Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors Game 6 Recap – May 28, 2016

Flat-footed from 28 feet away at the top of the key, Golden State Warriors’ guard Klay Thompson barely squared his hips to the basket before flinging a three-pointer at the rim. It sank through the net, and sparked a 19-5 Warriors run to close out Game 6.

After Kevin Durant drove left and hit a tough mid-range jumper to make it 96-89 Thunder with 5:09 to go, it seemed Oklahoma City was in control, but a barrage of buckets on one end went unmatched by the Thunder as it fell 108-101 to the Warriors. This epic Western Conference Finals series stands tied 3-3 as the teams travel back to Oakland for Monday night’s Game 7 (8 p.m. CT, TNT).

For Head Coach Billy Donovan, it felt like the Thunder didn’t put together great offensive possessions. In the fourth quarter, the Thunder turned the ball over six times and shot just 5-for-19. The Warriors turned it over only once and hit 8-of-13 fourth quarter three-pointers. Thompson finished with 41 points and an NBA playoff record 11 three-pointers. The Thunder outscored Golden State 52-28 in the paint, but the Warriors made 21-of-44 three-pointers while the Thunder hit just 3-of-23 attempts from behind the arc.

“There are some things on that stat sheet that are really difficult to overcome and we kind of were hanging around there and giving ourselves a chance,” Donovan said.

“In the fourth quarter, the performance by Klay Thompson and how well he shot the ball, then I felt like we didn’t do a great job coming down the stretch,” Donovan said. “We got a little stagnant coming down the stretch. Defensively, we were a little bit late, but they made some tough shots and made some plays.”

After committing just three turnovers in the first half, the Thunder didn’t hang onto the ball as well as it would have liked in the second half, resulting in 12 turnovers that led to 19 Golden State points. Whether it was spacing, decisions or a bad bounce of the ball, the Thunder didn’t quite get into an offensive flow and it led to 40 percent shooting and allowed the Warriors to play without having to pull the ball out of the net.

“They got some hands on some balls,” said point guard Russell Westbrook, who came up one rebound shy of a triple-double with 28 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. “They trapped and made us make some decisions, but for the most part I thought we tried to make the right plays and make the right decisions.”

“On some of the switching we needed to have better awareness rolling back,” Donovan added. “Some guys when they did switch had some opportunities to kind of go, but we didn’t. In the half court I just didn’t feel like we ran our offense with the pace and the tempo that we needed to run it.”

It was a gutty effort, backed by an absolutely raucous crowd in Chesapeake Energy Arena, for the Thunder to even be in position to win the game down the stretch. When Andre Roberson scored on a put back to put the Thunder up 101-99 with 2:22 to go, the building nearly erupted. After that, however, the Thunder turned the ball over five times and Kevin Durant missed a three-pointer, part of an uncharacteristic 10-for-31 shooting night as he finished with 29 points. This late in the series, both teams are dialed in on opponents’ scouting reports and not much is a surprise. Sometimes, this really is a make-or-miss league.

“We know exactly what they do. They know exactly what we do,” Durant said. “It’s just a matter of who wants it more. Both teams went out there and played extremely hard. They made more shots than we did, especially from the three. That’s the name of the game tonight.”

The Thunder led a record setting 73-win team 3-1 in this series and despite not being able to capitalize on these past two closeout opportunities, Donovan’s club is confident that it can go into Oakland and do what it did in Game 1 – come away victorious. With all the Thunder has been through this season on and off the floor and all the injuries and adversity it has faced in seasons past, the team has developed a steely resolve, and all of that courage will be necessary on Monday.

“We have another game to play. We’re excited about that,” Durant said. “We get another opportunity and we can’t hang our heads.”

“Win or go home. Simple as that,” Westbrook stated.

Game 6 Thunder Highlights:

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By the Numbers

15-for-43 – Shooting numbers for the Warriors inside the two-point line, including 1-for-8 outside the paint

20-for-58 – Shooting numbers combined for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who scored 57 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, made 14 assists, six steals and three blocks

52-28 – The Thunder’s edge in points in the paint, while the Warriors made 18 more three-pointers than the Thunder did- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Last Word

“The opportunity to go back and play again is what I’m excited about. This group, just being around them, has been a pretty resilient, tough-minded group in terms of being able to bounce back quickly and go out and play.” – Head Coach Billy Donovan