This was a re-write recap.
When writing a recap, you plot out talking points before the game ends, so you can piece together a summary within 20-30 minutes. If not, you're basically stuck doing stream of consciousness (works for English Lit 101, not so much for sports blogging). So I was all ready to write tonight's recap in the fourth quarter, with the Warriors down twelve, and Stephen Curry still resting from a long stretch of play.
I had to scrap that when the Warriors chopped the deficit to three. I knew in that moment the Warriors had won.
I scrapped that one when the Thunder went back up nine with minutes to go. It's only one loss, at the end of a long road trip, at Oklahoma City. Hardly a shameful defeat.
I deleted that one when Bill Donovan's Thunder resorted to the "prevent offense," waiting the clock out to take a horrible, contested, long range shot. A quick 0-of-7 in crunch time, and the Warriors had life, down one with less than a minute left. Then Kevin Durant nailed a game winning three. Up four, 14.5 seconds left: game over.
I couldn't even erase that one when the Warriors calmly scored a quick two, stole an in-bounds pass, drew a foul, and Andre Iguodala calmly sank the two game-tying free throws with less than one second left. For heaven's sake, that was the last eight minutes of action. EIGHT!
The Warriors would go right back to trailing in overtime, as their team-wide shooting slump largely continued, except for Curry and a few clutch Klay Thompson scores. But Curry...oh my goodness. He kept hitting three after three, scoring a whopping 12 points in overtime, and 46 for the game. With seconds left, the Warriors secured a rebound, and then Stephen Curry went all Stephen Curry.
According to ESPN, the Warriors led this game for exactly 29 seconds. And they won. In overtime. At Oklahoma City.
By the way, Stephen Curry tied the all-time single game record for three pointers made (12 - tied with Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall). He also smashed his own single season record for three pointers (288). Still 24 games to go, champ.
The game was a rough slog from the opening tip off, as the Thunder blitzed the Warriors 18-5. The Thunder maintained a healthy lead throughout the night, fueled by an awesome performance on the glass (they out-rebounded the Warriors 62 to 32). The Thunder also got tremendous performances from Kevin Durant (37 and 12) and Serge Ibaka, who added 15 points and 20 rebounds.
Things stayed dramatic all night long. First there was sideline reporter Lisa Salter's news: she heard shouting from the Warriors locker room at halftime. According to Salters, it sounded like Draymond Green yelling about not wanting to shoot, and him being ‘messed up in the head.' Apparently, several teammates or coaches had to try and settle him down. Remember, this is a 52-5 team. They're this passionate in a regular season game in February. This is what a Champion looks like.
Anyway, the Warriors started the third quarter fired up, and looked ready to make a game of it...until Stephen Curry badly rolled his left ankle. Ugh.
Curry slowly walked off the court and straight to the locker room to receive treatment. He would return just minutes later, however, still hobbled but ready to play. He shook off the cobwebs quickly and lit up the Thunder defense like he never left. Still, the interruption was costly. The unexpected break mixed up the rotation, which kept Curry benched the first seven-plus minutes of the fourth quarter. The Thunder quickly built breathing room, and by the time he returned to the game, it was nearly too late.
Stephen Curry, bum ankle and all, was simply spectacular in a way that even Michael Jordan or Larry Bird could never be. It's just a different kind of greatness, and there's no need to rank or compare it. He's simply great. And he's the greatest currently playing.
However, he was matched at every turn by Kevin Durant, who posted an equally impressive performance. Unfortunately, the awful rebounding effort, and to a lesser degree a miserable shooting night, doomed the Warriors. See how bad that looks in hindsight?
ABC's Lisa Salters: A Warrior (Draymond Green) went on "profanity-laced tirade" at halftime, said "I'm not a robot" https://t.co/lCnBzORhHU— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) February 28, 2016
Lisa Salters is reporting that Draymond Green went on a profanity-filled rant at halftime. Daring his own team to "come sit him down". Weird— Up The Thunder (@UpTheThunder) February 28, 2016
- There was something seriously wrong with the rims in Oklahoma City. First of all, Andre Iguodala was the only person on the floor who could make two free throws. Everyone else, Curry and Thompson included, missed. Secondly, no one from Golden State could make a layup -- and they had a lot of them. Curry still drilled three after three because, hey, that's what he's about. But everyone else on the team? 2-of-16.
- Has Andrew Bogut ever won a tip-off this season?
- How about that sick behind the back, step back three pointer that Stephen Curry drilled? Just one of twelve on the night for the greatest shooter of all time...something tells me that Oscar Roberson is overestimating his defensive prowess.
- Head coach Billy Donovan smartly staggered the minutes of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, improving the quality of the Thunder bench.
- Anderson Varejao is getting a bit more court time than he probably deserves, but Steve Kerr is right to get him acclimated early. You have to let guys play together to get a feel for each other, and the coaching staff needs to learn his spots as soon as possible. Still, he's looking like one of those theoretical players, in that they are probably more valuable in theory than in practice.
- The zebras allowed a lot of contact tonight -- usually a good thing when it goes both ways. Especially when Kevin Durant fouls out with four minutes to play in overtime.
- Am I the only one who thinks our new athletic trainer, Chelsea Lane, looks just like Claire Underwood from the Netflix drama House of Cards? The actress who plays Claire, Robin Wright, is not only a skilled professional, but a terrific actress. Who knew? By the way: March 4 is your designated sick day, people.
- I'm deleting last season's Houston Rockets series from my DVR to permanently make room for this game.