Universal has begun filming a new fast and furious movie but no one knew it was being set at game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. The Oklahoma City Thunder were fast and they certainly were furious. It seemed as if the Thunder turned every defensive rebound, every turnover into a transition opportunity and converted on what felt like ALL OF THEM!
Going into the playoffs the Warriors were able to keep teams out of transition basketball because they were so efficient on offense. It’s very difficult to score in transition if you are taking the ball out of the net all the time. Last night that was not the case. The Thunder’s defense was disciplined all game and rebounded the ball on defense. They got the ball immediately up the court to the tune of 29 fast break points by the end of the game. This also kept the Warriors out of transition for the most of the game.
In the play below Klay Thompson of the Warriors misses a good look from three and makes a halfhearted attempt for an offensive board. Steven Adams grabs the rebound and quickly outlets it to Russell Westbrook whose motor is turbo charged. Andrew Bogut is slow in transition and should be loading up at the free throw line to discourage any drive as Shaun Livingston stands him up at the three point. Instead, there is a small sliver of space in between the two defenders and Westbrook slams his foot on the pedal and gets to the rim for an easy layup.
Later in the second quarter, Serge Ibaka gets switched onto Stephen Curry and plays great defense, stays in front of him and forces him into a contested step-back three. Curry misses and Westbrook grabs the rebound with his motor roaring. Not a single Warrior picks up Westbrook until he is just a step below the free throw line. Andre Iguodala is trying to get back to Durant but Thompson is in an ideal position to cover Durant on the wing. Iguodala should have picked up Westbrook but is pointing for Draymond Green to cover him. When the Warriors finally step in front of him they leave Durant and Westbrook finds him for a thunderous dunk.
On the next play, Green rolls to the basket for what looks like an easy layup until Durant comes from the weakside and meets him at the rim to block the shot. After blocking the layup, Durant secures the rebound and races up the court. Again, the Warriors do not pick him up in transition and Durant dribbles right into an easy three pointer.
Those seven points were part of the Thunder’s 22 fast break points in the first half. A half that kept the explosive Warriors’ offense sputtering at the starting line with just five transition points. As stated earlier it’s hard to get going in transition when your opponent is making all their shots, and the Thunder shooting 52.3% that half to cool the Warriors engines. The Thunder outran the Warriors in game three and that is something that does not happen very often. With the Fast Durant and the Furious Westbrook, it is something that will be an advantage for the rest of the series