close to being the same team, so it makes sense that the Trail Blazers were able to prevail. Find the updated NBA betting lines here.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Golden State Warriors NBA Preview
Then came the Spurs and the Thunder. The prevailing wisdom was that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook could put on a neat offensive show, but that the Thunder couldn’t hang with the Spurs for a series. The teams had beaten each other in their home games this year, and since San Antonio had four of them in the series, and since the Thunder have had a way of forgetting to play defense at crucial times this season, most people were just sitting back and waiting for the conference finals between the Spurs and the Warriors.
Of course, that didn’t work so well. The Thunder won Games 2 and 5 in San Antonio — and Games 4 and 6 at home. All of a sudden, the Spurs look like they’re ready for the retirement home and a rebuild, and the Thunder are full of confidence. They were up 59-35 at the half, not long after Russell Westbrook nailed a three and delivered this staredown.
So the Thunder get the Warriors next. The Warriors won all three games against the Thunder, but they were all close shaves. On February 27, the Thunder jumped out to a big first-quarter lead, only to see the Warriors take a big second-quarter lead, only to see the Thunder take a fourth-quarter lead, only to see things head to overtime, when Curry nailed a buzzer beater from 37 feet away to take the game.
Golden State and Oklahoma City have never met in the postseason. The franchises have met two other times, but the most recent was in 1992, when the Thunder were still the Seattle SuperSonics. So who will win this series?
Why should you pick Golden State to win?
If Stephen Curry is healthy, he can score on any team in the league. He is the league’s first unanimous MVP (despite LeBron whining about what the word “valuable” means), and he led the NBA in scoring this year. He did have some ankle and knee issues in the first two rounds that kept him off the court for multiple games, and he will need to be healthy for all of the games in this series. On defense, the Warriors need to keep getting maximum effort from Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.
Why should you pick Oklahoma City to win?
No team gave up more fourth quarter leads this past season (15). No playoff team did more poorly in games that had a margin of less than five points with under five minutes to go in regulation after the All-Star break (3-12). However, this team has suddenly found composure and confidence, going 4-2 in those types of games in this postseason, including 3-1 against the Spurs. Durant and Westbrook are scoring with rapidity and flair.
Expert Pick and Final Series Prediction
These are not the same Thunder that folded so many times during the regular season. They had one hiccup against the Mavericks in the first round, when Durant was awful from the floor, but one hiccup in two series is definitely to be expected. However, these are the Warriors, who are younger and faster than the Spurs. I’m predicting Golden State in seven.