The first-ever unanimous NBA MVP showed exactly why he was named just that on Monday night in Oracle Arena in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against the Thunder.
Steph Curry scorched the nets for 36 points and knocked down seven three-pointers, leading the way for the reigning, defending NBA champion Warriors. Curry was able to hit some big-time shots and showed why he is the ultimate closer in the game today. The handles this man possesses to get himself in position to square up for a shot are absolutely ridiculous. He was able to create just the slightest bit of separation to hit a three over Kevin Durant.
With 1:18 left in the fourth quarter and the Warriors up 90-86, Curry lured Serge Ibaka to commit a silly foul with the shot clock winding down. Serge got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, foolishly reaching and Curry smartly took that moment to attempt to shoot. Of course Curry was behind the three-point line, so he got three free throws and hit all three shots. A few moments later the MVP delivered the dagger, a three-pointer to end any hope the Thunder had left.
The health of Curry has been a question ever since he injured his knee, but those questions were (finally) put to rest after his performance in a do-or-die Game 7. His seven threes are the most ever in a Game 7.
Klay Thompson cooled off to start the game after his 11-three pointer heroics in Game 6. He missed his first seven shots and didn’t find the bottom of the net until there was 6:02 remaining left in the first half. He finished with 21 points, shooting 6-11 from long range.
Curry set the record for most threes made in a seven-game series knocking down 32 while Klay Thompson finished with 30 triples in the series.
Kevin Durant led the way for the Thunder, scoring 27 points. However, in the first 33:25 of the game, Durant had just 5 shot attempts. That is completely unacceptable for one of the two-best players on planet earth. Draymond Green was doing one hell of a job hounding Durant, making it hard for him to get going, but Durant should be able to get more shot attempts. In such a pivotal Game 7, where he had a chance to redeem himself and his team from a horrendous Game 6 collapse, Durant failed to do that. He is the go-to guy on this team and could only get up five shot attempts in the first half? Granted he did hit four of those five shots, he still should have asserted himself more.
He did turn it up in the fourth quarter, spurting his own 7-0 run, but that should have been his plan of attack all game long.
Durant’s partner in crime, Russell Westbrook, was not all that good in this game. He finished with 19 points and 13 assists, but shot 7-21 from the floor, including 2-6 from beyond the arc. A player of his caliber should score more than 19 points in a Game 7 or find other ways to help the team with his shot not falling.
The Warriors showed exactly why they set the NBA record with 73-wins. Rallying from a 3-1 series deficit after being pummeled in Game 3 and 4 is impressive. The Warriors became just the 10th team to overcome such a deficit.
Golden State yet again shot extremely well from beyond the arc, shooting 17-37. The Thunder shot 7-27, including 13-straight misses at one point. No team can afford to do that against such a potent offense that the Warriors have.
Now, Golden State heads back to the NBA Finals for a rematch against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. This series will be much different than the one we saw a year ago. The Cavaliers are rested and more importantly healthy this go around. This is the matchup most people expected and even wanted to see since the Warriors won the title in six games last year. Thursday night starts what should be another great NBA Finals between the two best teams in basketball. The star power of this rematch will be great to watch play out.
For the Thunder, the biggest question mark of all is whether Durant will be back. He can opt out of his current deal and become a free agent this summer. Durant could obviously play wherever he wants, but it is not a give-in he will leave. He could decide to give this team another shot being that they just went to the Western Conference Finals and were a game away from advancing to the Finals. He could decide his window with the Thunder has closed and look to relocate. It will be very interesting to see what the decision is regarding where Mr. Durant will play next season.
The Warriors showed why they are the best team in basketball while the Thunder blew a golden opportunity in Game 6 that led to the Game 7 loss.
At the end of the day, Steph Curry was too much for the Oklahoma City Thunder.