It’s over. Oklahoma City, you blew your chance.
If the Thunder were fortunate to profit from Golden State’s cold hands in Game 1 of the NBA’s Western Conference Finals, then their Game 2 humiliation illustrated why the Warriors will ultimately reign supreme.
Losing by 27 on Wednesday showed OKC at their inconsistent worst. An array of turnovers, especially from Kevin Durant. The black hole of offense that is Andre Robertson. And an apparently lethargy on the boards that allowed the Dubs to land one blow after another.
"We've got to deal in the reality and the truth," said Thunder coach Billy Donovan. Which is that they’ve allowed Golden State to regain precious momentum heading into Sunday’s Game 3 in Oklahoma.
And there are a myriad of good reasons why the Warriors remain 1.80 favourites to retain their title next month. The 118 points they scored was fractions off their regular season average against their rivals during a series they swept 3-0. More of the same, and a total points line of over 223.5 at 2.23 can be a steal.
That’s because, once Golden State get their scoring going, OKC have found it difficult to resist. As has everyone else. No team is better in building runs, whether it’s in-game or from one contest to another. The Warriors haven’t lost back to backs all year. And only once – in the nervous conclusion to their chase for 73 wins – did they ever even drop two out of three.
Amid Durant’s struggles, Russell Westbrook provided little help, grabbing just 16 points amid a switch from Stephen Curry to Klay Thompson as his primary defender. Slow Russ, slow the Thunder. Which bodes well for the visitors next time out as well with the Dubs at 1.65 to go 2-1 ahead.
Durant may have to fly solo so he’s worth a look at 2.25 to score the most points in the series. But that might be the lone battle where he comes out on top. Golden State are 4.00 to advance to the NBA Finals 4-1 and such dominance no longer looks like a mission improbable.
Best bet: Take Golden State by -4.5 over Oklahoma City at 2.20
Cleveland will be going back to the Finals. No ifs or buts after throttling the Toronto Raptors in the opening two games of the Eastern Conference Finals with the Cavs now an unbackable 1.01 to win out.
The only real debate is whether the Raps can salvage some pride by avoiding a sweep when the series shifts to Canada on Saturday.
That seems unlikely with Kyle Lowry in a major funk. It may be tougher for Cleveland on the road and Toronto can’t surely worsen offensively. But it’s surely destined for four-and-out for the soon-to-be extinct Raptors.
Best bet: Go over 208.5 total points in Toronto-Cleveland