Warriors in an unexpected struggle

Sean Callaghan, Sports Reporter

In two quarters of basketball last night, the Golden State Warriors went from up 14 on the Oklahoma City Thunder to their season being under threat. That’s how long it took the Warriors to go from heavy series favorites to, according to Nate Silver’s projection model, a 44 percent chance of advancing from the Western Conference finals. The Warriors were 4-0 against the Thunder in the regular season.

After the game, veteran point guard Shaun Livingston reminded attending media, “It’s not supposed to be easy.” Evidently, a 73-win season does not guarantee a team a doubt-filled playoff, It only guarantees the home-court advantage, which Russell Westbrook and the Thunder quickly took from them in those two quarters.

Perhaps the Warriors are not desperate, but times are certainly urgent. As Steve Kerr put it on Monday evening, “We’d like to win Game 2.” It’s only one game, but it isn’t like being down 1-2 to the plodding Memphis Grizzlies or depleted Cleveland Cavaliers as they were during last season’s playoff run. The Thunder are more dangerous and they just beat the Warriors under sub optimal conditions. Oklahoma City was less rested and won despite Kevin Durant’s and Westbrook’s combined 17-of-51 from the field, and despite Oklahoma City’s shooting 1-of-8 in NBA-defined crunch time.

When the Warriors lose, awful 3-point shooting usually factors into that result. This time, Golden State went an acceptable 11-for-30 from deep, and the final two misses were highly contested desperation shots. Oklahoma City’s length bedeviled the Warriors, and their heavy switching strategy largely worked.

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