The Western Conference Finals continue, as the Golden State Warriors enter game 4 trailing 1-2 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Before we get to the gossipy part of this encounter, the Warriors are either counting on Stephen Curry having one of those unstoppable nights or his teammates forgetting how terribly they did in game 3. The Thunder? They seem like they’re no longer worrying about stopping the Warriors and winging it from there. They’re playing their own game, and forcing the Warriors to catch up.
Right now, it seems everyone is focused on Draymond Green. He’s not suspended for kicking Steven Adams in the groin, only closer to one if he pulls off more shenanigans in the playoffs. Obviously, Green is busy trying to take the heat off of him, directing it at Russell Westbrook, who won’t stay quiet himself.
Green: There are multiple plays where I did it later in the game when I got fouled and my right leg went up. I always do it. Russell said I did it on purpose, but he’s part of the superstar group that started all this acting in the NBA. Russell Westbrook kicked me at the end of the half. He just didn’t happen to catch me where I caught Steven Adams. 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’. 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?
Westbrook: I’ve never been fined for one flop since I’ve been playing in the NBA. I don’t know about no flopping or nothing. I don’t know how to flop. But it seems like he was the one that was flailing, kicking his legs out and stuff yesterday. It wasn’t me.
Steve Kerr, who defended Green and even said that the flagrant foul called on the floor should have been rescinded, is probably more worried about one of his most important player, who was terrible in game 3 in general, losing his focus.
He needs to refocus a little bit. He’ll admit it. It was not one of his best games — in fact, it was one of his worst. The great thing with Draymond is he always turns it around. He’s one of the great competitors that we have in the league, that we have on our team. When things aren’t looking great, he usually plays his best. Does he have to be careful? I guess. Now, people are watching for him or whatever. He’s just going to play, he’s going to be himself, and we’ll see what happens.
The focus here should be on Green the player, not the UFC fighter. Green has always been a player who enjoyed treading the border between dirty and aggressive, often crossing it, rarely getting punished for it. But it’s his shooting, passing and defense the Warriors need. To say they came out flat and looked overwhelmed by the Thunder’s speed and aggressiveness would be an understatement. The Thunder chose not to stop Curry, but to slow down everyone else, while keeping things at a frantic pace on offense and attacking the rim at will. It made the Warriors raise up the white flag very early.
And now we’re here, at game 4. If the Warriors don’t find a solution to stopping both Kevin Durant and Westbrook, then we might be on our way towards an upset. Each time the Warriors have been doubted, they’ve answered back with a huge game, in the playoffs and in the regular season. To do it again, it’ll take more than Curry going ballistic. It’ll mostly be up to Green, Klay Thompson and the others to make the Thunder worry about them. As great as Curry is, he needs his teammates to match up to OKC.