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On This Day: Thunder Take a 3-1 Lead Over the Warriors

In one of the most memorable Western Conference Finals in recent memory, Oklahoma City gained the upper hand on May 22, 2016.

Sometimes teams need a kick in the butt to truly get going.

During the 2016 Western Conference Finals, it turned out all the Oklahoma City Thunder needed was a kick in the groin.

With the series returning to Oklahoma City, the Thunder and Stephen Curry’s historic Golden State Warriors were all level at a game apiece. Not much separated the teams early on into Game 3 either.

But then, Draymond Green’s infamous kick happened.

Trailing 48-42, Green put his head down to drive to the bucket. On the way, he was met by Steven Adams, who fouled the Warriors star. But explicably, Green’s legs kicked out after the foul right into the groin area of Adams, sending the gritty big down to the floor.

The crowd at the Chesapeake Energy Arena became unglued, chanting for Green’s disqualification. Though Green remained in the game, his kick changed the course of the night for good.

Embracing the atmosphere, OKC reeled off a 24-5 run and proceeded to blow out Golden State, asserting for the first time that Oklahoma City could truly be the team to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.

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The game finished with Curry, Klay Thompson and Green on the bench as the Thunder finished the job 133-105.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 63 points on 20-of-34 shooting with each adding eight rebounds and Westbrook dishing out 12 assists.


Andre Roberson even got in on the offensive explosion, scoring 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting.

Curry and Thompson scored 24 points and 18 points for the Warriors respectively, but Oklahoma City kept the Golden State supporting cast in check to prevail on the night.

It was a remarkable performance by the Thunder, led by first year head coach Billy Donovan, who would help the Thunder take a 3-1 series lead nights later.