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Western Conference Finals Warriors vs. Thunder Preview: GAME SEVEN

The Warriors have battled back from a 3-1 deficit to force a seventh game on the home floor. This one is for all the marbles.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Retro Warriors
Thunder 3
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Golden State Warriors
3-3 (2-1 HOME)
Oklahoma City Thunder
3-3 (1-2 ROAD)
May 30, 2016
Oracle Arena — Oakland, CA
6:00 p.m. PST
Blog Buddy: Welcome to Loud City
Projected Starters
Stephen Curry G Russell Westbrook
Klay Thompson G Andre Roberson
Harrison Barnes F Kevin Durant
Draymond Green F Serge Ibaka
Andrew Bogut C Steven Adams
Key Injuries

Game Seven. The two best words in all of sports. Especially when they involve such a series, two of the best teams in the league going back and forth, body blow to body blow, with history and an NBA Finals berth on the line.

"We know what they're going to run, and they know what they're going to run," Kevin Durant said about tonight's Game Seven, after the Warriors came back from a double-digit deficit to win Game Six and thwart the Thunder from claiming the Western Conference for the first time since 2012.

Win. Or. Go. Home.

Game Sevens are all about execution, shot-making and poise. Such events do not normally feature up-and-down offensive showcases, but either a blowout or a slugfest.

If the Warriors can be buoyed by the home crowd and get out to an early lead, something that during Games 3 and 4 in Oklahoma City the Thunder was able to accomplish en route to dominant victories, that will bode well for the best regular season team of all time.

They have the Thunder on the ropes after winning Games 5 and 6, and as the defending champions playing at home with momentum, they need to knock them out decisively; an early spurt tonight may crush Billy Donovan's squad for good.

For Golden State, it's crucial that they practice what got them here: strong individual and team defense; ball movement, player movement. Oh, and remembering that they have the back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in their grooves helps, too. Thompson had a game for the ages in Game Six, carrying the Warriors to an improbable victory: 41 points, a playoff-record 11 threes, and the three-pointer that put Golden State ahead for good.

Curry also finally seemed to find himself and his confidence as well, showcasing the offensive repertoire and shot-making ability that had eluded him (or perhaps that he was too exhausted to fully utilize) in the prior games in Oklahoma City. Whether it was shooting triples coming off of pin-downs or dribbling off of screens, or attacking the basket to draw fouls and knock down the game-icing floater over Serge Ibaka, Curry excelled on the offensive end, especially in the second half. He needs to be the same attacking, decisive, confidant Curry we've seen in the past two games and throughout the historic MVP season for Golden State to have a great chance at winning this game.

How each team is poised to perform under the pressure of this Game Seven will go a long way into who eventually takes the Western Conference championship. Rebounding will be critical, as will composure with the ball and the individual defense on Oklahoma City's stars, by Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Curry, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala, the third hero of Game Six for his simply phenomenal defense on Durant and Russell Westbrook down the stretch of the fourth quarter.

Some key, relevant statistics to conclude:

Home Teams: 100-24 all time in Game Sevens.

Nine teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a seven-game series. The Warriors can be the tenth.

Teams that have lost a 3-1 series lead and are playing a Game Seven on the road are just 7-7 all-time.

Road teams that have lost a Game Six at home while up 3-2 -- regardless of whether Game Seven is at home or on the road -- are just 12-24 all time.

Number 1 seeds are 28-3 all time in Game Sevens.

Prediction for Game 7

Warriors 114, Thunder 106.

The Warriors will take a double-digit lead early on, but OKC will stay close through the middle quarters thanks to some brilliance by Durant and Westbrook. Down the stretch, as the better team both defensively and offensively, with defenders extremely well-suited to guarding Durant and Westbrook in high-leverage situations -- Andre Iguodala alert! -- along with some critical shots by the MVP Curry, Golden State pulls away late to vanquish the very valiant Thunder and advance to the NBA Finals.

Follow me on Twitter @samsorkin23

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