There were several moments during the fourth quarter of Game Two from the Western Conference Finals when the contest seemed to really drag. The two powerhouses Golden State and Oklahoma City emptied their collective benches and were mostly playing reserves. With about six minutes left, I thought to myself, “Wait, how is this game still going on?” My incredulity arose because it seemed strange to still be playing a game that had concluded nearly 45 minutes prior, thanks to the league’s MVP.
After a scoreless second quarter, Stephen Curry took center stage in the third frame, and unleashed a barrage that effectively ended the game with over 17 minutes of action remaining. Following an Andre Roberson layup that made the score 64-57 in favor of the Warriors, Curry went bonkers. He flew off an Andrew Bogut pindown screen and connected on a 3-pointer with 7:09 left in the third, and what he did over the course of the next two minutes could be described as illuminating.
Curry erupted for an absurd 15 points over the course of 118 seconds a performance that would make 2004 Tracy McGrady proud. What had been a hotly contested game got out of hand quickly as Golden State’s lead swelled from seven to 20 points. Steph didn’t even need to watch the ball go all the way through the hoop during his second made 3-pointer of this scoring bender, choosing instead to mean mug OKC forward Serge Ibaka while the ball was halfway to the rim. The Warriors or Curry, I should say scored better than 2.6 points per possession during the stretch, which is comical. It also rendered the rest of the entire game useless.
Time for bed.
There are a lot of takeaways from Wednesday night’s game: The Warriors, after getting crushed on the glass in defeat during the opening game of this series, used their “death lineup” sparingly. Draymond Green spent only three minutes as the team’s undersized pivot. Coach Steve Kerr kept a center Bogut, Festus Ezeli, Anderson Varejo or Marreese Speights on the floor for nearly the entire game, and the big fellas produced. They combined for 13 of 14 shooting (93 percent), 30 points and 17 rebounds.
Russell Westbrook got to the rim, but Klay Thompson made him work for his paths to the basket, and when he did arrive at the basketball ring, a help defender was omnipresent. Andre Roberson continues to be an offensive albatross for OKC, and it’s embarrassing how little attention the Warriors are paying him when the Thunder have the ball. Oklahoma City scored just .74 points per possession while Roberson was on the court, according to NBA.com, which means we should see more of Dion Waiters and Randy Foye going forward.
Andre Iguodala provided fantastic defense on Kevin Durant, especially in the second half. Iggy also made a handful of high-leverage plays right before halftime, including a no-look, and-one layup for the ages:
That was, dare I say, Jordanesque.
There’s a lot to mull over as the series, which is tied 1-1, swings to Oklahoma City for the next two games. Here’s the upshot, though: it’s fun to talk strategy and match-ups between these two teams, but when Curry starts cooking from deep, nothing else matter.
Steph read the Thunder a bedtime story. It was so quick, I’m guessing it was a fable. The lesson learned: in the game of basketball, the hare frequently beats the tortoise.