Dean: Thunder vs Warriors is As Good As it Gets


Monday, May 16th 2016, 6:46 pm
By: Dean Blevins


Well, it doesn't get any better. Your Red-Hot Thunder. Their Historically-Hot Warriors. And Russ already insulting the natives before a single citizen enters Oracle Arena.

Related: Thunder Social Scene

We continue hearing that Russ Westbrook and Kevin Durant –heretofore known as Russ and KD – are unusually confident of winning this series. And the NBA title. Well, they sure had a strictly--bidness attitude in our media session this morning in downtown San Francisco; Russ making national headlines with what many believe was his disrespectful analysis of Steph Curry. By the time we got in our car to hop the Bay San Fran sports radio show hosts were sounding appalled. How dare Russell answer the question about his game day thoughts on Enemy No. 1, with, “He’s a shooter. He’s nothing I haven’t seen.” Certainly not as big a deal as the show hosts were making it. The more I’m around this stuff the more I’m convinced that what the masses often consider insulting trash-talk that will no-doubt influence the outcome of a game or series is nothing more than words that have little or mostly nothing to do with the outcome of a game or series. The message I got loud and clear from our session with Russ and KD was that they don’t have time to chatter. They are as dead serious as I’ve ever seen them. Does it mean they’ll light it up and OKC will stun the NBA world by upsetting the defending champs? No. But Thunder fans should love the undeniable focus and commitment to doing everything within their power to get ‘er done.

*Wow! The Thunder have two of the five best players in the cosmos. The team is red-hot, healthy and hungry. And they are 7.5-point underdogs. Again. Just like playoff games in San Antonio. I’m sure they’d take a 32-point loss followed by two wins!

*No doubt this trip can be measured in whether the Thunder pull off a split. I’m having trouble seeing them make the necessary changes defensively to where they’ll be switching tons more than they did versus the conventional Spurs and pull off a Game 1 surprise. But if OKC can win Game 2, consider the world shocked. And series on.

*By the way, don’t know about you, but I haven’t read, watched, heard or smelled many people giving OKC one iota of a chance in this series. Three independent analytic assessment give GSW a 68 percent, 69 percent and 79 percent chance of winning the series. Most ‘experts’ see it going on five games. One or two see it in six. Only locals seem to give it seven. And I haven’t heard anyone take OKC in seven. I know these cats are exceptional. But OKC is probably playing the best ball in franchise history.

Related: Thunder-Warriors Game 1 Preview

They proved they could bounce back after its 32-point Game 1 loss at Spurs. But stealing Game 1 would send tremors throughout the basketball world where no one gives OKC a shot of advancing.

*Serge Ibaka must come up very big for OKC to pull it off. He’s gonna be matched up with Draymond Green a lot. But he’ll get his share of open looks. He must hit them at a high percentage, or else too much pressure will revert to the Dion Waiters of the world to complement the points from Russ and KD.

*Matt Pinto is expecting KD to have a huge series. Partly because he averaged 37 ppg against them in the regular season.

*I believe OKC will get out of Dodge with a split. And it will start on defense. They must utilize their length, athleticism, size and much-improved intensity to give their offense a chance.

*Finally, can Steph stay healthy for an extended series. I’m not so sure. He says he’s still dealing with pain. And it ain’t gonna get easier chasing around the Thunder the next ten days. Something to keep an eye on. 

*Wow! The Thunder have two of the five best players in the cosmos. The team is red-hot, healthy and hungry. And they are 7.5-point underdogs. Again. Just like playoff games in San Antonio. I’m sure they’d take a 32-point loss followed by two wins!

Here's how special ppl have pegged GSW. The #Thunder have 2 of top 5 players in cosmos, are red-hot & healthy. And 7.5-pt underdogs! @NEWS9

— Dean Blevins (@DeanBlevins) May 16, 2016

*No doubt this trip can be measured in whether the Thunder pull off a split. I’m having trouble seeing them make the necessary changes defensively to where they’ll be switching tons more than they did versus the conventional Spurs and pull off a Game 1 surprise. But if OKC can win Game 2, consider the world shocked. And series on.

The Thunder have not won a Game 1 on the road since moving to Oklahoma City (0-5)

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 16, 2016

*By the way, don’t know about you, but I haven’t read, watched, heard or smelled many people giving OKC one iota of a chance in this series. Three independent analytic assessment give GSW a 68 percent, 69 percent and 79 percent chance of winning the series. Most ‘experts’ see it going on five games. One or two see it in six. Only locals seem to give it seven. And I haven’t heard anyone take OKC in seven. I know these cats are exceptional. But OKC is probably playing the best ball in franchise history.

Related: Thunder-Warriors Game 1 Preview

They proved they could bounce back after its 32-point Game 1 loss at Spurs. But stealing Game 1 would send tremors throughout the basketball world where no one gives OKC a shot of advancing.

*Serge Ibaka must come up very big for OKC to pull it off. He’s gonna be matched up with Draymond Green a lot. But he’ll get his share of open looks. He must hit them at a high percentage, or else too much pressure will revert to the Dion Waiters of the world to complement the points from Russ and KD.

Not with a bang, but with Ibaka. pic.twitter.com/ZjqezZ31wE

— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 13, 2016

*Matt Pinto is expecting KD to have a huge series. Partly because he averaged 37 ppg against them in the regular season.

*I believe OKC will get out of Dodge with a split. And it will start on defense. They must utilize their length, athleticism, size and much-improved intensity to give their offense a chance.

*Finally, can Steph stay healthy for an extended series. I’m not so sure. He says he’s still dealing with pain. And it ain’t gonna get easier chasing around the Thunder the next ten days. Something to keep an eye on. 

","published":"2016-05-16T23:46:57.000Z","updated":"2016-05-16T23:49:32.000Z","summary":"

Dean Blevins is in Oakland as he blogs about the upcoming Western Conference Finals matchup between the Thunder and Warriors. 

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