In the wake of an epic collapse by the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, some players are less than pleased with the approach taken by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in the waning minutes of the contest.
Speaking on ESPN’s SportsCenter, Chris Broussard conveyed the mood of Oklahoma City’s locker room following the devastating 108-101 loss at home. And it wasn’t pretty.
“As far as their own stars, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder felt like they were playing to protect the lead in the fourth quarter, whereas the Warriors were playing to win. You know, they got tentative. They weren’t as aggressive as they needed to be, and they felt like that’s why they made a lot of the turnovers they made and missed a lot of the shots they made because they were just trying to hold on versus just continuing to play the way they played to get the lead.”
Broussard also said the players were “dejected,” and it’s not hard to understand why.
The Thunder absolutely choked in the second half of the fourth quarter, with the pinnacle of the disaster occurring in the final minutes. They committed six turnovers in the final three minutes of the game, with Westbrook in particular stinking up the joint.
Russell Westbrook had 4 turnovers since 1:29 in the 4th quarter. He had 1 in the game prior to that
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 29, 2016
In this, it sure seems like the players who reportedly felt like their stars let them down with tentative play were correct in their assessment.
Westbrook and Durant absolutely took their foot off the gas pedal and played without the same edge they had displayed all series long. And because of that (and Klay Thompson’s Yoda socks), the Warriors were able to pick themselves off the mat and deliver a knockout blow instead.
If the Warriors are able to come back and win Game 7 at home, the collapse by the Thunder in Game 6 will be something everyone in Oklahoma City will lament for years. It could also signal the end of the Durant/Westbrook duo, which has, to this point, never been able to get over the hump when it counts the most.