Maybe Game 5 didn’t go exactly as it was drawn up for the Golden State Warriors, but they managed to win and stay alive in what has been a unique postseason. Facing elimination for the first time since Mark Jackson was head coach, the Warriors played a much better game than they did in the previous two in Oklahoma City. However, they might have won more than just the game. With momentum heading in to Game 6 already, the Warriors have some bulletin board material to add to their plate on Saturday night.

Russell Westbrook has never been known for giving other players credit. Prior to the series, he said Stephen Curry is nothing he hasn’t seen before. Although Westbrook is outperforming the two-time MVP, it’s no secret that Curry isn’t 100 percent. Unlike other teams and players in the league, he hasn’t used that excuse once. Steve Kerr hasn’t either and none of his teammates have been vocal about it. Kevin Durant was asked after Game 5 about Curry’s defense and if it’s underrated. Immediately, Westbrook smirked and laughed it off. Durant struggled to get words out of his mouth to answer the question but ultimately discredited Curry. He mentioned that he doesn’t defend the best point guards on opposing teams and that steals doesn’t necessarily mean defense. While both of those statements aren’t glaringly wrong, it’s not what you should say about the opponent when asked a simple yes or no question. Durant also said that with Westbrook being defended by Curry, he likes Oklahoma City’s chances.

Ironically enough, Westbrook has struggled with the 6’3 Curry on him during this series. Westbrook is scoring, but he hasn’t been efficient by any means. According to ESPN stats, Westbrook is shooting 8 for 25 with Curry as the primary defender on him, that comes out to 32 percent. He also has 7 turnovers due to Curry’s peskiness and ability to play the passing lanes and start the fastbreak. Curry was asked about Durant’s comments.


“I got a great teammate that’s obviously a better defender,” Curry said.

Klay Thompson is an elite NBA defender and one of the best guys on the perimeter in the league. The 6’7 guard uses his length to disrupt point guards and has given many fits from Chris Paul to Tony Parker. He usually draws the toughest player to defend on the opposing team ranging from James Harden to Damian Lillard in the first two rounds and now taking turns on Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in the Western Conference Finals. People who have issues with this probably never noticed that Scottie Pippen was the one guarding the other team’s best player, not Michael Jordan. Curry is obviously not an elite defender, but he’s far from a bad one. That’s just a lazy and old take.

The undersized guard actually stripped the ball from Durant twice in the fourth quarter during pivotal moments for the Thunder. To many, Durant is considered the best offensive player in the league; he rarely loses the ball in crunch time like that. Curry made him look all but that during the critical stages of the game and ultimately sealed the deal for the defending NBA Champions.

The Warriors have continuously been doubted all season long and Saturday will be no different. Only 9 teams have ever come back from being down 1-3 in a series in nearly 300 tries. In over thousands of tries, no time has gone 73-9 in a regular season. In over hundreds of tries, there has never been an unanimous Most Valuable Player in the NBA. Let’s face it: this Warriors team was made to defy all odds. If anyone comes back from this, it’s them.

The Houston Rockets did it last season and the Warriors beat them in five games. Granted, the Rockets were facing the Los Angeles Clippers, but anything is possible. The Thunder have blown over ten fourth quarter leads this season and all the pressure is on them to finish the series in Oklahoma City. They do not want to come back to the Bay Area with the series tied at three. The Warriors might just have enough energy at home to pull out a victory and head into their second straight NBA Finals.

Stephen Curry told TNT after Game 5 that Game 6 will be the toughest one of their lives. He said the team didn’t give themselves a chance to be competitive in OKC, but some strong words from Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant might give the team enough of a chip on their shoulder to make the doubters become believers yet again. The team has yet to be eliminated, and there’s already talk of them being lucky in the postseason last year all over again. They are the last team that wants to hear that all summer. There won’t be a blowout either way on Saturday. However, expect the Warriors to have that extra edge after some fighting words (and giggles) from Durant and Westbrook.



One Response

  1. fb

    RE: bulletin board material. I guess that might be true, but honestly — if you aren’t already motivated to win in the conference finals when you’re down 3-2 and facing elimination, you probably don’t deserve to win. Isn’t the chance to go back to the final and defend your title enough motivation? Who cares what Durant and Westbrook say? If the Ws can win this series after being down 3-1, they can say whatever they want…