The Golden State Warriors lost game 3 of the western conference finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday night and now trail the series 2-1. They didn’t just lose, however, they got demolished and run out of the gym. It was the first blowout loss of this proportion all season for the Warriors. They are used to being on the winning side of a beating like this. Instead, it was Golden State that was outmatched and unable to meet the intensity of their opponent.
Winning may have truly gone to the Warriors’ head. They really do expect to waltz in anywhere and get a win, and thus far this series have been playing like it. They seem to have lost their edge and the fight that made them a 24-0 team and the first team in NBA history to reach 73 wins in a season. They’ve looked like a shell of themselves the entire playoffs demonstrated in last night’s stunning defeat. Their play was sloppy, they weren’t moving the ball and were set on jacking up ill-advised threes, even for them. Granted the Warriors had to go about a round and a half without their leader and the league’s MVP, Stephen Curry. But since he’s been back they still look out of rhythm. Even if Curry isn’t playing at 100%, this Warriors team is supposed to be better than the performance they put on last night. It’s hard to believe a team as dominant as Golden State was in the regular season could have a collapse in the playoffs this epic. The entire team and coaching staff must find their magic again or their season will come to a shocking and abrupt end at the hands of a hungry, talented and deep Oklahoma City team.
Of course, last night was just one game, and Golden State has been in this situation before and come out of it victorious, but not like this and not against this a team this capable. This 2-1 deficit feels different and the Warriors have legitimate reasons to be concerned. OKC is focused and are clicking unlike Golden State and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are looking for revenge. This team has a legitimate chance to steal the title from the defending champs and head to the Finals against the expected Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Warriors have yet to lose back-to-back games this year in the regular season and the playoffs and are expected to rebound in game 4. However, they’ve also never gotten blown out the way they did in game 3. When they lose it’s usually by a small margin because teams barely escaped them. Last night, Oklahoma City manhandled the 73 win Warriors. This loss if nothing else should wake up Golden State and bring back their fight. Game 4 will be a true test of their resolve and championship mentality. Losses like tonight where the Warriors got completely outworked outhustled and outplayed, make losses like game 1 really hurt. A loss that should have been a win for Golden State up until the fourth quarter. Instead, OKC takes command of the series and seem to have the defending champs figured out. In order for the Golden State to rewrite the script on this series and continue to rewrite the history books, they must be sharp and the aggressors in game 4. The Thunder are going for blood and will look to take complete control of the series by going up three games to one on Golden State before heading back to Oakland.