The Oklahoma City Thunder must be feeling like their best shot at a return to the NBA Finals just slipped through their fingers. They had a chance to close out the series at home, and were leading by nine points in the fourth quarter before they coughed up the ball over and over, until the game went with it. Now, they need to go back to Oracle for what will be one of the loudest Game 7 crowds in NBA history.
It’s a tall order, for sure, but OKC is far from done. None of the praise heaped upon them when they went up 3-1 is any less true, as even in defeat they enjoyed continued effectiveness from Andre Roberson (until he hit foul trouble) and Serge Ibaka. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both had the low-efficiency games they’ve suffered numerous times in these playoffs, but they’ve shown by now they can steal a game even under those conditions.
Let’s talk about why they lost Game 6 for a moment, though. From our perspective, three main narratives emerged when the final buzzer sounded: Klay Thompson’s 11 three-pointers, Steph Curry’s emergence in the second half, and Westbrook’s turnovers. Only one of those is a truly scary proposition for OKC heading into their Memorial Day showdown.
Klay can score in spurts as easily as any other star in this series, but there’s a reason the 11 treys he hit ended up as a record — it’s really hard to do, and Roberson’s foul trouble is a pretty easy dot to connect for the outburst. It forced Billy Donovan to dust off Anthony Morrow, who’s a liability defensively and hasn’t had the same revival as the similarly maligned Dion Waiters in these playoffs. Thompson still hit some crazy shots in the second half, but Roberson made him work incredibly hard and had three blocks, including this devastation: