FINAL: Stephen Curry took a heavily contested airball three and the Thunder wrap it up as victors of Game 1. 108-102 is the final score from Oracle Arena. Game 2 will be Wednesday night at 9 PM Eastern Standard Time on ESPN. Thank you for following along with me here at VAVEL USA!
9.0 seconds 4th Quarter: The Warriors lost just twice in 41 games at Oracle during the regular season. OKC is about to give them their third home loss. The Oracle is basically stupefied and in disbelief that this is how Game 1 of the WCF will go down. —OKC 108, GSW 102
15.4 seconds 4th Quarter: The Thunder have a foul to give and both teams have one timeout remaining. The Warriors do not have to shoot a three this possession necessarily.—OKC 106, GSW 102
15.4 seconds 4th Quarter: The Warriors were forced to foul Russell Westbrook who knocked down 1 of 2 free throws then picked up a violation chasing the miss (he knew it was off). —OKC 106, GSW 102
17.2 seconds 4th Quarter: Andre Iguodala scored a quick two. And then it appeared Russell Westbrook travelled as he tried to stop in a double-team trap at halfcourt. Instead, he was awarded a timeout with 17.2 seconds to go and his team up by three. —OKC 105, GSW 102
30.0 seconds 4th quarter: The Warriors bench has contributed just 14 points in this game. OKC's is good for 21. Few would assert that the Thunder have a better bench group. Credit them for showing up big time in Game 1. —OKC 105, GSW 100
30.0 seconds 4th Quarter: After missing his previous seven shots, Kevin Durant scores on a shot over Andre Iguodala to push the lead to five for the Thunder. —OKC 105, GSW 100
Under a minute, 4th Quarter: Steven Adams blew the lob but recovered the ball and made one power dribble to the basket to draw some contact. Someone like DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond would have made the rim sorry on a play like that, either the first time or on the recovery. Adams did can both free throws, and that is six in a row for him now. He shot just 60 percent from the line during the season. —OKC 103, GSW 100
1:12 4th Quarter: Timeout by the Thunder. Kevin Durant has now missed his last six shots. —OKC 101, GSW 100
1:40 4th Quarter: Harrison Barnes with a nice turnaround jumper over Serge Ibaka coming across the center of the paint. —OKC 101, GSW 100
2:31 4th Quarter: Timeout on the court. The Warriors have 14 turnovers that have led to 20 Thunder points. That and the missed free throws are going to haunt Steve Kerr if the Dubs do in fact fail to come back in this one. —OKC 101, GSW 98
2:50 4th Quarter: I have no idea what Dion Waiters just yelled after he was whistled for his third foul, but he is lucky a) that he did not get a technical, and b) that the call was not ruled a shooting foul. Settle down Dion. —OKC 101, GSW 98
4:06 4th Quarter: The Warriors are just 2 of 13 from the field in the fourth quarter. As that was typed, Steph Curry dropped a three. 3 of 14. This is going to be an interesting finish. —OKC 101, GSW 96
5:41 4th Quarter: OKC has 13 second-chance points while the Warriors have just two. Kanter has been big on the offensive glass with two of the Thunder's nine offensive rebounds. Billy Donovan calls for a Thunder timeout. The Warriors have missed their last nine three-point field goal attempts.—OKC 97, GSW 93
8:05 4th Quarter: The losing team tonight is going to have to find a way to sleep knowing so many points were left at the free throw line. Both teams are shooting about 65 percent. —OKC 93, GSW 89
8:05 4th Quarter: Timeout in action as the Thunder cling to its four-point lead.— OKC 93, GSW 89
9:25 4th Quarter: Dion Waiters corner three puts the Thunder up four points. He has been a nice contributor off the bench for OKC tonight and has 10 points on 4 of 6 shooting. —OKC 93, GSW 89
10:17 4th Quarter: The Thunder have taken their first lead since early in the first quarter. Enes Kanter and Steven Adams are doing a great job in this twin tower lineup. —OKC 90, GSW 88
11:40 4th Quarter: Kevin Durant drills a three from about five feet behind the line to tie the game up. —GSW 88, OKC 88
End of 3rd Quarter: Kevin Durant scores the Thunder's last possession. OKC trailed by as many as 13, but the Thunder are right back in the game now. —GSW 88, OKC 85
Under 30 seconds 3rd Quarter: Steven Adams has hit his last four free throws. It still was not entertaining. —GSW 88, OKC 83
Under 1 Minute 3rd Quarter: Enes Kanter air-balled a three, but Russell Westbrook was right there to clean it up. Westbrook has been inefficient but has been energetic as possible in amassing his 19 points thus far. —GSW 88, OKC 81
1:38 3rd Quarter: The Thunder hack-an-Ezeli. No one likes this strategy. Make 'em pay Festus. He does not. Ezeli hits the second, though, and the Warriors returned the favor by hacking Steven Adams. This is not entertaining. Do people really enjoy watching horrible free throw shooters lay bricks?
1:43 3rd Quarter: Kanter runs the court really well. It is amazing the disparity between his end to end speed and his woeful lateral movements. The only comparable big man is that respect is Nikola Vucevic. Kanter's finish in transition keeps edging the Thunder closer. —GSW 83, OKC 75
2:43 3rd Quarter: Draymond Green is looking really frustrated. Westbrook has scored OKC's last 15 points. —GSW 81, OKC 73
3:30 3rd Quarter: And there goes another Curry three, this one off the glass. That is his fifth three, and the degree of difficulty on the shot was exceptional. —GSW 81, OKC 69
4:00 3rd Quarter: Curry caught Kanter on a switch again. It truly is pitting the best offensive player in the league against the league's worst defender. Amazingly entertaining. Curry held his wrist up in the air to let the moment soak in. —GSW 78, OKC 68
4:26 3rd Quarter: Klay Thompson made a beautiful tear drop layup after driving baseline. He is doing damage from everywhere. Draymond Green had led the ball to him after coming up with a steal. Timeout Thunder. —GSW 75, OKC 68
5:15 3rd Quarter: The Warriors have a small lineup in with Green at the 5-spot, while the Thunder have a huge frontcourt featuring Durant, Ibaka and Enes Kanter. We'll see how this shakes out, big versus small. The Thunder amassed a 14-2 run before the Dubs' recent score and Green now converted on an and-one. It was a difficult bank shot and he flexed towards the Thunder bench. Lucky not to draw a taunting technical foul. —GSW 73, OKC 66
6:37 3rd Quarter: The Thunder are lucky to be within close-range given Russell Westbrook's struggles. His second field goal is a triple, but he is just 2 of 11 from the field. Westbrook finds a way to draw contact in transition and the Warriors' lead is quickly evaporating. That caps a 7-2 Thunder run.—GSW 68, OKC 63
8:56 3rd Quarter: Stephen Curry has 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Triple-double watch. But Andre Roberson's score in transition cuts it to 10 and the Warriors call for timeout. —GSW 66, OKC 56
9:25 3rd Quarter: Curry's third three of the night keeps the Warriors cushioned in this one, and Russell Westbrook is continuing to struggle. He is just 1 of 9 from the field and now picked up a frustration foul. —GSW 64, OKC 52
9:55 3rd Quarter: Steven Adams still gets away with more than he ever gets called for. It is as though moving picks are the norm, so no wonder Harrison Barnes picked up a foul shoving Adams on the screen. Andre Roberson eventually gives the Thunder a three on the trip down the court. —GSW 61, OKC 52
10:43 3rd Quarter: Kevin Durant draws contact on Klay Thompson in transition. Now he has to hit the freebies. He is just 3 of 5 on the night. Indeed, however, Durant does knock down both. —GSW 61, OKC 49
11:24 3rd Quarter: The Thunder began the second half with a Serge Ibaka corner three. It still seems like Ibaka's triple should be a lower option within the offense. Kevin Durant met a double team in the high post and Russell Westbrook chose to hit Ibaka in the corner. —GSW 60, OKC 47
12:00 3rd Quarter: Play is just underway in the third quarter. —GSW 60, OKC 47
HALFTIME: Kevin Durant's mid-range jumper gives him 13 points, but Steph Curry (of course) answered it with a contested buzzer-beating three. Steph's gonna Steph. That is his second three of the half and he has 14 points on the night. The Warriors have made its last five triples. Thompson and Curry combined for 33 of Golden State's 60 points. We will be back with you after the intermission! —GSW 60, OKC 47
25.6 seconds 2nd Quarter: If you're a nanosecond too late on Curry's shot, you may as well have not been there. Bottoms on a Curry three from four feet behind the line. — GSW 57, OKC 45
1:12 2nd Quarter: Klay Thompson is coming to life, for sure: He now has 19 points and has knocked down three triples. The Warriors tend to close quarters strong, but this is mostly the work of the lesser lauded "Splash Brother." There is timeout on the court. —GSW 54, OKC 42
2:20 2nd Quarter: Part of what makes the Warriors so dangerous is how quick they can turn around on a team. Klay Thompson's triple off an inbounded fast break puts the Dubs back up seven. Russell Westbrook is now 1 of 6 from the field. — GSW 49, OKC 42
3:45 2nd Quarter: Steven Adams checks out with six points and seven rebounds. He's replaced by Andre Roberson as the Thunder move to a smaller lineup. The Warriors also went small with Draymond Green at the 5-spot. This quarter may pick up pace as it winds down.
4:30 2nd Quarter: It's a block party! Draymond Green gave the business to Steven Adams and Serge Ibaka made the window rattle on the other end as Klay Thompson tried to lay it in. —GSW 46, OKC 40
4:45 2nd Quarter: Draymond Green just went spin-cycling past Kevin Durant for an uncontested layup. Green has seven points now. On the other end Durant made up for it with a lob pass from Russell Westbrook.— GSW 46, OKC 38
5:59 2nd Quarter: The Thunder have eight turnovers while the Warriors have just three. —GSW 44, OKC 34
6:21 2nd Quarter: The OKC Thunder are just 4 of 9 from the line and Kevin Durant has even missed two (3 of 5). —GSW 44, OKC 34
6:30 2nd Quarter: Steph Curry is one of the few players you have to respect 35 feet away from the basket. Unfortunately for the Thunder, that attention only made it easier for Draymond Green on the baseline. Klay Thompson then followed that up with his first three of the night, and the Warriors have now run up a 7-0 run. —GSW 44, OKC 32
8:26 2nd Quarter: Russell Westbrook just picked up his fifth assist feeding Kevin Durant in transition. The Thunder are in attack mode and Serge Ibaka's wing triple cuts it to a six-point Warrior lead. That's a 7-0 Thunder run and the Dubs will burn another timeout.—GSW 37, OKC 31
9:18 2nd Quarter: Steven Adams energy and intensity is tough to match, his first blocked shot was a nice one. —GSW 37, OKC 26
9:58 2nd Quarter: The Thunder are running its offense through Kevin Durant running the point-forward. Golden State's second unit really cant be underestimated and credit Billy Donovan for leaving Durant on the court. Unfortunately for OKC, it may not make a difference as the Warriors have now extended the lead to double-digits. So darn quickly, at that. OKC calls for timeout to stop the bleeding.—GSW 37, OKC 24
10:45 2nd Quarter: Randy Foye knocked down a corner triple for the Thunder after OKC created another second chance bucket. Shaun Livingston answered on the other end, though. —GSW 31, OKC 24
End of 1st Quarter: The Warriors set a screen for a curling Klay Thompson who misfired on a 17-foot jumper. The Warriors hit 11 of 24 from the field as a team. Harrison Barnes is 3 of 3 for eight points, while Stephen Curry was 3 of 7 for eight points, as well. The Warriors had nine assists with just one turnover. —GSW 27, OKC 21
9.1 seconds 1st Quarter: OKC utilized its foul to give forcing Golden State to inbound the ball. Andre Roberson came on for defensive purposes and Kanter hit the bench. —GSW 27, OKC 21
Under 1 Minute 1st Quarter: OKC only converted 1 of its 4 free throw attempts, which may come back to haunt in what should be a close game. Enes Kanter connected on his second field goal before Festus Ezeli made his first. The backup center position matchup between Kanter and Ezeli is a good one. —GSW 27, OKC 21
1:21 1st Quarter: Festus Ezeli immediately makes his presence known upon checking in, creating a second shot for the Warriors which Draymond Green converted on. —GSW 25, OKC 19
1:52 1st Quarter: The Warriors will use another timeout. —GSW 23, OKC 19
2:40 1st Quarter: Russell Westbrook assists a field goal for Enes Kanter then finds one of his own, but Harrison Barnes knocked down another triple. He is shooting just 25 percent from three in the postseason but seems to have the range tonight. GSW 23, OKC 17
3:25 1st Quarter: It almost felt cruel watching Stephen Curry take Enes Kanter to the basket on a switch. Kanter had no chance at all. The Warriors came back for a Harrison Barnes triple in transition. That quick 5-0 run brings an OKC timeout. Oracle has fully come to life.— GSW 20, OKC 13
4:17 1st Quarter: The Golden State Warriors call timeout. —GSW 15, OKC 13
4:48 1st Quarter: Dion Waiters just checked in and came in firing, connecting on his first jumper. —GSW 15, OKC 13
5:30 1st Quarter: It was ruled a flagrant but Westbrook only connected on 1 of 2 and the Thunder turned it over. —GSW 11, OKC 11
5:37 1st Quarter: Russell Westbrook is clutching his face, on the ground in pain. He is pretty shaken up. It was called a common foul, but will be reviewed for flagrancy. —GSW 11, OKC 10
7:19 1st Quarter: Pause in the action for the mid-quarter timeout. —GSW 9, OKC 8
7:21 1st Quarter: Andrew Bogut came up with a nice block but the Warriors rushed it in transition. Klay Thompson lofted up a quick three and bricked it.— GSW 9, OKC 8
8:48 1st Quarter: Harrison Barnes got his first jumper to fall, and the Warriors need his scoring production. He has to be more than "three and D" in this series. —GSW 9, OKC 8
9:16 1st Quarter: Stephen Curry attempted a wild circus shot, it nearly fell, but he will shoot two instead. —OKC 6, GSW 5
10:07 1st Quarter: Serge Ibaka cleaned up an offensive rebound, the Thunder can potentially devastate on the glass —OKC 4, GSW 3
10:38 1st Quarter: Draymond Green knocked down 1 of 2 at the stripe. —GSW 3, OKC 2
10:38 1st Quarter: Serge Ibaka attempted a triple. That cannot be the shot the Thunder were hoping for.
11:43 1st Quarter: Chaotic first possession for the Thunder, but Steven Adams nearly saved the possession with his hustle. Klay Thompson connected on the other end to give the Warriors a 2-0 edge.
12:00 1st Quarter: Tip-off is just underway in Oakland, CA.
Given that Golden State's roster features no less than three plus-defenders just on the wings, they should be able to keep a fresh body on Durant at all times. Even so, Green realizes it will be a huge challenge and discussed the matter in his playoff diary on ESPN.
However, we know well that some of the things Curry does are simply impossible to defend. He can get his shot off so quickly as to render perfect defense just not quite enough often. The Thunder are also not an overwhelming team on the defensive end, and the Warriors have enough places to create mismatches that OKC could really have problems defensively in this series. Even if Westbrook's explosiveness is mitigated, the Warriors will still have to put the clamps on Durant.
It would be unsurprising to see 2-guard Thabo Sefolosha get a big uptick in minutes as he could be a formidable defender on Curry.
Expect to see swingmen Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes on Westbrook plenty, as the Warriors may seek to interrupt his flow with a bigger and more capable defender. The Thunder may seek to employ a similar strategy on Curry. This will be the series of attempting to slow foor generals.
Moreover, it is not as though the Warriors will leave Curry on an island.
Westbrook led the league in scoring last season, shouldering a large load with Kevin Durant missing large tracts of the season with injury. He also had 18 triple-doubles this season, which is pretty incredible in its own right. Curry will have his hands full. It is not as though Westbrook is an easy defensive assignment. When he plays under control he resembles an indefatigable force.
Curry thrives in an offense perfectly suited for his talents, and the Warriors showed their mortality when he was out in the first four games of the last series against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Warriors still are a dominant team without Curry, but the Blazers were able to sneak a game in the series due to Curry's absence.
Perhaps most have already granted him that title
Some are questioning whether Russell Westbrook may not have received proper respect in MVP voting. It is hard to understand that rationale given how well Stephen Curry performed. Curry hit 402 threes, shattering the heck out of his 286 makes last season. He has led the NBA in three-point makes the last four seasons and is certainly in the conversation as the best shooter in NBA history.
Stephen Curry vs. Russell Westbrook.
Featured Matchup: Point guard.
Given that the Thunder have Enes Kanter on the blocks this could pose problems for the Warriors.
What gets interesting is that starting center Andrew Bogut is injured as well. He has a strained adductor. If Bogut misses the game but Green gives it a go, expect to see Golden State’s 4-man shift to the 5-spot.
Injury Notes/Discussion: Do-it-all forward Draymond Green is nursing an ankle injury that caused him to leave in the third quarter of the Game 6 win over San Antonio. He practiced Friday, but as of Monday morning, he was still listed as “out.” This is clearly an error with Rotoworld reporting that he is likely to play Game 1.
As good as Green is, if he gets beat off the dribble or faked out of a shot, the Warriors do not have a supply of bigs to rotate onto him. It might be that we see Festus Ezeli more in this game to keep Green out of foul trouble. Also, Ezeli turned in a masterful performance last game in coming off the bench to play 13 high-energy minutes (including the entire fourth quarter).
The Warriors have enough depth to weather injuries to any player, even Stephen Curry. Obviously, the Warriors are better with their full contingent of players, but having a backup like Ezeli is a luxury given Bogut’s injury history throughout his NBA career.
The Thunder have no major injuries, and that has to be looked at as the miracle it is. The Thunder faced so many injury problems last year, and it caused OKC to miss the playoffs, falling to the New Orleans Pelicans to miss the postseason on the schedule’s final day. The Thunder really do not have the depth the Warriors do, so it is an added bonus that no one is facing injury on the roster.
The moment was iconic in a season in which he became the first player to sweep the MVP voting. Stephen Curry has more than arrived as a player, he has exploded into a global idol. His humble demeanor has seemingly only ingratiated himself further with fans, and legions of casual NBA fans are becoming Golden State Warriors bandwagoners.
It is hard not to rally behind what has sort of become “America’s team.” The Warriors were rooted on to a record-breaking season, a 73-win capitulation that leaves little doubt Golden State is the best team in the NBA.
Game Notes: Golden State swept the regular season series with the Oklahoma City Thunder 3-0, and one of the wins came in miraculous fashion. The Warriors won 121-118 on Feb. 27, and the go-ahead bucket was a half court three by Stephen Curry in overtime.
But do not tell that to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and crew. The Thunder are fresh off a six-game defeat of the San Antonio Spurs, and it is not as though the Spurs were any sort of pushover. Seldom does a 67-win team receive so little attention as the Spurs did. Curry-mania is the cause.
And the Spurs were 40-1 at home this year. It's maddening to think such an overwhelming achievement was so glossed over, but San Antonio will watch the rest of the playoffs from home. Durant and Westbrook are responsible.
The Thunder simply had more firepower and more athleticism, as the Spurs finally aged into the full version of what people had suspected the team would eventually become. The Spurs looked old and mortal, perhaps for the second year in a row at that. Regular season success seems to accompany head coach Gregg Popovich, but San Antonio has struggled more in the postseason. The Thunder were too good not to be able to capitalize on it.
Hello and welcome to VAVEL's live commentary of Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. The Oklahoma City Thunder are fresh off defeating the San Antonio Spurs and will now take on the winningest team in NBA history. Golden State finished the regular season 73-9, and Oracle Arena is about the toughest place to play in the NBA. Can Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook deliver the necessary firepower to keep pace with the league's fastest team? Or will league MVP Steph Curry and his Golden State teammates harness the energy of its rabid fans and make mince meat of a tough Thunder team? We'll see! Stay tuned with me here at VAVEL for live updates on the action!