Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Warriors - Thunder Game Four: This Series Is Over



Turning away from the game highlights...

So OKC won by 20 again tonight, the first time all season that the Warriors have lost back to back games, but honestly... anyone that's seen these past two games has seen enough. Golden State is done. Over. Finished. Dead team walking, with their only good minutes coming when the Thunder are disinterested, or Klay Thompson, the only Warrior with a pulse tonight, is playing out of his mind.

And normally, this really wouldn't depress me all that much. I appreciate the Warriors from an aesthetic point, and have been rooting for them as my second laundry for years now, but I don't live and die with them. I also love seeing Kevin Durant return to his rightful place as one of the very best players in the game, appreciate the unabashed fire and athleticism that Russell Westbrook brings to the court, get sneaky fun out of Stephen Adams' pantomime villain work, and so on, and so on. Dion Waiters has done full career recovery in the last month, and Dion went to my school. Watching Durant and Westbrook move the ball and benefit from actually competent coaching warms the heart; it shows that a 55-win team with self-inflicted wounds can just catch fire, get healthy, and play killing hoop. They worked the Spurs, they are working the Dubs, and if form holds, they'll have their chance with the Cavs soon enough; no one would be able to say they haven't earned the kudos. You have to think this run is going to get Durant to stay in OKC in the off-season, and that's also awesome, if only because it will keep him away from all of the usual NBA suspect towns. (Though some part of me wouldn't mind seeing him in the lEast, just so LeBron James has to try a little more often.)

Rather, it's this... I wait all year for playoff hoop, and it's freaking blowouts, where one of the two teams seems to save up all of their injuries and ineffectiveness for the worst week of the year?

I want to celebrate OKC here, but I can't help but feel that they are getting the Warriors' "D" game, too. Stephen Curry hasn't been playing at his usual speed with the dribble, can't hit for a decent rate from the floor, and is even missing free throws. He looks several steps slow, as if the knee is back to breaking, or the ankles are off, or, well, something. He's been exposed on defense even worse than offense, and if he was just another guy, you'd wonder why the Warriors were starting him over Shaun Livingston. (Who isn't doing much on offense either, but at least has size enough to defend.)

Curry's not even the worst Dub right now. Draymond Green's plus/minus in the past two games is unspeakable, and it's also been earned; bad turnovers, easy misses at the rim, bad misses from three, not getting it done on defense, and on, and on. The brief Warrior runs tonight came when he was off the floor, and with Curry off his game, they desperately need him to make passes, not turnovers.

Can this series become a series? Normally I'd say yes; this is a 73-win team that just needs to win 3 games in a row, two of them on their home court. But from watching the games up to now, where the Thunder won without playing well in Game One, lost Game Two when they didn't care much, and blew the Warriors out whenever they cared to in Games 3 and 4... well, no.

Maybe they spit the bit in Game Five, with a heaping helping of Ref Help to get a slightly longer series... but right now, the Thunder might have the four best players on the floor, and every time the Warriors go with their supposedly optimal small ball lineup, it's a thrashing. Short of a Curry return to form and miracle carry for three games, this is over... and with no more than a few minutes where both teams actually were playing well.

So congrats to the Thunder, with one caveat... if you turn into your regular seasons selves in the Finals, and make yet another playoff series unwatchable, and make me pine for the Pistons-Spurs finals?

Well, if that happens, then I *do* hope Durant leaves.

Because, dammit, I only get so many playoff games a year.

And y'all have been turning them into Drama Free Downers...

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