Stephen Curry comes at you fast.
Curry – who was playing with a knot on his elbow after diving into the crowd for a loose ball – went on a 15-2 run in 1:58 of the third quarter, propelling the Warriors to a 118-91 Game 2 win in the Western Conference finals Wednesday. The series is now tied 1-1 with Game 3 Sunday in Oklahoma City.
The only possible gripe about Curry’s outburst was that he was moving so quickly on a fastbreak, he skidded past the 3-point arc when pulling up for a long jumper. Still hit the shot, though.
And now the Warriors have to feel much better about their shot of returning to the Finals. No, they’re not out of the woods against a strong Oklahoma City team. Not even close. Remember, the Thunder beat the Spurs after losing Game 1 by 32.
But the Warriors looked like themselves tonight. Curry scored 28 points, and Golden State made 13-of-28 3-pointers (46%). Heck, the Warriors even took a page from Oklahoma, outrebounding the Thunder, who’ve dominated the glass.
Golden State couldn’t successfully expose Enes Kanter in Game 1, and Steven Adams‘ defense looks here to stay – even against this elite challenge. But the Warriors lit up Serge Ibaka, taking advantage of his slow-footedness on the perimeter and half-step-too-slow rotations inside.
Russell Westbrook (16 points on 14 shots, 12 assists) wasn’t as aggressive as usual, and though Kevin Durant scored 29 points on 18 shots, Golden State pestered him into eight turnovers.
That’s far too ordinary by the standards of those superstars – especially against a team that’s anything but ordinary.
The Warriors have now gone 98 games without losing two straight. They’re 14-0 after losses in that span. They haven’t lost consecutive home games since January 2014.
It wasn’t a forgone conclusion Golden State would bounce back from a Game 1 loss tonight, but this team is not easily tamed. Even if you think you have them bottled up, they’ll demoralize you — quickly.
By the time Curry’s third-quarter run ended, the Thunder were effectively out of this game. Now, the pressure turns to them to prove they have the resolve to fight back themselves.