For the Warriors, the Western Conference Finals were just another stage in their epic-season-in-the-making. The last three games in this series will get a chapter in a book to come and a challenge mode in NBA2K30’s Steph Curry Legacy Edition. Becoming only the third team in NBA playoff history to claw their way out of a 3-1 hole is an incredible accomplishment, and the Warriors did it by being themselves, more or less. In Games 6 and 7, in particular, they never played anything close to peak total basketball, but, led by Andre Iguodala, they played incredible defense when it mattered. And Klay Thompson hit a barrage of shots from deep that no human should take, let alone make.
But more than anything, Oklahoma City lost the last two games of this series. There were a slew of errors: abandoning a winning strategy of pick-and-rolling the Warriors to death; resorting to Durant and Westbrook hero ball; sloppy switching that put Steven Adams or Enes Kanter on Steph Curry or Thompson; not taking care of the basketball; Westbrook falling asleep and/or refusing to close out on defense; Durant taking a million terrible shots in the first half of Game 6; every member of the Thunder bricking bunny after bunny and putback after putback; Andre Roberson refusing to take a wide open three-pointer because he was afraid he’d miss it; Serge Ibaka fouling Curry behind the arc with less than a minute left in Game 7. These mostly unforced errors cost the Thunder a trip to the NBA Finals. They have a lot to be proud of, but they only have themselves to blame for not going further.