OKC Thunderstruck: Maturity matters | Inquirer Sports
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OKC Thunderstruck: Maturity matters

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, center, and forward Anderson Varejao celebrate as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka slumps in dejection late in Game 6 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals in Oklahoma City on Saturday, May 28, 2016. The Warriors won 108-101. AP

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, center, and forward Anderson Varejao celebrate as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka slumps in dejection late in Game 6 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals in Oklahoma City on Saturday, May 28, 2016. The Warriors won 108-101. AP

THE LOSING coach failed to state what exactly happened for them to drop an expected big win in Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference Finals.

Oklahoma City coach Billy Donavan could only mumble that it was not his mighty, blazing Thunder team out there against Golden State the other day.

Donavan also hinted they got somewhat stagnant in the homestretch.

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He missed the point, miserably as Kevin Durant missed repeatedly in trying to win all by his lonesome in the crucial stretch.

OK, it was the same Thunder squad out there, although it inexplicably turned pale and stale in the killing moments.

Donavan can be forgiven as there’s no exact term for that damning affliction.

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One veteran NBA writer noted that, eloquent as the Thunder usually were, they suddenly turned mute when it mattered most.

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They stammered and faltered and Oklahoma’s failure could only be blamed on that invisible whore called failure of nerve.

Surprising indeed for a surging, soaring squad that had been through more crucial tests in the NBA playoffs.

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Reigning NBA MVP Steph Curry, without meaning to double talk, could’ve said what won it for them and what went wrong with the other team in a single quip.

“We’ve got a lot of heart,” Curry said matter-of-factly.

Durant et al., on the other hand, cannot be expected to honestly own up to a gutless finish.

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Shouldn’t have Durant, for once, tried to make an outlet pass to somewhere near the middle after successive failures from the perimeter?

He played the crucial final moments of Game 6 like a spoiled rich boy who refused to share toy with poor playmates.

Dumb and mindless indeed for a top veteran hardcourt warrior whose lack of leadership got rudely exposed.

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There was glaring selfishness out there.

Meanwhile, premier Oklahoma spitfire Russell Westbrook proceeded to contribute to team misery as he suffered successive turnovers in the crunching wind-up.

It’s hard to determine if Durant and Westbrook tried to steal the thunder from each other in trying to bail out their beleaguered outfit.

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Now, Oklahoma, after having led 3-1 in the West conference playoffs, have no choice but surpass themselves on the road in today’s Game 7.

They are left to claw back against the defending NBA champs whom they had shoved to the ropes after taking the conference playoffs opener in Golden State.

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How to do the impossible against the strictly coached Warriors, who have displayed great discipline, selfless cohesion and unassailable maturity, is a puzzle coach Donavan has to wrestle with as the moment of truth approaches.

TAGS: Game 6, Game 7, Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant, NBA, Oklahoma City Thunder, playoffs, Steph Curry

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