For the Warriors and their fans, things are getting weird. The Oklahoma City Thunder are up 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals, and have effectively neutralized the 73-win defending champs over the last two games. It is not just that the Thunder are beating Golden State — a few close losses could still give Golden State hope they can come back and win the series — it is much worse than that. Oklahoma City is ripping the Warrior’s beating hearts out, Indiana Jones style, on national TV, and leaving no doubt about who the superior team is.
It is a result next to no one saw coming. While most NBA fans and writers are still trying to wrap their heads around this new world we are living in, the Warriors and their supporters are responding more primally.
USA Today’s Sam Amick is on the ground in Oklahoma City and filed an interesting report Wednesday that reveals just how wild things have gotten.
One Warrior fan tried to fight TNT analyst Charles Barkley at a hotel bar following Game 3 Sunday night because he picked the Thunder to win the series.
There was pressure building on Sunday night at a hotel bar not far from the Thunder’s home, where a wayward Warriors fan was so enraged that TNT analyst Charles Barkley picked the Thunder to win the series that he challenged him to an actual fight (security was called, and the man was removed).
But the lunacy does not stop with the fans. Owner Joe Lacob also tried to get in on the action that same night.
It rose in the corner section of the arena where Joe Lacob sat on Sunday night, too, when the passionate Warriors owner grew so weary of one Thunder fan’s belligerent badgering during Game 3 that he just had to holler back at the burly fellow (Lacob’s fiancé, also in attendance, would later play the part of charming peacemaker with the Thunder fan heading into Game 4).
The Warriors came into the playoffs the overwhelming favorites to repeat and cap off one of the greatest seasons by an NBA team ever. When the Spurs were knocked out in the second round by this same Thunder team, it seemed all but certain the Warriors’ coronation was imminent. Now, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and the rest of the Thunder have all but shattered that narrative, and left the Warriors and their fans struggling to pick up the pieces.
Although things are clearly not well in the Warrior’s camp, the series is not over yet. And if any team can come back from the brink like this, it is Golden State. Game 5 tips off tomorrow night in Oakland at 9 p.m. EST.