For the fourth time in the last six seasons the Thunder is headed to the Western Conference Finals, but OKC will face a freight train of an opponent in the Golden State Warriors. Fresh off the best regular season in NBA history (73-9), the Warriors will try to continue their quest to become the best team of all-time by adding its second championship in as many years.
Before the series gets started with Game 1 on Monday night, let’s take a look back to the three games in which the Thunder and Warriors squared off in the regular season:
Saturday, February 6: Warriors beat the Thunder 116-108
Serving as a pre-party for the Super Bowl, which was conveniently played in the Bay area the very next day, the Thunder and Warriors sure didn’t disappoint in the littlest bit in their highly touted matchup. Steph Curry was able to lead the Warriors to a win behind his 26 points and 10 assists, while Harrison Barnes (19), Klay Thompson (18) and Marreese Speights (15) all played huge roles in taking down the Thunder.
The Warriors (114.9 PPG) and the Thunder (110.2 PPG) were the NBA’s top two scoring teams in regular season.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 13, 2016
With Beyonce, Jay Z, Jim Harbaugh and Kate Hudson all in attendance, the Thunder roared to a quick 9-0 lead, but seeing the Warriors are the most lethal shooting team in NBA history, Golden State quickly changed the vibe of the game by not only erasing their early deficit, but by building up a 20 point lead by the second quarter and scoring 73 points in the first half.
The Thunder was stuck clawing its way out of a hole for most of the remainder of the game, but Enes Kanter was a huge factor in the post, and was able to tie it up at 104-104 with 3:30 left in the fourth quarter. But like most historically good teams, the Warriors closed the game on a 12-to-4 run and sent the Thunder back to OKC with a loss.
Durant scored 40 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the loss while Russell Westbrook added 27 points and 12 assists.
Saturday, February 27: Warriors beat the Thunder 121-118 in OT
In one of the more memorable regular season games of all-time, the Warriors were able to pull off an epic comeback in front of a ruckus Chesapeake Energy Arena crowd thanks to the greatness of their two-time MVP.
Despite the Thunder leading by 12 points in the fourth quarter led by Durant making one tough shot after another, the Warriors were able to chip away at the lead and only trailed by four points with 14.5 seconds left. That’s when the madness began.
Klay Thompson quickly banked in an uncontested layup to bring the Warriors within three points, and after the Thunder inbounded the ball to Durant in the corner, OKC’s superstar gave into the pressure and attempted to throw the ball up the court to a streaking Dion Waiters, but the ball was tipped and eventually ended up in the hands of Andre Iguodala. The reigning NBA Finals MVP pulled up for a jumper just inside the three point line, but was able to bait Durant into fouling him with less than a second left on the clock and forced overtime by draining both free throws.
Even though Durant fouled out in the opening minute of overtime, OKC was still able to build up a five point lead in the extra session. But once again, the Warriors wouldn’t go away. With the game tied at 118-118 and the clock ticking down, Curry nonchalantly drained a 37-foot three pointer with .7 seconds left to give the Warriors the win. Not only was Curry’s money ball a devastating blow to the sold out crow in attendance, but the shot also tied a record for most 3-pointers in a game with 12.
Still get goosebumps over this shot by Curry vs the Thunder, so stoked for the serieshttps://t.co/WbcscYzcGz— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) May 12, 2016
The Thunder out-rebounded the Warriors 62-32 in the loss while Durant scored 37 points and grabbed 12 boards, but Curry’s 46 points were simply too much to overcome.
Worth noting: Curry (12-16) and Thompson (2-23) were the only two Golden State players to record a 3-pointer in the game, while Thompson’s first long range shot didn’t come until the fourth quarter.
Thursday, March 3: Warriors beat the Thunder 121-106
With the late Prince gracing the sidelines next to Warriors’ owner Joe Lacob, the Warriors were able to pull away in the fourth quarter in its most dominant win in three chances against the Thunder this season. Curry scored 30 points in his first game back since beating the Thunder only five days before with his memorable 3-pointer.
Just like the other three contests against Golden State, the Thunder was in control of the game, and even held an 80-71 lead midway through the third quarter. But also just like the other games, the Thunder let its late-game woes take over, and the Warriors started the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run and the rest was basically history as the Thunder struggled on the second night of a back-to-back.
Durant led the Thunder with 32 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, but also totaled nine of the Thunder’s 14 turnovers. Westbrook added 22 points while Serge Ibaka totaled 20 points of 8-of-12 shooting, but the Warriors were able to show why they were the best team in the league by scrapping until the end for yet another comeback win.