Westbrook’s huge second half helps Thunder stun Warriors, take 1-0 series lead


Nobody saw that coming. Not when the Warriors had only lost two games at home all season. Not when Russell Westbrook had just 3 points on 2-of-10 shooting at the half. But the Oklahoma City Thunder, powered by Westbrook’s offensive explosion in the second half and some seriously impressive defense, upset the defending champions in Game 1, taking a 1-0 series lead with a 108-102 win.

The first half was business as usual for Golden State — they led by 13 going into the break, and their small lineup gave the Thunder fits. Enes Kanter, who had been so effective in the series against the Spurs, was all but unplayable, and Westbrook’s terrible shooting and questionable decision-making put the Thunder in a hole. It took a while for Stephen Curry to start hitting threes, but by the end of the half, it looked like he was settling into a rhythm.

The second half was a completely different story. Westbrook was dominant at both ends, making up for his awful first half with a 24-point second half. The Thunder cut the Warriors’ lead to three at the end of the third quarter and outscored Golden State by nine points in the final period.

Even still, the Thunder had plenty of chances to lose it. Kevin Durant missed eight straight shots in the fourth quarter, and it was a one-possession game in the final minute when this no-call on Westbrook resulted in a timeout instead of a travel:

Beating the Warriors once and beating them four out of seven times are two different things, but it’s hard not to be impressed by what the Thunder did on Monday, stealing home-court advantage. This is officially a series, and hopefully a long one.