Oklahoma City (0-0) at Golden State (0-0)
When: Monday, May 16th 2016
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Time: 9:05 ET | TV: TNT
The Oklahoma City Thunder are standing in the way of the Golden State Warriors’ bid for their second consecutive Western Conference Title as the two meet in Game 1 on Monday night in Oakland. The Thunder surprised everyone by getting by the heavily-favored San Antonio Spurs in six games in the second round. Oklahoma City lost the first game by 32 points, but won four of the next five including two on the road where the Spurs only lost once all regular season. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant led the way for the Thunder and helped them win the final three games. Westbrook scored 28 points and dished out 12 assists in the clincher while Durant averaged 31 points in the last five games of the series after scoring just 16 in Game 1. The biggest surprise and contributor of the series might have been center Steven Adams who averaged 11 points on 70.3% shooting and 11.8 rebounds against San Antonio. The Thunder lost all three meetings with Golden State this season.
The Warriors spent most of the first two rounds without two-time MVP Stephen Curry, but the star point guard returned in the final two games of the semifinals against a pesky Portland squad and averaged 34.5 points, 9.5 assists and seven rebounds. Curry scored 17 overtime points in the Game 4 victory which set an NBA record and hit big time 3-pointers that clinched both wins. Golden State will have had four days off to help heal Curry’s knee injury and buy some time for center Andrew Bogut (adductor), who left Game 5 against Portland and sat out practices on Friday and Saturday. Golden State will start Festus Ezeli at center if Bogut is unable to go in Game 1, and the team is confident a reserve frontcourt that includes Anderson Varejao and Marreese Speights can pick up the slack. “We’ve got a lot of options, a lot of depth,” Kerr said. “The good thing is, we’ve had to play without a lot of people this year, and we’ve had to adapt to that. We’ll figure it out.”
The Thunder are on a roll right now and Durant and Westbrook have nothing to lose. Golden State is still a little banged-up, but they have the depth to carry them to a Game 1 victory – but not by 7.5 points. Take the Thunder.
Pick: Thunder +7.5