Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Thunder Shove Warriors to Brink of Elimination in NBA

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Thunder Shove Warriors to Brink of Elimination in NBA

Article excerpt

The Golden State Warriors won an NBA-record 73 games in the regular season. But if they don't win one more in the postseason, their magical year will be over.

Russell Westbrook scored 36 points, added 11 rebounds and 11 assists to lead host Oklahoma City to a 118-94 rout of the defending league champion Warriors on Tuesday night, taking a three-games-to- one lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals.

Golden State, which has lost consecutive games for the first time this season, now must win three in a row starting Thursday at home in order to return to the NBA Finals.

Kevin Durant added 26 points for the Thunder, who surged to a 72- 53 halftime lead as Westbrook scored 21 points and Durant had 18 before the intermission.

The Thunder outscored the Warriors 42-27 in the second period to take command.

Klay Thompson had 26 points to lead the Warriors and Stephen Curry added 19. Curry scored 15 of his points in the opening half, but made only four of his 14 shots from the field then including just two of seven from 3-point range.

He had a plus-minus figure of minus-16 in the half. Teammate Draymond Green, who avoided suspension for the game on Tuesday when he was only fined for kicking an opponent in the groin in Game 3, was minus-28 then and scored just four points. He finished with just six points.

In contrast, Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka, who scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half, was plus-26 then. Westbrook was plus-23 and Durant plus-21.

NOTEBOOK

Cavs try to bounce back * Upon their return from Canada, the Cleveland Cavaliers had nothing to declare at U.S. Customs. Their lead in the Eastern Conference finals had already been confiscated.

Cleveland was stripped of its dominance and a 2-0 advantage during a long weekend in Toronto, where the growing-confident-by- the-shot Raptors, propelled by a crowd and city that believes they can make the NBA Finals, won two straight games.

"They flipped the script on us," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. …

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