In the Chesapeake Energy Arena, the Golden State Warriors are in for a big surprise. All the struggles, doubts and criticism hurdled towards the Oklahoma City Thunders, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook exploded scoring 33 and 30 points respectively, winning game 3 of the western conference finals 105-133. And leading GSW two games to one.
This is why I love the playoffs. All the wins, accolades and standings are flushed down the drain. Every team is giving an equal footing to win. And here goes Durant and the Thunders trying to etch their way to history. Two games left and a ticket back to the finals. It’s been awhile when teams trying to figure the Warriors out. It is like a riddle on top of a jigsaw puzzle. GSW winning the championship last year reconfigured everything about playing small ball. Gone are the traditional centers and in are the glorified tweeners who can play and guard the 1-5 positions. They have been cruising most of the time, making history after winning 73 wins eclipsing the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ record of 72-10.
And now the Warriors are in a familiar place when they are down 2-1 against Cleveland in the Finals last year. But this time, is a bit different after winning game two convincingly OKC returned the favor. What was troubling is they committed the same mistakes, and lapses in judgement that cost them game one. OKC’s coach Billy Donovan matched GSW’s small ball lineup with Durant as power forward and Serge Ibaka at center. And they beat the warriors up from points to rebounding and fighting for loose balls. OKC came out the much hungrier team.
However, we can never question the heart of a champion, when their back is against the wall and when push comes to shove, the Warriors will find a way to fight back. This could be a good NBA story line for ages. The champion who fought adversities and won, or the former champion who won a record of 73 wins only to falter in the end.
Winning a championship is easier compared to defending it. And the Golden State Warriors is in for a rude awakening. They are now looking for answers in a riddle on top of a jigsaw puzzle.