The biggest game of the season to date is here, or at least that’s what it seems like. The Thunder travel to Golden State looking to become the first team to beat the Warriors at home this season.
Although the W’s look like an unstoppable force, the Thunder have been on nearly the same pace the past 30 games – Warriors (26-4) Thunder (25-5).
And, let’s not forget what happened the last time these two squared off (with improbably healthy rosters given the Thunder’s 2015 injury bug): OKC won 127-115 on Jan. 16th last year. Russell Westbrook had a monster triple double with 17 points, 16 assists and 15 rebounds and Kevin Durant dropped 36. Even Dion Waiters scored 21 and Serge Ibaka had a season-best 27 while Golden State got 19 points and 6 turnovers from Stephen Curry and just 5 points and 9 rebounds from Draymond Green.
All week leading up to this game Russell Westbrook has done everything but his best Dennis Green impression. The sneers and side-eyes following any Golden State reference may as well be Russell’s way of saying, “You want to crown ‘em, then go ahead and crown ‘em!”
Make no mistake, the Warriors are better than they were last year. They won 24-straight to begin the season and are still on an historic pace. Curry averages 29.8 on 51.1 percent shooting and shoots 45.8 percent from deep. Klay Thompson adds 21.5 and Draymond Green continues to be a catalyst at small forward, leading the team in assists and logging 10 triple doubles so far.
But it’s not just those stat lines that have prognosticators heavily favoring the Warriors, it’s the fact that Golden State just blew out the Cavs and Spurs in recent weeks. The best team in the East fell by 34 at home. San Antonio went to Golden State and lost by 30.
Now it’s the Thunder’s turn to prove to the NBA that there’s still reason to play the remainder of the season. A road loss to the best team in the league doesn’t change things, but a blowout in Golden State’s favor gives little hope toward anyone trumping the W’s in a seven-game series. If the Thunder can’t hang with the Warriors on Saturday, maybe we really should crown ‘em.