The Golden State Warriors loss in Game 1 of their Western Conference Final series versus Oklahoma City is not surprising considering how poorly the Dubs played.
I give all the credit in the world to the Thunder. They kept grinding it out and waited for their opening, sadly for Dubs fans the Warriors gave OKC numerous openings. Poor shot selection and quick shots while leading by double digits was the death-knell. Carelessness with the ball was clearly the Dubs un-doing and chances to add-on turned into buckets in transition for the Thunder.
Steven Adams was tremendous registering a double-double as the Thunder stayed with what they do well and that is go big. Russell Westbrook shook off a 1-for-10 to score 19 points in the 3rd quarter and finish with 27.
The Warriors clearly had trouble with Westbrook’s dribble attacks. His aggressiveness in the 3rd quarter was a tone-setter. It was something the Warriors could stymie during the regular season, they will have to get back to those defensive principles in Game 2 and beyond. Saying they need to defend Westbrook better is easy, how do you do it ? Not easy. Dubs will need to throw multiple bodies at him and try to guard him with length. Iguodala is the natural choice but he needs to be on Durant. Thompson is probably where the Dubs need to go and hope he can slow him down.
We are already hearing the Warriors talk about how they played the Thunder’s game in Game one. Shaun Livingston, “I think we played their game tonight instead of them playing our game.” Andre Iguodala saw problems with the Warriors pace, “we gotta find our pace at a more consistent level.”
Notice, nary a word about missing so many shots or taking so many rushed shots.
Contrary to what the national media and the Dubs haters will want you to believe, the outcome was only slightly because of things the Thunder did. Let’s be intellectually honest here, the Warriors were pretty bad. The ball didn’t move. Isolation dribble drives were preferred over pick-and-rolls and ball movement. If OKC is going to insist on playing big the Warriors need to make them pay with ball movement and pick-and-rolls causing mis-matches. They did that tonight on occasion but not nearly enough. When Kerr, Walton and company look at the game film it will become clear.
I am not very concerned. Am I in denial ? Maybe. I just don’t see it. As good as KD and Westbrook are I don’t see the liabilities that Kanter and Waiters are defensively being able to get the Thunder over the top. The haters are hoping that THIS is the Warriors team that shows up the rest of the series. I regret to inform them that this is the worst game the Warriors will play in this series.
The Warriors will win this series. The only question is will it last 5 or 6 games.