NBA analyst Skip Bayless publicly stated on Twitter that he doubts the Oklahoma City Thunder can win a game against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. After the Thunder got the upset victory over the Warriors, Oklahoma City center Enes Kanter took to social media to respond.
Not sure the Thunder can win a single game against the Warriors.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) May 13, 2016
Sorry my man ???????? pic.twitter.com/yQ4dSaBwCu
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) May 17, 2016
After all was said and done on Monday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder surprised NBA fans all across the country when they were able to steal a victory over the Golden State Warriors in Oakland. Some, like Skip Bayless, predicted that the Warriors would sweep the Thunder. Many were under the impression that they would win the first two games at home.
Although people doubted them, the guys in the Oklahoma City Thunder locker room believed in themselves. They weren’t backing down from the start. Their confidence only skyrocketed whenever they were able to beat the San Antonio Spurs in the second round. Many in the NBA had predicted that the Spurs were going to be advancing to round three.
Enes Kanter believed in the Oklahoma City Thunder. He knew that he and his teammates had a chance to upset the Golden State Warriors to get to the NBA Finals. Kanter wasn’t going to concede that a rematch between the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers was going to be taking place for the championship.
Not only did Enes Kanter believe in the Oklahoma City Thunder, he also wanted to play a big part in beating the Golden State Warriors. There were concerns that the small ball lineup utilized by Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was going to force the Thunder to limit the minutes played by Kanter.
According to ESPN, Enes Kanter definitely contributed to the upset victory over the Golden State Warriors. Statistically, Kanter provided the Oklahoma City Thunder with 18 minutes, eight points, eight rebounds, a block, and a steal. That’s far from being his most impressive night. However, Kanter provided the muscles and grit that don’t show up on the box score.
Steve Kerr came pretty close to shutting down Enes Kanter. While the team was down, Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan decided to go small. When that led to the Golden State Warriors expanding their lead, Donovan went back to the big lineup. Kanter was brought back into the game. The strategy worked out well.
During the next game, one can expect Steve Kerr to try using his “death lineup” again to try to force the Oklahoma City Thunder to go small. Enes Kanter and Steven Adams has to prove that they can remain on the floor whenever Draymond Green is playing the center position.
If the small ball lineup doesn’t work for the Golden State Warriors, then the Oklahoma City Thunder have a very good chance at stealing game two. Very few people in the NBA would have predicted that. Enes Kanter has grown to become a much more important player in this series. A trip to the finals is dependent on his ability to stay on the court.
This is quite the turnaround for Enes Kanter. It wasn’t long ago that fans and analysts were critical of the Oklahoma City Thunder for giving him a maximum contract. If they can win the NBA Championship, then that money will have been worth it and more.
The Oklahoma City Thunder got the better of the Golden State Warriors in Game 1, but the more entertaining victory was Enes Kanter putting one over on Skip Bayless.
[Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]