In the first game of the series playing in Oklahoma City, the Thunder was able to use its ruckus home crowd to its advantage as it took a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals with an emphatic 133-105 win in Game 3.
Propelled by a franchise postseason record of 45 points in third quarter, the Thunder was able to manhandle the defending champs mostly by limiting the Warriors’ trio of Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, who combined to shoot 36 percent (16-45) from the field.
OKC appeared to be running away with the game in the first quarter after Serge Ibaka drilled a corner 3-pointer to put the Thunder up 28-15, but Andre Iguodala came off the bench for Golden State to provide a spark for the Warriors. Iguodala knocked down a shot from behind the arc before finishing off a fast break with a two-handed dunk to help bring Golden State within six points after one quarter.
It started to appear Golden State could get knocked down but would never stay down after they quickly tied the game at 40-40 with 8:19 left in the second quarter, but the Thunder went on to prove that isn’t the case.
With a lethal combo of Westbrook and Dion Waiters attacking the basket and distributing, OKC quickly ripped off an 8-to-0 run capped off by a crafty layup from Waiters. As the Warriors looked for a response, Green attempted to go up strong for a jumper over Steven Adams, but as he elevated, Green flailed his legs in the air and make contact with Adams’ groin area for the second straight game.
While Adams’ was called for a common foul on the play, the refs decided to call a flagrant foul on Green after a second look. While Adams clearly made contact with Green, there’s some concern about whether Green was intentional with his leg kick, and OKC fans let the Warriors’ forward hear about it throughout the rest of the game with a chorus of “boooooo” every time he touched the ball.
Russell Westbrook on the Draymond kick: "Honestly I think it was intentional. That's two times in the last two games."— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 23, 2016
Despite Adams’ obvious pain, the Thunder was able to use the cheap shot from Green as a spring board for the rest of the first half. Adams knocked down both flagrant free throws, Durant added three free throws before Westbrook added a pair of his own as the Thunder was up 11 points.
Apparently that cushion was all OKC needed to get in its comfort zone, as the Thunder showed what it was made of throughout the final four minutes of the quarter.
Westbrook found Durant running in transition, who caught the ball, used his length to step across the lane and elevate from a dunk over Green which erupted the crowd. Durant wasn’t done, as he blocked Green’s shot, which led to a Waiters layup on the other end. Clearly the scoring was contagious, as Andre Roberson got in on the fun with a strong layup to put the Thunder up 61-47.
OKC was rolling, but the most defining play of the game was yet to come.
Green attempted to go strong to the basket with a layup over Durant, but the Slim Reaper was having none of that, as he blocked Green’s shot before grabbing the ball and taking it the other way for a silky pull up 3-pointer in transition. OKC went on to score the final eight points of the half as the Thunder closed the second quarter on a 32-to-7 run after Golden State tied the game at 40-40.
OKC led by 25 points at half, but wasn’t going to let the foot off the pedal seeing the Warriors are capable of erasing any deficit at the blink of an eye.
Warriors down 26, Warriors down 26, I had to type it twice to believe it. #News9Thunder— Steve McGehee (@SteveMcGehee) May 23, 2016
With Curry finding his rhythm just a bit, the Warriors were able to hang around that deficit halfway through the quarter, but another OKC run put things away for good. Another Durant block led to a fast break layup, and Durant followed suit with a strong finish in transition. A 3-pointer from Westbrook, a layup from Waiters and a money ball by Roberson capped off a 10-to-0 Thunder run.
OKC finished the third with a bang as the Thunder took a 117-109 lead after three quarters, which allowed Durant, Westbrook and Adams to rest on the bench throughout the final frame.
Durant finished with 33 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, while only tallying one turnover after throwing it away eight times in Game 2. Westbrook nearly recorded a triple-double with 30 points, eight rebounds and 12 assists, while Serge Ibaka added 14 points and eight rebounds. Both Roberson and Waiters were huge in the win and finished with 13 points each.
Russ-Dion-KD-Roberson-Ibaka was plus-30.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 23, 2016
In 12 minutes.
Curry led the Warriors with 24 points while Thompson was the only other Golden State player in double-digits with 18 of his own. Green had an off game and only totaled six points on 1-for-9 shooting while adding three assists.
THE DEATH LINEUP WAS MINUS-22 IN SEVEN MINUTES.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 23, 2016
OKC will host Game 4 on Wednesday with tip-off set for 8 p.m.