By Kevin Green
OKLAHOMA CITY – Complete annihilation.
That is what Oklahoma City did to Golden State on Sunday night, and it did it again on Tuesday night.
The Thunder moved within one win of the NBA Finals, crushing the Warriors 118-94 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals at Chesapeake Energy Arena to take a 3-1 series lead.
The loss marks the first time this season Golden State has lost back-to-back games.
“We all have to bounce back,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “The good news is we go home. 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 dynamic duo of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant led the way for Oklahoma City again.
Westbrook recorded a triple-double (36 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists), while Durant added 26 points and 11 rebounds.
The triple-double is the 19th of the season for Westbrook, and the first of the postseason.
“I play every game like it’s my last, regardless of who’s in front of me,” Westbrook said. “That’s my job, and my job is to worry about my team, and that’s all I do.”
The Thunder started fast, taking a 22-8 lead halfway through first quarter after a Westbrook 3-pointer, but Golden State wasn’t ready to give up.
At least not yet.
The Warriors went on a 22-10 run over the next eight minutes to cut the lead to two, and it looked like Oklahoma City was slowly beginning to crumble.
The Thunder slightly widened the gap again, but Golden State eventually trimmed the lead down to six with 5:11 left in the second quarter.
However, for the second straight game, the Thunder were able to close the half strong, ballooning the lead to 72-53 at halftime.
The last team to score 72 or more points in the first half of two straight playoff games was the 1987 Los Angeles Lakers.
Klay Thompson single-handedly got the Warriors back into the game, scoring 19 of his 26 points in the first seven minutes of the quarter, but it wasn’t enough.
The Thunder entered the fourth quarter with a 12-point lead, and it didn’t take long for Kerr to call in the reserves.
“This is a tough situation to be in, but the series isn’t over,” Stephen Curry said.
Curry was held to 19 points on 6-of-20 shooting and turned the ball over six times.
Role players also gave Oklahoma City a boost, but the one who stood out the most was Andre Roberson.
Roberson scored a career-high 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds, five steals, three assists and two blocks.
“Like after Game 2 people are saying to me, ‘Is this guy going to even play anymore?’” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “Andre’s a good basketball player, and I think sometimes the things that go missing with him is he makes winning plays and he’s a winning player.”
Serge Ibaka added 17 points and seven rebounds.
Oklahoma City has a great chance to advance to the Finals on either Thursday or Saturday, but Westbrook said they can’t focus too much on the result of Game 4.
“I think we’re in a good place, but like I said, this game is over,” Westbrook said. “We’ve got to move on to the next game. Every game is different.”
Game 5 is on Thursday in Oakland and will be broadcast on TNT.