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Homer D. Sayson
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List of Articles by Homer D. Sayson


 

NBA PLAYOFFS -- Thunder strikes first, seize Game 1 of West Finals

By Homer D. Sayson
PhilBoxing.com
17 May 2016



CHICAGO -- In what is expected to be a long and hard-fought Western Conference Finals series, the Oklahoma City Thunder drew first blood on Monday night and stunned the heavily favored defending champions Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena.

As has been the case in the Thunder's post-seson run this year, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook provided the muscle behind OKC's offensive might. Durant finished with had 26 points and 10 rebounds while Russell Westbrook peppered the box score with 27 points, 12 rebounds, 7 steals and 6 rebounds.

Durant's and Westbrook's massive haul was enough to propel the Thunder to a come-from-behind 108-102 victory and a 1-0 lead in this best-of-7 showdown. Game 2 is Wednesday night at the Oracle Arena, where the Warriors went 40-1 during the regular season and 6-1 in this postseason.

Down 60-47 at the half and 61-47 early in the third quarter the Thunder held the explosive Warriors to 42 second half points, including a mere 14 points in the final 12 minutes.

"We're just a resilient group and keep fightng 'til the end," Durant told ESPN. The 6-foot-11 All-Star and former MVP made only 10 of 30 field goals, but with 30 ticks to go and with the game on the line, Durant calmly crossed over Andre Iguodala before swishing a 17-footer that gave OKC a 105-100 lead.

OKC's bigs were huge in Game 1. Steven Adams, the 7-foot giant from New Zealand, hd 16 points and 12 rebounds while Serge Ibaka carded 11 points and 11 rebounds. With Adams and Ibaka patrolling the shaded lanes, the Thunder out-rebounded the Warriors, 52-44.

Reigning back-to-back MVP Steph Curry had a productive night with 26 points, 10 boards and 7 assists. But he was mired with 7 turnovers and shot just 9-for-22 from the field including 6-for-14 from long distance.

Klay Thompson finished with 25 points and Draymond Green had 23 for Golden State, which shot just 44 percent from the field and 36.7 (11-of-30) from 3-point range. The Warriors took only 17 free throws, 15 less than the Thunder.

Photo: Russell Westbrook's all-around play (27 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 7 steals) hoped the OKC Thunder pocket Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.


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