Does it matter? Over the last three weeks, the brilliant and flawed Thunder have absolutely wrecked the league’s two best teams, the San Antonio Spurs and the Warriors, having won seven of nine against them.
There are two very clear reasons why, and they are Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Last night, Westbrook was everywhere, finishing with 36 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, and 4 steals. After struggling mightily with the post-Draymond Dubs, Russ has seemingly figured them out over the last two games, setting the tone early and doing whatever the hell he liked on offense, while running around like a maniac on defense. Durant had another off shooting night—though he did finish with 26 points—but was brilliant defensively, using his length and athleticism to switch from Green to Curry and stymie both.
But the real heroes of Game 4 might have been the Thunder’s supporting cast. The Warriors have cast Andre Roberson as Tony Allen 2.0, leaving him open so that Draymond Green can roam like a free safety. That worked in Game 2, but there is such a thing as too open, and for stretches of Game 4 Roberson made the Warriors pay by cutting to the basket every time he got the opportunity, where he would then either lay the ball in or shovel it to one of Oklahoma City’s giants. Dion Waiters is playing something resembling professional basketball for the first time in his career. And Steven Adams, who has been injured so many times over the playoffs that he now resembles a Kiwi Ser Robert Strong, was once again brilliant. He even got to show off his Olympic shot putter genes:
That supporting cast also made Steph Curry’s life hell. Curry disappeared for long stretches of this game and finished an abysmal 6-20, thanks in part to the Thunder’s grunts, who beat the living hell out of him every time he tried to run through a screen. The Thunder’s athleticism clogged up Golden State’s beautiful perpetual motion basketball machine. The Warriors are good enough that they can win three more games—lucky for them they have two more games at home—but there’s no margin for error now.