The defining moment from the Thunder's failed final comeback came with two and a half minutes left. With the ball in Kevin Durant's hands up top, Golden State trapped him, forcing a quick dump off to Serge Ibaka over the Warriors' defense. The ball rotated around the horn, ended up with a wide-open corner three-pointer -- just like Golden State would do.
The difference, though, is who was shooting it. Instead of Harrison Barnes or Andre Iguodala or even Marreese Speights, it was Andre Roberson, a 26 percent shooter from behind the line. Oklahoma City trailed by 11 points at that point, and at Oracle Arena with only 2:35 left, that three likely wouldn't have changed anything. But his predictable miss just about ended the comeback hopes for good.
In a lot of ways, the Thunder are like the Warriors. Durant is an effortless scorer -- maybe still the best player in the world -- just like Stephen Curry. Westbrook is a freakish force of nature who can play both ways and is incredibly versatile. Ibaka plays multiple positions without any real weaknesses to exploit. Up top, Oklahoma City is built to be a dynasty. But the rest of their roster fails to reflect that.
While Golden State accumulated versatile, athletic wings, the Thunder spent draft picks on big men. Max player Enes Kanter could only stay on the floor 13 minutes against Golden State while starter Steven Adams managed just 20. Mitch McGary and Nick Collison didn't play. These big men is where Oklahoma City invested their future, but they've only been rewarded by Golden State's small ball revolution completely invalidating their approach.
Once their assets were already tied up in the front court, the Thunder realized how important wings would be to successfully wage a war against Golden State but had no choice but to go cheap. In comes Dion Waiters, who was a team-worst minus-24 on Thursday, and Kyle Singler, who was roasted by Curry and Klay Thompson all night. Randy Foye arrived at the trade deadline but only managed four points on 2-of-7 shooting in the rematch, while Roberson missed the three that exemplifies all of Oklahoma City's struggles this year.
If there's reason for Durant to stay in Oklahoma this summer, despite Golden State officially sweeping the Thunder in the season series, it's that the talent around him is fixable. With the cap rising and a couple big men who still hold NBA value, perhaps Oklahoma City can adjust their outlook and turn the Thunder into a true copycat squad able to almost match everything the Warriors do. But right now, they're a worthy opponent who lacks the proper tools to carry out a successful battle. And while a playoff meeting between these two teams should be sensational drama, it's hard to see the Thunder's results playing out any other way than the regular season has.
2 more things from Thursday
Rajon Rondo earns his revenge
Rondo's last memory of Dallas involved him walking out of the locker room after Game 2 in the Mavericks' first round series after he had been benched by Rick Carlisle. He was dismissed from the team (well, ruled out with a "back injury") and the Mavericks players unanimously voted that he wouldn't receive his playoff share. With that departure, Rondo earned the lifelong animosity of Mavericks fans.
After sitting out the Kings' first game in Dallas this year, Rondo played on Thursday and was booed sporadically throughout the game. But Sacramento won the game, holding off a furious late Dallas comeback that ironically ended when the Mavericks couldn't secure a rebound off a missed free throw that involved Rondo diving to the floor to grab the loose ball. Dallas still has no love lost for Rondo, but he had the last laugh, literally.
Devin Booker is still the Suns' only bright spot
With a career-high 34 points, Booker continues to look like an absolute steal for the Suns this year, even as everything else falls apart around the team. Phoenix lost again, getting crushed by Miami 108-92, but Booker lit up for 11-of-21 shooting with three triples and nine made free throws, a performance impressive enough that he got daps from Miami after the final buzzer. For as many problems as Phoenix will have to solve this summer, Booker and the shooting guard position doesn't appear to be one.
Play of the night
oh just stop it already
5 fun things
Speights hit a three and the Warriors' bench is in disbelief.
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