The word “desperation” has not been in the Golden State Warriors’ vocabulary all season, but a sense of desperation hangs over the record-setting squad as they head into Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, trailing 2-1.
At least the Warriors no longer have to worry about playing without star forward Draymond Green. The NBA chose not to suspend Green for Game 4 after Green’s controversial flagrant foul (where he may or may not have intentionally kicked Steven Adams in the groin), which took place with a little under six minutes left in the first half.
“Honestly I think it was intentional, that’s two times in the last two games,” Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said.
Regardless of whether it was intentional or not, Green will be on the floor for Golden State Tuesday night and look to help his team tie the series at two games apiece.
The Warriors will also look to reconstruct their lethal defense after letting Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both shoot over 50 percent from the floor Sunday night.
“We’re not going to win that way, one of those guys [have] got to have an off night,” Klay Thompson said.
The Warriors will look for presence in the paint from Andrew Bogut, who has not been playing to potential on both ends of the floor this series. Thunder big men Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter and Steven Adams have limited Bogut to a mere 6 points through the first three games of the series. More importantly, Golden State were outrebounded 52-38 in their Game 3 loss.
Besides making themselves relevant in the paint, the Warriors will look to play to their strengths and pick up their shot percentage from the arc where they put up a low 30% from downtown Sunday night.
The animosity level between the teams has reached a new level headed into Game 4 due to the back-and-forth trash talk between Russell Westbrook and Draymond Green, mainly over Green’s flagrant foul on Sunday.
“Russell said I did it on purpose, but he’s part of the superstar group that started all this acting in the NBA,” Green said on Monday.
When asked about whether he flops, Westbrook responded, “I’ve never been fined for one flop since I’ve been playing in the NBA, I don’t know how to flop. Seems like he was the one flailing and kicking his legs out yesterday. It wasn’t me.”
The two players will duke it out tonight at 9 pm ET at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.