Heads/Tails: Why The Thunder/Warriors Will Win Game 7

Why The Thunder Will Win

Hugh Ramlow

Rest easy, Thunder fans. Despite the meltdown at the end of Game 6, Oklahoma City is ready to go and has a very good shot at beating the winningest team in NBA history in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. Here’s why.

Ball movement. After the loss to the Warriors on Saturday, Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan acknowledged that they “got a little stagnant down the stretch.” You can bet that Donovan will be emphasizing to his players that when they pass the ball quickly and get it to touch multiple players’ hands each possession, OKC is unstoppable on offense.

Stephen Curry still doesn’t look quite like Stephen Curry. Curry finished Game 6 with over 30 points and nearly a triple double. Not exactly a bad night. But he started out slow and finished the game shooting just 41% from the floor. Whether it is from a lingering injury or Andre Roberson’s stellar defense, Curry hasn’t quite been in MVP form, which is good news for the Thunder. Also, Curry has been playing more minutes than he is used to, which could be aggravating his banged up body and may slow him down in Game 7.

In Game 6, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook shot 1-13 from 3 point range. Durant and Westbrook may not be known as the “Splash Bros,” but they are very good shooters in their own right. Durant and Westbrook will almost certainly shoot much better in Game 7 than their lousy 8% from three in Game 6.8% is an outlier. Golden State’s perimeter defense may be good, but it isn’t that good.

Oklahoma City is in good shape despite the Warriors fighting their way back into the series. The Thunder’s players are not hanging their heads and feeling sorry for themselves, and neither should their fans.

 

Why The Warriors Will Win

Russell Guertin

In what has been an amazing series thus far, we’ve seen the Warriors at their worst. In Game 3 and Game 4 they missed open threes, had endless lapses in defensive coverage, and just seemed apathetic at times. Down 3-1, the Warriors looked out of quack and destined for a quick exit from the Conference Finals.

If this were any other team, NBA columnists could safely begin writing the post-mortem on another great team felled by a ascending challenger.

Now the series is 3-3 and heading back to Oakland. What sets the Warriors apart from other elite teams, and got them back into this series, is their resiliency. That is the only way you can find the mental energy to win 73 games in a grueling regular season. They never (until this series) dropped back-to-back games. They have more fourth quarter comebacks than any other team in basketball.

That resiliency is what will let them take Game 7. When Steph Curry is missing shots, Harrison Barnes or Andre Iguodala will hit a corner three. When Draymond Green misses a layup, Andrew Bogut will be there for the tip-in. When Russell Westbrook springs free from his defender, a wall of Warriors will meet him in the paint. The reason the Warriors will win is that they collectively refuse to fold.

They find a way, even when things are not going smoothly. They will not allow the Thunder to pull away, no matter how well they play. In turn, the Warriors will wear them down on their way to a second consecutive Finals appearance.

While highlight reels and blowouts made the Warriors a phenomenon, resiliency made them a team. That is why the Warriors will win this series.

Game 7 will be televised on TNT and the Watch TNT app starting at 9p.m. EST.

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