A historic season hangs in the balance of a do-or-die game 7 as the Golden State Warriors look to win the Western Conference Championship against the Oklahoma City Thunder (9pm ET, Monday).
I’m sure you’ve heard it before. In fact, I’m sure you’ve heard it from me before in an earlier betting picks’ preview, but I’ll say it again. There are no two greater words in sports than “game 7.” Believe it or not but truer words have never been spoken, especially as it relates to this series against the Thunder and Warriors.
Completely living up to the hype, this series started off with a bit of a shocker as the Thunder came into Oracle Arena and took game 1 from the Warriors, a team that to that point had barely been tested in the postseason. But the Thunder had gotten hot and it was coming at the right time.
After the Warriors evened things up with a more Golden State-esque victory, seemingly re-aligning the basketball universe, the Thunder flipped things on its axis yet again. Thanks to dominance which has lasted all series long at the hands of Kevin Durant (pictured) and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder not only won game 3 by 28 points, giving the Warriors their biggest defeat in two years, but they also took game 4 and not by a small margin either (24 points).
So for the first time this season, the Warriors found themselves in trouble, a lot of trouble. Talk started to surround the team about possibly over-working its stars in favor of setting the regular season record for wins. Had they sacrificed a championship in favor of that mark? Down 3-1, with a road game against the Thunder waiting on the horizon for game 6, and having to win game 5 before that, it did seem that the perfect end to the perfect season was not meant to be.
There was a reason Golden State won 73 games in the regular season, including all but one at home, and that showed as the team fought back in game 5 and despite a raucous Chesapeake Energy Arena crowd and seven point deficit heading into the fourth quarter, won two must-wins in a row.
Now the series is tied but the momentum is back in favor of the Warriors as many believe the Thunder, especially after Saturday night’s fourth quarter letdown, won’t be able to win in California. In fact, even the odds support that sentiment as all the major USA sportsbooks have the Warriors as somewhat massive seven point favorites.
Durant and Westbrook the Better Duo, But is it Enough?
After the Thunder’s dominant game 4 victory, Warriors’ guard Klay Thompson said they couldn’t let Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have the kind of game they did? Well, Golden State held true to Thompson’s declaration. They didn’t allow the Thunder’s dynamic duo to have that same kind of game because they allowed them to have a better one. The NBA’s best twosome or at least so it seems, outscored themselves, upping the 62 they had in game 4 with 71 in game 5.
Despite over half of the Thunder’s points coming from their two stars, the Warriors managed to win, even as their own two stars only scored 58, just under half of the team’s 120 total points.
Including game 2, which saw Durant and Westbrook outscore Stephen Curry and Thompson by just two points, game 5 was the first time all series in which the Thunder lost when their duo outscored that of Golden State’s by over 10 points.
So, it seems Thompson was wrong and that the Warriors can win, even when the Thunder play out of their mind offensively. Part of this reason is because as the years have shown, when Durant and Westbrook are attempting over 30 shots a game apiece, there really isn’t much ball to go around. And while Golden State failed to find a way to stop the hot hands, they did take the opportunity to outrebound the Thunder and more importantly, outscore them from the bench.
One of the keys to game 7 is going to be for the Warriors to continue this pattern, but at the same time to keep Curry and Thompson hot the way they were in game 6’s fourth quarter. The pair combined for 72 of Golden State’s 108 points that game and took over when their team needed it most. If the same happens on Monday, there is no reason to believe the Warriors won’t manage to win the series which, having been down 3-1, could be seen as somewhat of an upset.
Our Preview’s Oklahoma City Thunder vs Golden State Warriors Game 7 Picks
This series has been close, about as close as a series could be. Coming into it, the teams looked pretty even on paper and that wasn’t even considering that the Thunder were starting to become insanely hot or that Curry was really still working his way back from injury. Every indication was that this series was going to be one of the best of the postseason and frankly, one of the best in years. It hasn’t disappointed.
From the beginning, when the Thunder stole one on the road, to the game 6 heroics of the league MVP and his backcourt mate, who set a record for most threes made in a single playoff game, nothing about this series has lacked for excitement and intrigue. Given game 7s have a reputation for those very things as well, there is no reason to believe this won’t go down in history as one of the best game 7s of all-time.
That being said, it’s time to pick a winner. Honestly, I could really see this going either way. Both teams, as I’ve mentioned countless times, have the talent up and down the roster to get this done. We have the Warriors, who are fighting to keep the greatest season in NBA history alive and the Thunder, who may need the win to keep Durant from testing the waters of free agency this summer, also looking for some redemption as it comes to facing LeBron James in the NBA Finals.
There is a lot on the line and these two teams have shown their ability to close late in games, to score with incredible proficiency, and just to be better. At the end of the day, better is the only thing that is going to get back to the NBA Finals and at the end of the day, the Warriors at home, are just a little bit better.
- Take Golden State to win but take the Thunder against the seven-point spread. So this preview’s picks’ advice is to bet on OKC +7pts @ best betting odds of -105 with Bovada Sportsbook. It is -110 for that same spread with 5Dimes and BetOnline.
- As for the spread on the total points in this game 7 NBA Finals’ encounter, going over the sportsbooks’ margin of 218pts is the safe bet on this one. Bet on that pick @ -110 odds with any of 5Dimes, BetOnline or Bovada.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.