Heading into the 2016 Western Conference Finals against a dangerous Oklahoma City Thunder team, here’s what the Golden State Warriors need to do to advance.
The Golden State Warriors won an NBA-record 73 games during the regular season, they have the league’s back-to-back MVP and two other All-NBA caliber players, they might be the deepest team in the association, and despite a two-week absence from Stephen Curry, they’ve only lost twice so far in the playoffs.
And yet, against an Oklahoma City Thunder team that challenged them in the regular season and is currently playing its best basketball, the 2016 Western Conference Finals don’t figure to be the cakewalk they were last season.
True enough, the Warriors posted a perfect 3-0 record with a +8.7 point differential against OKC in three regular season meetings. But the Thunder were in every game and are coming off a thoroughly impressive series against a 67-win San Antonio Spurs juggernaut, winning the last three games to advance, 4-2.
The Thunder are in their fourth Western Conference Finals in six years, they beat a team that only lost back-to-back games once during the regular season in three straight contests, and they bested the Spurs in San Antonio twice after Gregg Popovich’s squad posted an NBA-best 40-1 home record during the regular season.
This team is not to be trifled with, even with Curry back and looking as good as ever. That Kevin Durant–Russell Westbrook tandem will always give the Thunder a chance to win games and the Dubs cannot make the same mistakes the Spurs did. Here’s what it will take for the Warriors to win the series and advance to the 2016 NBA Finals.
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