Keys To Victory
- Health: The Warriors have been plagued by injuries in each round of the playoffs thus far. Stephen Curry has missed games in each of the their previous series and now center Andrew Bogut is questionable for Game 1 of the Conference Finals with a hamstring injury. The Warriors were able to get wins despite missing key pieces against the Rockets and Trailblazers but no doubt will need a full roster to defeat the Thunder.
- Rebounding: The boards will be a big factor in this series. The Thunder have won every game but one this postseason when they have won the rebound battle. The two games they lost in the series against the Spurs, they lost on the boards. The Warriors did not win the boards in their wins against the Thunder in the regular season but they kept It close. They will need to keep it close in this series as well.
- Limit Westbrook: Kevin Durant has got him in every game against the Warriors this season. He has scored 32, 37 and 40 while shooting 52.9 percent from the field. Westbrook on the other hand has scored well but his percentage has not been so great. Durant is going to Durant but if Klay Thompson's defense can continue to get the best of Westbrook, the Warriors will have the upper hand.
- The Bench: We all know Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will get their points but who else will score for the Thunder? Will Enes Kanter continue to be effective off the bench? Will Dion Waiters step up his play? The verdict is out for the Thunder bench who lost the scoring battle against the Warriors in all three matchups this season. Westbrook and Durant will not be enough to beat the Warriors. They will need a third and consistent scoring option.
- Westbrook's efficiency: Westbrook is going to score but can he be efficient with his scoring? In his three games against the Warriors, he has shot a field goal percentage of 34.7 and shot 17 percent from the three. So from what we know now, the answer to the efficiency question is no. Westbrook has to change that to a yes for his squad to win. Scoring 25 plus points is cool but doing it efficiently is what will help him lead his team to a victory.
- Turnovers: SMART BASKETBALL! The Thunders have to cut down on the turnovers against the Warriors. They have averaged 17 turnovers against the Warriors this season. The Warriors thrive off turnovers and definitely make you pay for them. The lesser the turnovers, the better the opportunity for the Thunder to win.
- Limit Kyle Lowry
- 4th Option
- Contain Three Point Shooting:
- Play Like All-Stars
- Control Kyrie
Now while I would not be surprised if the Thunder won this series due to the fact that they are playing great basketball right now and they have two of the top five players in the world, I do not think it is enough. The Warriors are on a mission this season. I believe they are determined to see a healthy Cleveland team in the NBA Finals this season and will not stop until that happens. Durant will have a great series but I believe Curry will get the best of Westbrook and Thompson will have several big games. The small ball lineup will also cause problems for Adams-Kanter duo that thrived against the Spurs. The Thunder will fight hard but the Warriors will head to the Finals after Game 6.