You always want to be playing your best ball at the most important time of the season. Oklahoma City is doing exactly that, and perhaps playing its best ball in franchise history.
It might take a performance of historic proportion to win this series against the historically-great Golden State Warriors, but OKC is off to a blistering start.
The Thunder stunned the Warriors with a 108-102 win in Oakland on Monday night, handing Golden State just its third home loss all season. The folks at Oracle Arena aren’t used to leaving the building without a smile so the Thunder decided to see what that might look like.
Russell Westbrook played a sensational second half, Steven Adams enforced his will down low, and to be fair, the Warriors some shots they normally make.
So as we gear up for Game 2 on Wednesday, the newest in a long line of “biggest games in Thunder history,” Oklahoma City has a real shot to take a stranglehold on the defending champs.
Here’s what a win would mean and what a loss would mean moving forward:
Instant reaction: Series over. Bring on LeBron.
Reality: The series would certainly feel over. There are many experts who believe that when playing at peak performance, Oklahoma City is the best team in the West. The Thunder certainly appear to be peaking, and if it continues, it’s hard to imagine Golden State winning four out of five against ‘em.
A win on Wednesday would set up a scenario where Oklahoma City could afford to simply split its home games with the Warriors and still take a 3-1 lead into Game 5.
We all saw that Spurs Game 6 blowout coming from a mile away, and if OKC goes up 2-0, that same cloud of doom would begin to hover over the Golden Gate.
How big is that cloud of doom? This big:
Road teams that go up 2-0 are 13-0 in the conference finals, per @WhoWins_com— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 17, 2016
Instant reaction: Who cares? Got what we came for.
Reality: Yeah, kinda that. It’s pretty clear that Oklahoma City is playing with found money in Game 2. A win would be incredible but they’ll be coming back to OKC with home-court advantage even with a loss.
Winning that wild Game 2 in San Antonio is what won Oklahoma City that series. If the Thunder had gone down 0-2 instead of earning that split, who knows if they could have regained enough confidence to advance. The hard part is already out of the way in this one, so it’s time to play a round on the house.
All of the pressure is on the Warriors to win this game, so expect a desperate effort from them. If OKC finds a way to win, start checking out local hotel prices in Cleveland.
Tip time from Oracle is set for 8 p.m. Oklahoma time.