Now that Golden State has lost back-to-back games for the first time all season – by a combined 52 points, no less – it’s safe to say that the Warriors are finished. They’re down 3-1 to an Oklahoma City Thunder team that is hitting on all cylinders and has won six of its last seven games – all against the two best teams in basketball.
This series is over. Done. Finished.
Only it’s not.
“I will never count out a team that won 73 games,” RealGM.com NBA writer Jarrod Rudolph said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I would never count out a team that has shooters and can get into rhythm and score as quickly as Golden State. Oklahoma City, they’re doing a great job. They’re playing a great series and you tip your hat to them. But again, you can’t turn a blind eye. It’s 3-1; it’s not 4-0. So they’re still in it.”
After running away with Game 2 by 27 points, the Warriors have been left in the dust in each of their last two games. They trailed by as many as 41 points in Game 3 – their largest deficit of the season – and have allowed 72 first-half points in back-to-back games.
That’s outstanding, Rudolph said, but it’s not new.
“It’s something that we see from Golden State routinely,” Rudolph said. “So to think that they can’t have a big quarter when they’ve had them against this team, I think that’s a bit much. I don’t want to get carried away. I don’t want to take anything away from Oklahoma City, but again, Golden State s a different animal. At any time, this is a team that can run off 20 or 30 straight points. We’ve seen them do it before. Again, I don’t want to get carried away.”
Steph Curry, the first unanimous MVP in NBA history, erupted for 28 points in Game 2, shooting 5-of-8 from three-point range. He is just 5-of-21 from distance over his last two games and in Game 4 went 0-of-5 on uncontested threes.
“That’s not Steph Curry,” Rudolph said. “If he plays a little bit better, the game is different – and that kid can heat up like not many that we’ve seen before. So let’s see what happens before we completely count them out. I’m not comfortable counting them out until it’s all zeroes in the deciding game of a series. They’re just that explosive offensively. At any time, they can go off – and when Steph gets it going, there’s not a damn person that can do anything about it.”
While Rudolph isn’t ready to count out Golden State, he is ready to credit the Thunder for how well they’ve played in this series. When you’re up 3-1 – with a road win and two blowout home wins – it’s not a mirage.
“Oklahoma City is doing this,” Rudolph said. “This is not a fluke. This is not something that is happening by accident. Oklahoma City is beating them, so Golden State has to stand up and see what they’re made of.”
Game 5 is Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.