It was only a matter of time that the whispers heard early on in the Western Conference Finals about Steph Curry and his health being an issue would turn into an uproar. Especially, if the Thunder went on to dominate the series the way they are now. There definitely may be some relevance to that talk. But, realistically it’s more relevant to say Steph Curry’s struggles continue because the Thunder are simply bigger, better and even just as quick on their feet. The Thunder’s physicality has been too much for Steph, injury or not. The question now is, can Curry get back to the form of the unanimous MVP that he is? Sure, it’s possible. But, he’s going to need some help from his teammates, or the Thunder themselves.
It’s not really that surprising that the Thunder are up 3-1 in this series. They played the Warriors well in all three regular season meetings. They just weren’t able to come up with the W. What’s surprising is how bad the Warriors have looked in defeat. They look stunned. Just as stunned as we are to see them be manhandled like they’ve been. But, it’s just been a perfect storm for the Thunder. No pun intended. The Thunder have gone small quite a bit in the last two games. Their version of small however, still features two players that are nearly 7 feet tall. Kevin Durant is having a great series on both sides of the floor and Serge Ibaka has been great also. The re-emergence of Ibaka has meant wonders to the Thunder’s defensive intensity. Enes Kanter, has done a great job of filling in while Ibaka slumped earlier in the season. But, the Thunder are a MUCH better squad when Ibaka is right. Just ask Steph who has to not only deal with Russell Westbrook’s speed, athleticism, and physicality. But, now Ibaka is on the floor a lot more to help when the Warriors go screen and roll. Steph, isn’t used to a big like Ibaka or even Steven Adams that can hold their own and stay in front of him until help arrives. Adams, even blocked a three-point attempt from Curry in last night’s game. As good a shooter as Steph is, he needs a comfort zone just like any other player. The Thunder have taken that comfort zone away from him, and with it they have probably just taken this series.
Even lesser-known players like Andre Roberson are having success against Curry. But, is that surprising? Roberson, is another guy that’s bigger than Steph, taller than Steph, and has plenty enough quicks to stay in front and cause havoc. The Thunder have trapped him, they’ve challenged each and every shot, and it’s now starting to wear Curry down mentally and physically. Just look at the number of layups he’s missed in the last couple of games. Sure, Curry isn’t 100 percent. But, those missed layups are more mental than physical. Curry isn’t alone. The Thunder have put the hammer on this entire Dubs squad. The only player that really showed up last night, and that was really only for a stretch of a few minutes in the third quarter, was Klay Thompson. If the Warriors are to win this series, Thompson is going to have to continue to perform like that. Draymond Green is of course another huge piece to the puzzle. But, you have to wonder can he get his focus back? If he Curry and Thompson don’t get their focus back, and the Warriors go down in defeat like this, the 73-win season won’t mean very much at all. Which means it will be a very long off-season for Dub Nation.