Warriors Silence the Thunder in Game 7, Series

Golden State to Face Cleveland in NBA Finals Rematch
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The Golden State Warriors are headed to the NBA Finals for the second-straight year after defeating the Thunder 96-88 in Game 7 on Monday night. Stephen Curry scored a game-high 36 points, including seven three-pointers. Klay Thompson added 21 points and six threes, while Draymond Green contributed 11 points and nine rebounds. With the victory, the Warriors advance to the NBA Finals for the second consecutive year, where they’ll defend their title against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

For the second-straight game, it looked like the Thunder might have their number. And, for the second-straight game, the Warriors exploded from long range in the second half, seizing a game in the balance on their way to a game and series victory. It proved to be the lowest scoring game of the entire series, which further magnified the importance of Golden State’s proficiency from long range. The Warriors outscored Oklahoma City 54-40 in the second half, converting 10 three-pointers to the Thunder’s four.

Golden State needed that second half outburst, thanks to yet another slow start to the contest. The Warriors made only two baskets in the opening four minutes, both by Draymond Green, allowing Oklahoma City to take an early 8-4 lead. Stephen Curry would then sink back-to-back three-pointers to put the Dubs back in front in a sign of things to come, but the Thunder would hold them to just two additional field goals over the ensuing four minutes, over the course of which they took a 22-15 advantage. Festus Ezeli and Green would break the seal with consecutive dunks, but Oklahoma City followed that sequence with a 13-3 run spanning the end of the first and beginning of the second quarters, giving the Thunder their largest lead of the entire night at 35-22 with 7:02 remaining in the first half. Then, just like Game 6, Klay Thompson caught fire before Oklahoma City could put the game out of reach.


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Thompson, who had been 0-for-8 from the field up to that point, finally got his first shot to fall – a three-pointer – at the midway point of the quarter, and once he did, he got in a groove. That trey would ignite an 11-2 Warriors’ run over the ensuing two minutes, nine points of which came by way of Thompson’s three three-pointers. Golden State found themselves down only four points at the end of that sequence, but an 8-0 Oklahoma City run in response rebuilt the Thunder lead to double-digits. Thompson wasn’t through yet, however. He’d sink one more three-pointer to start a 9-3 Golden State burst to close out the half, as the Dubs entered halftime within striking distance, trailing 48-42.

While the three-point shooting helped keep the Warriors in the game in the second quarter, it pushed them over the top in the third. Each of Golden State’s first five made shots of the second half came from behind the three-point line. At the start of that sequence, the Warriors trailed by eight points; at its conclusion, they led by three, midway through the third frame. As it turned out, the third and final three-pointer from Curry within that burst gave Golden State a lead they would never relinquish. On two separate occasions in the next three minutes, Oklahoma City would cut the deficit to a single point, but by the time of their next score, Golden State had done plenty of damage. Shaun Livingston, who had been held scoreless to that point, scored five-straight points for Golden State, including a thunderous fast break dunk that nearly blew the roof off the arena. The Warriors would add seven more points before two Kevin Durant free throws closed out the scoring in the third frame, sending the game and series into the fourth and final quarter with Golden State holding a 71-60 advantage.


With their season on the line, Oklahoma City was not going to go down without a fight. The Thunder opened the fourth quarter on a 9-2 run, capped off by Serge Ibaka’s three-pointer that cut the deficit to 73-69 with 8:30 left to play. Curry, however, was not about to let a chance to defend their title slip out of their grasps. The first-ever unanimous MVP lived up to the name, getting the Warriors back on track with a three-pointer on the ensuing possession before scoring the next four points for Golden State to rebuild their lead to 80-72 with 6:55 left. Durant sank a three-pointer on Oklahoma City’s next possession, which was the same amount they trailed by a minute later after two Ibaka free throws pulled the Thunder within 82-77 with 5:26 left to play. But, just as it had been all night, the three-pointer was there to save Golden State. Thompson and Draymond Green drained back-to-back three-pointers for the next two scores to rebuild their lead to double-digits. Trailing 90-79 with just over three minutes remaining, Durant put his team on his back in a last ditch effort to save their season, but ultimately fell short. He’d score seven-straight points to trim Golden State’s lead to 90-86 with exactly 100 seconds remaining, but it would be Curry with the last laugh. Curry converted all three free throws after being fouled by Ibaka on a shot from behind the arc, and then after both sides missed three-point attempts, Curry iced the game away with a majestic three-pointer with 26.8 seconds remaining, handing the Warriors a 96-86 advantage. As Curry stood at midcourt rejoicing with nearby fans, the ultimate result came into clear view. As the final buzzer sounded, the Warriors celebrated as Western Conference Champions for the second-straight year.


With the victory, Golden State becomes just the 10th team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series. The Warriors now advance to the NBA Finals for the second consecutive year, earning back-to-back Finals trips for the first time since 1947 and 1948. There they will face the Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers in a rematch of last year’s Finals, beginning with Game 1 at Oracle Arena on Thursday.


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