Golden State Warriors (82-12) at Oklahoma City Thunder (64-31)
NBA Basketball: Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 8:00 pm (Chesapeake Energy Arena)
After trading victories in Oakland, the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder will shift venues for Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
Golden State’s starting lineup (2016 playoff stats) – Stephen Curry (24.8 ppg, 6.5 apg), Klay Thompson (27.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg), Harrison Barnes (9.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg), Draymond Green (17.7 ppg, 10.4 rpg), Andrew Bogut (5.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
Oklahoma City’s starting lineup (2016 playoff stats) – Russell Westbrook (25.5 ppg, 10.8 apg), Andre Roberson (3.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg), Kevin Durant (27.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Serge Ibaka (11.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg), Steven Adams (10.2 ppg, 9.9 rpg)
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The Warriors will be breathing a sigh of relief after blowing past the the Thunder by 118-91 in Game 2 to level the series. Stephen Curry led the way with 17 points in the third quarter to finish with a team-high 28 points on nine of 15 shooting, Andre Igoudala provided the spark off the bench with 14 points while Klay Thompson added 15 points as the Warriors broke away from the Thunder early in the second half to regain momentum in this series and remain undefeated when playing after a loss this season. Andrew Bogut was a chance to miss Game 2 but did play 16 minutes while Festus Ezeli and Marreese Speights chipped in with 12 and 13 points respectively off the bench.
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As for the Thunder, Kevin Durant had a solid game of 29 points on 11 of 18 shooting but he had little support from his teammates as no one finished in double figures outside of Russell Westbrook’s 16 points and 12 assists. Steven Adams scored just nine points after scoring 16 points in Game 1, while Serge Ibaka connected on just one of six from the field to finish with three points for the game. The Thunder have been one of the best rebounding teams all season but they were outrebounded by the Warriors by 45-36 in Game 2 and they kept shooting themselves in the foot with unforced turnovers which allowed the Warriors to get loose and pull away from a tight contest in the third quarter, so those will be the two key points of emphasis for the Thunder.
Golden State wins if – Curry and Thompson continue their stellar play and key players can fend off the injury bug. Draymond Green’s value to the team is no secret, so after a couple of tweaks to his ankle so far, five days off before the series begins could prove to be crucial.
Oklahoma City wins if – Westbrook and Durant play at an MVP-caliber level, Steven Adams and Enes Kanter win the battle down low, and they’re able to close out games like they did against San Antonio. The Thunder are on a roll, and they’re as hungry as ever after knocking off the 67-win Spurs. But they’re facing an entirely different animal in Golden State.
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