The Golden State Warriors keep their season alive in spectacular fashion with a 108-101 victory in an uphill battle Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals. For so much of the game, the Warriors found themselves unable to get inside this five-point deficit bubble, as the Thunder seemed to have just enough to answer anything the Warriors were doing. But eventually the dam broke for Klay Thompson and the Warriors got enough stops against the Thunder's top two players to force a Game 7.
Now the Thunder are on the brink of losing this series after leading 3-1. Behind Klay Thompson's 41 points and a playoff record of 11 3-pointers in the game, the Warriors used a monster 33-18 fourth quarter to put all of the pressure on the Thunder heading back to Oakland. Here are the big takeaways from Game 6:
Klay Thompson was a flamethrower
Thompson shattered the previous record of nine made 3-pointers in a playoff game by knocking down 11 3s, and he went 5-of-6 from deep in the fourth quarter. The Warriors rely on the 3-point shot to make your defense uneasy, but they use it perfectly to set up their ability to attack the basket. That's been a problem against the size, versatility and length of the Thunder defense all series because they've shut off the area inside the arc. But the Warriors broke through because Thompson just got into one of those special zones you can't defend him out of once it's created.
It didn't matter if Thompson was squared up to the basket or not, probably thanks to his lucky Yoda socks. There was one shot from the right corner in which Klay's shoulders were pointed toward the Warriors' bench, and he still managed to square up enough by the release of the shot to thread it through the net. He was in that kind of a zone with his shot release and the Thunder didn't know how to stay with him.
Thompson outscored OKC from the 3-point line 33-9. The Warriors as a team outscored the Thunder from beyond the arc 63-9. That is a tough margin to overcome.
It also allowed the defensive attention to go enough toward slowing down Klay that Stephen Curry could finally get loose late in the game and eventually celebrate forcing a Game 7. All season long, it was Curry bailing out this Warriors team when they were in trouble. This time, he got help from his fellow Splash Brother and the Warriors escaped OKC.
Durant struggles throughout the game, Westbrook has horrendous finish
While the defense was mostly great from Kevin Durant, he struggled mightily to come through with his jumper. He finished with 29 points on 10-of-31 shooting. While Klay hit a historic number of 3-pointers, Durant shot just 1-of-8 from deep and couldn't keep control of the ball in key moments in the fourth quarter. He was 1-of-7 from the field in the fourth and turned the ball over two times as he scored just four points. Andre Iguodala smothered him and clamped down. Harrison Barnes gave great help at times. Draymond Green swarmed him. Durant looked nothing like the killer we've seen for much of his career.
Russell Westbrook was brilliant for much of the game. Through the first three quarters, he was putting immense pressure on the Warriors' spotty defense and put up 20 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds, four steals and just one turnover. He was perfect in the way he attacked the Warriors. But the fourth quarter got really bad for him, especially the end of the game. In the final 1:29 of the game, he went from one turnover to five turnovers.
Russell Westbrook has 4 turnovers since 1:29 in the 4th quarter. He had 1 in the game prior to that— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 29, 2016
We've talked so much about OKC's fourth-quarter collapses in the past, but this one was especially bad given the circumstances.
Iggy ignited Warriors' defense
Andre Iguodala was spotty at times in the first half. He struggled with the ball on offense. He wasn't getting good passes to teammates. He mishandled the ball enough to take away a couple of scoring opportunities for himself. He missed a couple of 3-pointers. However, the defense was good and as the game progressed, the defense became as important as anything anybody not named Klay Thompson was doing. Time after time in the fourth quarter, Iguodala harassed Durant whenever he had the ball.
He clamped down on Durant, took away space on shots, used a physical brand of defense to take him out of his natural movements and deflected the ball from passes and dribbles as much as humanly possible. To do this to any NBA player is an accomplishment; to do this to Durant, who might still be the greatest scorer in the world, is basketball heroism. He got help from his teammates throughout the night, but the man who won Finals MVP for the job he did on LeBron James, gave the exact same performance against Durant in this game.
Draymond Green vs. Steven Adams is never going to stop being entertaining
By now, you know all about the kicks and knees to the groin area of Steven Adams that nearly set the internet on fire regarding Draymond Green. But at least for a brief moment, Adams was able to get some revenge on the loud Warriors' forward. He delivered this annihilation of a dunk on Green earlier in the game, and in the process reminded that going small against big men only works if you can keep them away from the hoop.
Of course, after the win for the Warriors, it was Green who was able to talk the loudest. As he and the Warriors returned to their locker room, Draymond could be seen and heard yelling for his teammates to "do what they said we can't do."
Draymond yelling "let's do what they said we can't do" exiting the floor pic.twitter.com/H2M0IvfqTu— Tim Cato (@tim_cato) May 29, 2016
I don't know that people said they can't do it, but that won't stop Draymond from yelling that.