We take stock of what is at stake as the Warriors and Thunder compete in a do-or-die Game 7 meeting. 

By Jeremy Woo
May 30, 2016

A lot of things have happened in the past couple of weeks, as the Warriors have played basketball against the Thunder six times. Each team, of course, has won three of those meetings. All of these threads came to a red-hot boil during Game 6.

It was kind of cathartic as what we hoped would be an all-time memorable series took one giant leap toward tell-your-children territory. We’ve had quite the ride with this one, narratives pivoting almost daily. The hype has officially peaked.

So whether you’ve watched every minute, monitored from afar or still need to figure out which guy Klay Thompson is, here are some questions you’ve probably asked or heard over the course of the series. Just in time for Game 7, we have the answers.

• Open Floor Podcast: Previewing Game 7 of Warriors-Thunder showdown

What was wrong with the Warriors? 

This depends who you ask, but we’ve found it was nothing too serious. A frustrating second half of Game 1 and a lot of missed jumpers led to a rare home loss for the Warriors and begat a blowout win followed by two losses in a very loud Oklahoma City to place Golden State in a 3–1 hole. Game 5 was a gritty bounce back and Game 6 was largely a return to top form.

• MORE NBA: Thompson saves Warriors | GSW show poise in Game 6

At this point, I’m willing to chalk a lot of this up to just how good the Thunder were on both ends of the ball early in the series. This appears to be the best supporting cast Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have ever had, and Billy Donovan tinkered his way through the series rather successfully. The fact that the Thunder frequently deploy three seven-footers who are all versatile enough to snuff out pieces of Warriors offense has been enormous. Give credit where it’s due. 

Then again, just how impressive the Thunder looked makes Games 5 and 6 a testament to the Warriors’ resilience, but also a little awkward for the OKC contingent if they blow this.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Was Steph Curry hurt? 

He was earlier in the playoffs. He does not appear to be now. Some people speculated this was true because he was missing shots and moving perhaps a step slower. Then again, Steve Kerr felt comfortable sticking the MVP on Russell Westbrook, who functions like a panzer tank that can dribble a basketball. Curry took care of business in the second half of Game 6. If he is hurt, it’s 101% moot, and he’s playing.

Is Steph Curry’s defense underrated? 

One reporter asked this very question to Durant and Westbrook after Game 5. Durant and Westbrook are a lot of things, and one of those things is generally honest with the media and generally not afraid to skip modern athletic podium cordialities. So it didn’t go all that well.

If you missed the memo, neither of them think Stephen Curry is particularly underrated at playing defense. Curry, who led the league in steals this season (edging Westbrook by six), does not care what they think. Three people not really caring about something makes for a storyline that probably shouldn’t have been important. Here we are.

Does Steph Curry's defense warrant Russell Westbrook's laughter?

What has Russell Westbrook been wearing? 

Game 1: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Kanye West

Game 2: Totally ready for Warped Tour

Game 3: Something I might actually wear…but wouldn’t


And there's Russ.

A photo posted by Oklahoma City Thunder (@okcthunder) on

Game 4: Overalls


Game 4 stylin'

A photo posted by Oklahoma City Thunder (@okcthunder) on

Game 5: Cool pants

Game 6: Wardrobe from The Cheetah Girls, starring Raven Symone

Is Kevin Durant leaving this summer? 

Let’s just say that when the Thunder were down 2–1 to the Spurs it felt like yes, when they were up 3–1 in this series it felt like no, and now that it’s 3–3 we can just focus on basketball. Nobody really knows. 

But, as fun as the Thunder and this series have been, we should all hope he stays so we can have our cake and eat it for another many years at maximum, including bird rights, a full no-trade clause and a player option.

Has Draymond reined himself in? 

He has not been whistled for a technical foul since the first minute of the third quarter of Game 5, and has managed not to kick anyone since Game 3, when he kicked Steven Adams really, really hard in the wrong place. So, yes, he appears to be doing better. When Draymond is happy, we’re all happy, especially the referees but also the Warriors.

Can Steven Adams still have children? 

I don’t know.

How should I feel about Klay Thompson?

Well, he’s scored 26, 27 and 41 points in the last three games and is averaging 25.3 per game this series. When Curry has drifted, Thompson has been there. Where the Thunder have half-sagged on Curry high beyond the arc and limited their own margin for error, they’ve been similarly unable to corral Thompson, one of the league’s truly unique covers on the wing who just hit a playoff-record 11 threes. 

For the unindoctrinated, Thompson is usually this good and from a visual standpoint the stuff he does can be as just ridiculous as Curry's brilliance. Thompson could get his jump shot off inside a dirty port-a-potty, next to a Coachella side stage while being tipped over by Pac-12 frat bros. He’s either the second or third best player on the Warriors, and he has been the best Warrior in this series. Klay Thompson should be what we we remember about all this, except whatever happens in Game 7 will inevitably alter this dynamic.

What do I do when the game is over?

The Finals start on Thursday.

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