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NBA PLAYOFFS -- Barrage of Warriors 3 force Game 7


PhilBoxing.com




CHICAGO -- Down 96-89 with 5:09 left to play inside a delirious Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, the Golden State Warriors appeared doomed and their historic 73-win season was about to become a mere footnote in the NBA's storied history.

But in the crucible of these Western Conference finals, a series that is shaping up as one for the ages, the defending champions somehow found a way to steal Game 6 on Saturday night, shocking the blundering Thunder, 108-101, and setting the stage for a Game 7 on Monday night at the Oracle Arena.

Trailing by as many as 13 points in the first half, the Warriors overhauled the deficit by shooting lights out from long distance, thanks to Klay Thompson who went 11-for-18 beyond the arc. Thompson finished with a playoffs high 41 points and the Warriors outscored the Thunder 63-9 from 3-point range.

Steph Curry played like the reigning back-to-back MVP, hurting OKC with 31 points including a deep 3 that knotted the count at 99-99 and a spectacular floater that gave Golden State a 106-101 lead with 14.3 seconds to go.

"We got a lot of belief and a lot of heart, and we've given ourselves a chance to win the series," Curry told NBA.com after the breathtaking finish. After trailing this best-of-7 series 3-1, the Warriors now have the golden opportunity to return to the NBA Finals and host a Game 7 at their home floor where they went 40-1 during the regular season.

Draymond Green and veteran Andre Iguodala also played significant roles in the Warriors' come from behind, series-tying victory. Green etched 12, points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists while Iguodala tallied 8 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.

The Warriors didn't shoot particularly well, converting a mere 36 of 88 field goals (40.9 percent) but their 21 of 45 conversion rate from 3-point country was the saving grace.

The Thunder shot better from the field (38 of 90 for 42.2 percent) but they were doomed from long distance, missing 20 of 23 3s, a tepid 13 percent clip. The Thunder were also done it by 15 turnovers, including 4 in the final minute of action.

All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook couldn't carry OKC to a win that could have meant an outright trip to the NBA Finals. Durant flubbed 21 of 31 shots for 29 points while Westbrook also had 29 points but missed 17 of 27 shots.

"We know we've got another game to play. We're excited about that," Durant told reporters as he tried to shrug off the sting of Game 6.

The Warriors are similarly looking forward to Game 7 and the chance to return to the NBA Finals and defend their title against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team Golden State vanquished last season.

Of the 124 Game 7s played in the history of the NBA playoffs, home teams have a 110-24 record. It's a stat that definitely bodes well for the Warriors, who have come back from square after falling behind 3-1. (HDS)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.


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