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The Pioneer

Warriors on brink of elimination

Photo Courtesy of Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group/TNS

Photo Courtesy of Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group/TNS

Louis LaVenture,
Editor-in-Chief

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This has been a season of firsts for the defending champion Golden State Warriors, which includes the 73 regular season wins, the most by any team in NBA history.

However, it was a first of sorts that doomed the Warriors on Tuesday night in Oklahoma City. After getting blown out 133-105 on Sunday night, Warrior fans were confident going into game 4 since the team hadn’t lost back-to-back games all season.

The Thunder gave Golden State another first when they blew them out again 118-94, the first time the Dubs have lost two games in a row this year. Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook became just the third player in NBA history to record a triple-double against the defending champions with 35 points or more as he tallied 36 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in the victory.

The Warriors now find themselves on the brink of elimination down 3-1 in a series for the first time in the Steve Kerr era. They were down 2-1 two times during the playoffs last year to the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Semifinals and in the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but overcame both of those deficits en route to an NBA title.

“The good news is, we go home,” Kerr told reporters following the game. “Obviously we play well at home. The idea now is to go home and get one win. Do that, and we put some pressure on them and we’ll see what happens.”

The Warriors will have to get their shooting back on track if they want to stay alive in the series. Two-time league MVP Stephen Curry had a dismal shooting night as he scored 19 points and made just 6 of 19 shots.

“I think we’re a special team and this isn’t how we’re going to go out,” Curry said in a press conference following Tuesday’s loss.

The Thunder gave Golden State another first, as they scored the most points in one half against the Dubs in back-to-back games, 70 points and Sunday and 72 points on Tuesday. According to The Elias Sports Bureau, Oklahoma City is the first team to score at least 70 points in a half in consecutive playoff games since the 1987 “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers led by Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

Klay Thompson, the other half of the Splash Brothers, led the way for Golden State with 26 points on a 13-for 28 shooting night for the fourth year guard from Washington State. Draymond Green’s struggles continued for the Warriors, who was not suspended by the league for his flagrant foul, an inadvertent kick to the groin of Thunder big man Steven Adams in Sunday’s loss. One more technical or flagrant foul for Green and he will receive a one game automatic suspension from the league.

Next up for both teams is a trip back to Oakland for game 5 at Oracle Arena at 6 p.m.

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Warriors on brink of elimination