Golden State Warriors (-1.5, 222 o/u) at Oklahoma City Thunder
The Golden State Warriors (9-4 SU, 8-5 ATS) can’t panic, but down 2-1 in the Western Conference finals, they are in a virtual must-win situation in Game 4 tonight, visiting the Oklahoma City Thunder (10-4 SU, 9-5 ATS) at Chesapeake Energy Arena (9:00 PM Eastern).
After getting stomped 133-105 in Game 3, the Warriors may need to adjust their game-plan. Thunder coach Billy Donovan rolled with a small line-up for much of last game, often playing with Serge Ibaka as the only big. Steve Kerr and the Warriors thought they had the lineup to match after cruising to an easy win in Game 2, but early foul trouble for Steph Curry meant that he wasn’t able to hound OKC point guard Russell Westbrook.
Kerr tried to adjust on the fly but to no avail. At one point, the Thunder had a 41-point lead. They finished the game shooting 50-percent from the floor, while Westbrook (30 points, 12 assists) and Kevin Durant (33 points, eight rebounds) both hit the 30-point mark.
Curry (24 points) and Klay Thompson (18 points) both had decent nights for the Warriors, but no one else hit double-digits, and Golden State only had 19 assists as a team. Curry was also an uncharacteristic 3 of 11 from beyond the arc.
Game 3 was marred by controversy when Warriors forward Draymond Green appeared to kick OKC center Steven Adams in the groin on a drive. He was charged with a Flagrant 1, but won’t be suspended, to some people’s surprise.
“I can see how somebody can think it was intentional, but yet nobody can go in my head and say, ‘Draymond was thinking about kicking him, and he kicked him,'” Green told the Associated Press. “If you watch my reaction, I walk back to the three-point line, clap everybody’s hands, turn around and look like, ‘What’s the dude on the floor for?'”
Having Green on the floor is only part of the equation, though. The Warriors need their X-factor to be much better than in Game 3, when he went 1 of 9 from the floor with only six points and four rebounds.
The Thunder played their best game of the season in Game 3, while Golden State played one of its worst. The Warriors still haven’t lost back-to-back games all year and I don’t expect them to start tonight. Look for Curry and co. to bounce back and tie the series.
Pick: Warriors (-1.5).
(Photo Credit: Keith Allison (Flickr: Kevin Durant) CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.)