Oklahoma City, this had to be tough to swallow.
Last night, Gina and I devoted our evening to this game. We went out for oysters, and sat at the bar for the entire 48 minutes. Both being huge NBA fans, and Curry fans, this was a must-watch event. What we saw was a team, in Golden State, who just couldn’t seem to pull ahead for the first 43 minutes.
Golden State was down by 3 after 1.
Golden State was down by 5 at halftime.
Golden State entered the fourth down by 8.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about sports, or life in general, it’s that “Winners, Win.” It’s what they do. You see, the first 43 minutes didn’t matter. In fact, the first 4 games of the series (when GS was down 3-1), didn’t matter. The ONLY thing that matters, to winners, is that WHEN it matters, they pull through. Klay Thompson had the game of his life last night. He set an NBA-record for 3s in a playoff game (11), and finished with 41 points on 11/18 shooting from downtown. His 3-point shooting percentage (61%) was almost as good as OKC’s free throw percentage (68%). Klay and Steph combined for a +27 point differential when on the court, compared to a combined -12 point differential for Westbrook/Durant. This is because as good as Westbrook and Durant are, and they are good, they are not winners.
They don’t win.
Steph and Klay ONLY win. And that’s the biggest difference.
OKC has been to the finals once, and lost. GS went to the finals once (last year), and won.
OKC gave up 15 4th quarter leads this season. GS lost 9 games, total.
To some people, individual play and stats are everything. Peyton Manning was notorious for this. Peyton had some of the best individual statistics of any QB in NFL history. I remember when he threw his 500th TD pass. It was the 1st quarter, game was far from over, but he walked off the field, waving to the fans as if he was just crowned Superbowl MVP. And that got me thinking, what would Tom Brady do in that same situation? My guess, nothing. That’s because to Tom, the only stat he tracks is 4. 4 Superbowls. That’s it.
The biggest difference between winners and great players is great players focus on “playing well” and winners focus on “winning.” That’s it.
Tom Brady in Superbowls: 4-2.
Peyton Manning in Superbowls: 2-2.
Kobe Bryant / Michael Jordan in NBA Finals: 11-2.
Lebron James in NBA Finals: 2-4.
Nick Saban in Nat’l Championship games: 5-0.
Bob Stoops in Nat’l Championships: 1-2.
Winners win. They don’t care about their stats, their minutes, or how they play individually. They don’t care what happened in the first 3 quarters, only the scoreboard at the end. Last night, you witness 2 great players on OKC who are just that –> Great Players, lose to 2 great players on GS who are more than just great players, they’re winners.
When it matters most, winners win. It’s the oldest rule in sports, and that’s why I like GS in game 7…. by a lot.