Going into game five of the Western Conference Finals series with the Oklahoma City Thunder, many fans thought things looked bleak for the Golden State Warriors — and how could you blame them?
Golden State, a front-runner throughout the entirety of the regular National Basketball Association season had simply fallen behind. OKC led the series 3-1, and was coming off of back to back wins; plus, in game five, they had the home court advantage. In fact, OKC’s back-to-back wins marked the first two back-to-back losses that Golden State had all season long.
The fate of a team that had won 73 regular season games was suddenly shaky but then, Golden State pulled out game five — and that was when I knew the series would be over. Not with the anticipated OKC upset, but with a comeback series for the Warriors. It’s all because basketball is a game that’s about momentum.
A wise coach once told me that basketball is a game of runs — in games, tournaments, and series. Teams go on runs. Individuals go on runs. Those runs are key to the success of any sports team or program.
The thing about runs is that eventually, they end and the opponent gets a chance to go on a run, too; it’s just the nature of the game.
During the initial part of the Western Conference Finals, it was blatantly obvious that the Thunder were on a run. As stated earlier, they dealt the Warriors two losses back to back, something that hadn’t been done this season. Their defense jammed up unanimous league MVP Stephen Curry. Curry, who averages 30.1 points per game, was held to just 19 in game four. If OKC could’ve kept up their run for one more contest, obviously, they’d be headed to the NBA finals.
The Thunder made a strong run but it just ended.
And then, all of a sudden, the momentum was back in favor of the Warriors.
I had this debate with a few people. They thought, “Sure, Golden State could pull out a game six, but grab game seven for the come behind win? Unlikely.”
More than possible, in my opinion. They had the run and while it’s hard to beat a team in three consecutive games, Curry was back on his run, too. Not only was the Golden State team hitting their niche, Curry hit his groove again, grabbing 31 points each in games five and six, and 36 in game seven.
It was only so long before he’d go on a run again.