The final game of the Conference Finals is here at last and for one team, just getting to this point has involved overcoming some serious adversity. For the other, Game 7 will be the ultimate test of how quickly a team can rebound from tremendous disappointment. For The Big Dog, disappointment has been an all-too-regular feeling during the playoffs… but the way forward seems clear and so there are three standout plays for this sudden death Western Conference Final.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Golden State Warriors
The Oklahoma City Thunder must have loved their chances of closing in Game 6 and advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2012. They had won their previous two home games in this series by blowout margins and pushed the Warriors for the majority of Game 5, in Oakland. If that wasn’t enough, they lead by as many as 13 in the second quarter and still held an eight point advantage at the final break… but this is the record-breaking 73-9 Golden State Warriors and when it mattered most, their devastating and at times irresistible back-court of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson took over. On the back of a Playoffs-record 11 three-pointers from Thompson and 31 points from Curry (after the MVP was scoreless in the opening term), the Warriors won the fourth quarter 33-18 and booked a Game 7 appearance in front of their home fans. It was, without question, one of the worst losses in the history of the Thunder franchise and with only one day to mentally process the need to move on and focus on a series that still has one more chapter to come, The Big Dog has serious doubts over just how ready the visitors will be. Just as the San Antonio Spurs had Game 6 of the NBA Finals ripped from their grasp by THAT Ray Allen corner three and struggled mightily in Game 7, the Thunder will have to contend with fresh mental demons, a suddenly supremely confident Golden State and the noise of Oracle Arena. In short, it will be too much. Statistically speaking, the Warriors have won 8 of 9 home games in this playoff run, with five winning margins of at least 11 points. They are an incredible 30-20 against a 10.5 point spread for all home games, this season… but perhaps the most crucial factor of all is in what Oklahoma City defaulted to, when the pressure was on. Needing to find answers to Golden State’s fourth-quarter surge, they reverted to playing isolation “hero ball” through Kevin Durant, who scored just four points on 1 of 7 shooting. He and Russell Westbrook combined for four turnovers in the final three minutes of the game. The Big Dog thinks there is simply too much for the Oklahoma City Thunder to overcome, in such a short space of time. The Golden State Warriors should have the confidence to start strong and lead throughout, ultimately clearing their final hurdle before officially beginning the defence of their NBA title, in the Finals.
Golden State Warriors 11+ (Big Win/Little Win) @ $2.52 (Sportsbet)
Over 113.5 (Golden State Warriors Total Points) @ $1.94 (CrownBet)
Golden State Warriors/Golden State Warriors (HT/FT Double) @ $1.86 (William Hill)