NBA Western Conference Finals Preview
The Western Conference Finals has come down to the reigning NBA Champions, Golden State Warriors and the under dog Oklahoma City Thunder. You would never think of team that has Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to be an underdog but they have embraced the role and are playing with the most heart in this NBA Playoffs.
Golden State Warriors #1 in the West
The Warriors have had to endure some changes this playoff season. Playing without their leader and the now two time MVP, Stephen Curry. With Curry going down the Warriors have had to play more of a team game than they already were playing. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson have had to step up and be the leaders and put up points. Now that Curry is back in action it is going to be key for them to get him into rhythm early and try to limit his minutes.
The Warriors will have to continue playing the offense they usually play which is working the ball around the offensive zone, getting the defense moving and looking for the open opportunity. They also do great penetrating the middle and drawing fouls.
On defense, it is simple, shut down Westbrook and force Durant to shoot. Although Durant is a great shooter if he is getting pressured he usually struggles with shooting the ball. Westbrook is explosive when he goes to the rim but usually goes so fast he is too strong with the lay-up. Eliminating offensive rebounds by the Thunder will help the Warriors get out the fast breaks.
Oklahoma City Thunder #3 in the West
The Thunder have been playing great basketball as of late, defeating the San Antonio Spurs, and are getting everyone involved in the game. Yes, Durant and Westbrook go off for their usual 20 to 30 points but it’s been the play of Steven Adams on the boards and in the low post, also Dion Waiters knocking down threes and playing lock down defense and others who have contributed. This Thunder team will need to continue that team effort in order to win games. When it comes down to clutch times give it to Durant or Westbrook but getting other players involved and pushing the Warriors back on their heels is how you beat them.
Players like Adams, Waiters, Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter, and Andre Robinson have been remarkable throughout the playoffs. They all are playing at super star levels and stepping up when called upon. The Thunder are going to have to get Adams, Ibaka and Kanter going early in the post. They will be key to beating the Warriors.
On defense, it’s hard to stop Curry because his range is so out of this world but eliminating the other factors such as Green and Thompson is something the Thunder should key on. Getting them to force their shots. Also crashing the rebounds and not letting the Warriors get multiple chances on one possession.
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green
Curry is going to have to limit himself and not push that knee. Getting into a nice rhythm and knowing that the Thunder are going to put a lot of pressure on him is going to open other guys. Thompson is going to need to knock down the open shot when he gets it. Green will need to box out Adams and not let him get the offensive rebound.
Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Steven Adams
Westbrook will need to slow down possessions and take the smartest shot or pass. The Warriors feed off of fast breaks so limiting them by knocking down the right shot or giving up the pass for the right shot will benefit them. Durant will need to be Durant a big man but knock down that three ball whenever he is called upon it for. Adams will need to keep applying pressure and grabbing rebounds and keeping possessions alive.
The Warriors are to strong for the Thunder and will end the series in 6 games.