Strategy Game Changers: Phil Jackson

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Getting to Know Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson entered the world in 1945 as the son of two fundamentalist ministers in Montana. He and his siblings grew up in a strict environment and were unable to watch TV, go to the movies, or even dance.

However, his stern upbringing didn’t forbid him from pursuing sports, and he excelled enough in high school to be recruited by the University of North Dakota, where he helped his team win third- and fourth-place finishes in the NCAA Division II championships. He was drafted 17th overall by the New York Knicks, where he played as a power forward for 12 seasons and was part of two championship-winning teams.

Flowing With the Triangle Offense

Jackson is credited with modernizing the triangle offense. The triangle offense is said to have originated from Sam Barry at the University of Southern California and then further developed by former Kansas State head coach Tex Winter, who had played under Barry. However, Jackson took the offense a step further. And it led him to a historically successful coaching career.

The triangle offense isn’t the easiest scheme to understand, according to Chuck Klosterman – author and Grantland writer – who reports that the base alignment of the triangle is an actual human triangle on one side of the floor.

“The triangle is considered a ‘flow offense,’ in which player movement is the most important detail (set plays are rare),” Klosterman notes. Also, there are other points that require every player to be interchangeable as well as automatic passes that need to be made when certain defensive alignments are encountered.  

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Jackson’s Legacy

After Jackson’s retirement as an NBA player, he started his coaching career, eventually working his way up to the head coach spot with the Chicago Bulls in 1989. There, he began his tenure as one of the most successful coaches in NBA history; he led the Bulls to six NBA championships and then the Los Angeles Lakers to five. With a total of 11 rings, he secured the most NBA titles as a coach and helped guide Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal to Hall of Fame careers.

While the triangle offense is complex, variations have been added and implemented in today’s game. The San Antonio Spurs, for example, utilize a form of this offense. And while Jackson now serves in an executive role – he’s currently the president of the New York Knicks. His legacy as one of the greatest coaches of all time still lives on.

Game Changer

When Phil Jackson started the climb to his incredible head coaching career, he probably didn’t expect that one day he’d be remembered as the coach of champions – 11 times over – or for his triangle offense playing strategy. However, the NBA Hall of Fame inductee (2007, as coach) will always be an icon in the basketball world for his particular style of coaching and play.

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Looking to play some B-ball yourself? Want to try out the triangle offense? Don’t worry – Fanatics.com has you covered with the best NBA gear around, including the Bulls and the LA Lakers.

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WATCH: Cleveland Cavs Minute-by-Minute Sales Following Championship Win

They say that in sports, winning cures all. After 52 years without a championship, the city of Cleveland can attest to that. Their Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA title Sunday night, beating last year’s champion Golden State Warriors in seven games after being down 3-1 in the series.

It was a re-match of the 2015 Finals which Cleveland was ready for. Cleveland vs Golden State again. LeBron vs Steph again.

All of that was laid to rest when the Cavs won. LeBron was vindicated, redeemed. The city of Cleveland’s curse was lifted. And for Cleveland fans, the feeling they’ve waited for. And they responded.

It seems waiting 52 years means you savor the moment when it finally comes – in the first 24 hours following the end of Game 7, across all Fanatics platforms, NBA Store.com and the flagship NBA Store in NYC, Cavaliers championship merchandise purchases were up 100% over the Warriors’ merchandise sales in the same period in 2015, which was also a record at the time.

As of the time of this publishing, less than 48 hours after the clock hit zeroes, Cavs fans have already purchased more championship merchandise than Warriors fans did in the first full week following their 2015 victory.

During the same time period following the win, Cavs fans bought more championship merch just on their mobile phones than Warriors fans did across all platforms the year prior. In fact, mobile purchases set a new Fanatics championship record, surging past the College Football Playoff Championship game earlier this year.

Check out our heat map below to get a visual on the explosion of Cavs purchases as Game 7 finished. Cleveland fans can sum it up well: the curse is over, and right now that’s all matters.

No time is being wasted at Fanatics: Printing Cavs Shirts On Demand

No time is being wasted at Fanatics in the wake of the Cleveland Cavaliers winning their first-ever NBA Championship.

Cavaliers Championship T-Shirts are already being printed at Fanatics fulfillment centers following LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and company finishing off the Golden State Warriors to wrap up the greatest NBA Finals comeback in history. Take a look below, as we detail the printing process for the Cavs’ champs T-Shirts.

The Cavaliers brought the first major professional sports championship to Cleveland since 1964 with a 93-89 triumph in a road Game 7 against the Warriors. In doing so, the Cavs became the first team in NBA Finals history to battle back from a 3-1 series deficit to win the championship.

A championship that Cavs fans have been waiting decades for, and envisioned since James was drafted by his hometown team in 2003, is undeniably sweet for the loyal Cleveland sports faithful. How it came about, though – James reclaiming his throne averaging  36 points in three must-win games, Irving showing his clutch gene and the team redeeming last year’s Finals loss to Golden State – has to make the champagne taste even sweeter.

Top NBA Players on Instagram

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They’re tapping in layups on the court in front of thousands. But several NBA players are also causing you, and millions of others, to double-tap their Instagram activity multiple times a day. Whether they’re sharing their private lives or using their accounts for business or promoting brands or products, these athletes are leveraging their on-court celebrity for social media cred.

We know Steph Curry is the league’s MVP this season, but does he also dominate the photo-sharing game? Is King James Insta-royalty or is he a member of the social court when it comes to his activity? We looked to see which players were the most active on Instagram and who has the most likes per post (MLPP).

Drive to the Post

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When it comes to the player who’s spending more time posting on Instagram than posting up opposing players in-game, look no further than Anthony Morrow (@yungfresh). The Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard posts several times a day with a variety of screenshots (snapshots of his tweets, what’s he’s listening to on iTunes), in addition to memes and his Snapchat videos. He’s the most prolific poster we found by a significant margin.

Almost a thousand, or more, posts behind Morrow are Lakers point guard Lou Williams (@louwillville), Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (@andredrummondd), Cleveland Cavaliers small forward  J.R. Smith (@teamswish), and Memphis Grizzlies small forward Lance Stephenson (@stephensonlance).

Williams posts some photos of friends and family, but you’ll find more brands and sponsored posts coming across your feed if you follow him. Drummond takes professional shots of his on-the-court performances and publishes them on Instagram. Smith gets personal, posting plenty of photos of his adorable bulldog, Dallas. And finally, Stephenson gives fans enough video to craft a personal highlight reel of his average day.

We Really Like These Ballers

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Just because you’ve posted the most, doesn’t mean you’re the most popular NBA player on Instagram. In fact, even as the most casual fan of basketball, you wouldn’t even need to be an Instagram user to guess who the two top players are on the photo-sharing platform.

Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry (@stephencurry30) and Cleveland Cavaliers power forward LeBron James (@kingjames) lead not just the league but Instagram – with MVP performances, nonetheless. But much like the game has evolved over the past two seasons to be about accuracy from distance instead of size and drives, the self-proclaimed “King” doesn’t reign supreme anymore.

Even though Curry is averaging about 39,000 more likes per post, there’s not much difference between what these two superstars post. Each uses the platform and their massive social reach to share photos of family and their shoe lines (Under Armour for Curry, Nike for James).

Beyond these two, the remainder of the top five are rather close to one another in likes, all craning their necks upward to LeBron and Curry. Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (@easymoneysniper), Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade (@dwyanewade), and Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin32) all live between 56,000 to 66,000 likes per post.

Shot Clock Winding Down

If you’re looking to follow an NBA player on Instagram, odds are you’ll get a different look into celebrity depending on who you follow. Go for the most active posters, and you’ll get a more intimate view into their lives. But if you choose to follow the greats, you’ll see some more staged shots and advertisements. Make sure, whoever you follow and support, that you’re always heading to Fanatics.com first for the best official NBA apparel and merchandise.

How do these NBA superstars compare with other elite talents in other sports? Check out the Top Athletes on Instagram. Also, take a look at the Top MLB Players on Instagram.

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Warriors, Sharks Championship Fever Extends Beyond the Bay Area

The Bay Area is currently the hottest place to be for sports fans, with the two championship hopefuls – the Golden State Warriors and the San Jose Sharks – within a 50-mile radius of one another. In fact, the Bay Area is now the top-selling market in the country for licensed merchandise for Fanatics, recently surpassing Los Angeles. While there’s been a 75 percent jump in Bay Area merchandise sales on Fanatics.com over the last two weeks, championship fever is spreading well beyond the reaches of Bay and to all edges of the Golden State.

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Golden State has unsurprisingly painted a majority of the state gold, but the Sharks are well represented. San Jose is the top-seller for the Sacramento area along with most of Northern California, while the Warriors are holding down most of the Bay Area.

Warriors fans across the nation are rocking the same Strength in Numbers Playoff T-Shirt as the fans and players at Oracle Arena, making it their top-selling product. Meanwhile, Sharks fans are celebrating their first-ever conference title by making the Western Conference Champions T-Shirt the team’s most popular product.

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The Warriors’ numerous star players like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have made Warriors jerseys a hot item from men to women and kids. As for the Sharks, their fans are loading up on Custom Sharks Jerseys and Hats while they make a title run.

The Sharks rank second in NHL sales just behind the Pittsburgh Penguins, who hold a 3-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final awaiting Thursday’s Game 5. San Jose looks to follow the Warriors’ recent magic, as Golden State dug out of a similar 3-1 deficit to win the Western Conference Finals.

Whether you’re in the Bay Area or anywhere else, Fanatics.com is the #1 stop for Warriors gear, Sharks merchandise and any NBA Finals gear or Stanley Cup apparel you need as your teams vie for championships on the ice and the hard court.

Stephen Curry Tops NBA Player Sales in 48 of 50 U.S. States Entering NBA Finals

Despite a record-breaking 73-9 season, the Golden State Warriors had to make more history en route to the NBA Finals by becoming the fourth team ever to erase a 3-1 series deficit to win a conference title. But that did nothing to slow down one of the most rabid fan bases in sports.

Stephen Curry fever is taking over not just the Bay Area following his part in an epic comeback against the Oklahoma City Thunder to win the Western Conference Finals, but the entire nation. For the month of May, Curry was the top-selling jersey in the NBA and best-selling NBA player in 48 of the 50 U.S. states on Fanatics.com.

Apart from the obvious – LeBron James owning Ohio and Kevin Durant taking Oklahoma – Curry was the most popular jersey in every other state through the first full month of the NBA Playoffs.

Stephen Curry is the top-selling NBA athlete for May 2016 in 48 out of 50 states, with LeBron James and Kevin Durant each assuming one state.
Stephen Curry is the top-selling NBA athlete for May 2016 in 48 out of 50 states, with LeBron James and Kevin Durant each assuming one state.

Klay Thompson: Much More than a Sidekick

Curry may dominate the league’s jersey sales, but it isn’t taking away from his fellow Splash Brother’s explosion in merchandise sales – not one bit, actually.

Warriors guard Klay Thompson is booming in popularity with a more than 350% increase in sales compared to the same time last year. Often forgotten in the wake of Curry’s greatness, Thompson has completely stepped out of the shadows in this postseason.

Without Thompson, it’s safe to say the Warriors wouldn’t even be here. Thompson canned 11 three-pointers for 41 points in a must-win Game 6 on the road in Oklahoma City, including 19 fourth-quarter points to complete the comeback and save the Warriors’ season.

Golden State and NBA fans certainly took notice.

Strength in Numbers

When winning consecutive conference titles, most fan bases sell more merchandise for the initial title than the second one. But the Warriors don’t have most fan bases.

Compared to last year’s West title, Warriors merchandise sales are up more than 180% on Fanatics.com. While repeat champions don’t typically see an increase in sales from the first title, Golden State is a rare exception as they continue to make NBA history while captivating the casual sports fan.

While Golden State’s reign on the NBA strengthens, so does the breadth of their fans. As shown by Fanatics research on Warriors fandom in the Bay Area and Warriors fandom outside the Bay Area, the team’s ascension into the NBA’s elite is reflected by their fan base growing virally across the nation.

After ending a 40-year NBA title drought with a championship in 2015, the Warriors’ thirst for rings has been far from quenched. And with a full-strength Cleveland Cavaliers side coming to town this time around, you can bet a Finals repeat would be even sweeter than the first for Golden State Warriors players and fans that can’t wait to stock up on more jerseys, shirts and hats to potentially celebrate a back-to-back championship.

Sources

http://www.nba.com/2016/news/05/25/teams-to-overcome-3-1-series-deficits-in-playoffs-boston-celtics-los-angeles-lakers-washington-wizards-houston-rockets-miami-heat-detroit-pistons-phoenix-suns/

http://www.nba.com/games/20160528/GSWOKC/gameinfo.html

Methodology

We looked at Fanatics merchandise sales data across the United States throughout the month of May 2016, comparing when necessary to the same time period as the Warriors’ Western Conference Finals clinch over the Houston Rockets in 2015 to garner year-over-year sales increases.

Toronto Raptors on Twitter Live

Real-Time Tweets About the Toronto Raptors

After winning a franchise-high 56 games this season, the Toronto Raptors and their fans felt good about the postseason. However, after bouncing out in the first round of the playoffs the past two years – losing 4-3 to the Brooklyn Nets in 2014, and 4-0 to the Washington Wizards in 2015 – fans remained skeptical and tempered their expectations. Would this be the year their team finally made it out of the first round?

They couldn’t answer that question, but hopes remained high that Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozen would figure it out. Fans – including the beloved rapper behind “Hotline Bling,” Drake – signaled on Twitter that they’re in support of their Raptors in their postseason campaign with the hashtag #WeTheNorth. Their adopted “us versus them” stance would be vocalized in the Air Canada Centre and shared socially through tweets. (If you’re interested to see how active your team – or rivals – have been, take a look at all the engagement on our live-ranking NBA Playoffs on Twitter feature.)

Taking the Indiana Pacers to 7

The Indiana Pacers arrived in Canada ready to steal wins away from the Toronto Raptors. Raptor fans just wanted to see their team make it out of the first round of the playoffs. Despite holding onto the lead for the first half, Paul George and the Pacers surged ahead to win Game 1, 100-91. This didn’t dampen the spirits of Raptor fans; they continued to remind Twitter: #WeTheNorth.

The Raptors clawed back in the next two games winning by margins of 11 and 16 points. Ahead 2-1, the two sides started trading wins. Indiana won Games 4 and 6 and Toronto won Games 5 and 7. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan worked magic and helped their team out of the first round of the playoffs. Fans fired out tweet after tweet, keeping the digital after-party alive as they prepared themselves for their next adversary, the Miami Heat.

Miami Bring the Heat

Not one fan expected the Heat – with Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragić leading the assault – would make it an easy series for their Raptors. Game 1 turned into an extended contest, with both sides unable to settle things in regulation. In overtime, Wade helped secure victory for Miami. Unnerved fans wondered if their first trip to the second round of the playoffs would be short lived.

As the series progressed, tiny margins separated the two sides. Toronto took Games 2, 3, and 5, while Miami claimed Games 4 and 6. Again, Toronto found themselves in a must-win Game 7 if they wanted to appear in their first Eastern Conference Finals. While the first six games were close – settled by an average of 7 points or less – the Raptors roared ahead with a statement victory, beating the Heat by 27 points. Lowry and DeRozan combined for 63 points, and the fans erupted. Tweet after tweet welcomed their next challenger to take a swing. They were on to Cleveland.

Toronto’s Next Test: Cleveland

Facing a team that won 10 playoff games in a row, Toronto’s fans – thoroughly active via Twitter – were less sure about their ability to beat Cleveland and their all-star lineup of LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving. In Game 1, the Raptors experienced a blowout losing to the Cavs, 118-84. Even as they attempted to battle back in Game 2, Cleveland played the bully and swatted the Raptors back, taking a 2-0 lead over their northern rivals.

With an early exit looming, Toronto battled back taking Games 3 and 4, reenergizing their fans. Hope remained, and the possibility of a trip to the NBA Finals stayed alive. Tied 2-2 heading into Game 5, Toronto’s players and fans were shocked by Cleveland’s complete domination. Losing by almost 40 points, Raptors fans again questioned if this was the end. Now the Raptors have to force a Game 7 to keep their dreams alive.
How can you show your friends and family that #WeTheNorth? Get the best Toronto Raptors gear by heading to Fanatics.com.

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Cleveland Cavaliers on Twitter Live

Real-Time Tweets About the Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James went back to Cleveland as league MVP and an NBA Champion, and now he might finally bring the latter back to his home city. It’s the timeless story of a local boy who’s grown up into a successful man and eventually done right by his community. But this king knew he’d need a strong supporting cast to ensure he fulfilled his promise; enter Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. They had come so close last season, ultimately losing in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, that fans could feel it at the beginning of the season. This was the Cavaliers’ year.

Check out below just how passionate and active the Cleveland Cavalier fans are on Twitter – and this is only the past 24 hours. They’ve been just as loud online as they’ve been in the Quicken Loans Arena.


Cleveland, the Sweep City

If the Golden State Warriors get to be “Splash City,” Cleveland’s performance in the first two rounds of the playoffs should earn them the honor of being called “Sweep City.” After losing to the Detroit Pistons in the final game of the regular season, LeBron’s team transformed into an unstoppable behemoth. It only took the minimum of four games against the Pistons in the playoffs to banish them to the postseason. Fans flocked to Twitter to share their enthusiasm, further emboldened by this sweep. (If you’re interested to see how active your team – or rivals – have been, take a look at all the engagement on our live-ranking NBA Playoffs on Twitter feature.)

The Atlanta Hawks had the next opportunity to try and make LeBron regret his decision to leave Miami. Despite the fan concern that Atlanta presented a better challenge, having beaten the Boston Celtics to advance to the second round, there was no stopping the Cavaliers. In another four-game series, LeBron, Kyrie, and Kevin managed even more impressive wins, piecing together double-digit wins in three of their four contests (11, 25, and 13 points).

Even though Cleveland fans had been watching their team manhandle the Atlanta Hawks, they had been looking ahead. Miami and an opportunity for LeBron to jettison his former team out of the playoffs, which loomed in the distance.

Raptors Ready to Rumble

While the Cavs enjoyed an extra few days of rest, they watched from their homes in Ohio to see who their next victim would be. When the Raptors roared back, on more than one occasion, extinguishing the Heat and advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals, few fans expected the series to be long.

After the first game, it seemed as if Cleveland’s place in the NBA Finals was written in the stars. When LeBron James and Kyrie Irving can combine for 51 points, a win is expected. Walking away from the first game with a 31-point victory over the Toronto Raptors, Cleveland fans tasted another sweep. They took to Twitter, sharing their excitement and cheering on their team.

A 19-point victory followed in Game 2, where the Cavaliers dispatched their opponents without prejudice. This wasn’t sport. It wasn’t even business. It was personal – LeBron wanted Cleveland to have their NBA title. James provided a triple-double and helped to keep their 10-game postseason winning streak alive and well. Fans had to start legitimately thinking about what excuse they’d use to get off work for the NBA Finals.

But then the Raptors clawed their way out of the hole. Stringing together back-to-back wins, 10-game win streak now erased, the Cavaliers were reduced to even footing for the first time in the 2015-16 NBA Playoffs. Their fans wondered where the dominant performances had gone. They were demanding that one of their big three – LeBron, Kevin, or Kyrie – step up. Kevin Love heard them loud and clear.

Playing just 24 minutes in Game 5, Kevin Love scored 25 points and helped the Cavaliers avoid losing three in a row to the Raptors. LeBron and Kyrie contributed in kind, each adding 23 points a piece. Followed up with an oppressive defensive performance, Cleveland defeated Toronto 116-78 to regain the series lead, 3-2. Faith restored, the fans once again believed that winning everything this year was a matter of destiny.

One more win and LeBron & Co. head back to the NBA Finals for the second time in two years. Be #ALLin216 and head to fanatics.com to stock up on the best Cleveland Cavalier gear.

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OKC Thunder On Twitter Live

Real-Time Tweets About the Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City weren’t supposed to be here. After losing to the Golden State Warriors, the Thunder players should’ve been packing their bags for a postseason vacation. The front office should’ve been hard at work in assembling next year’s team. And the fans should’ve been talking about trade rumors and what needs fixing in the off-season. But that’s the funny thing about should’ves. Instead of following the script, OKC are ready to send Steph Curry and the reigning NBA Champions home prematurely.

Twitter’s felt the impact of the Thunder’s performance, and fans are furiously tweeting when their team has been defying all the pundit’s expectations. Leading up to the game, and continuing after the final whistle, their fans have been showing their love for KD and Westbrook.

Below is a look at how many tweets the Thunder have been mentioned in during the last 24 hours.


 

Oklahoma Defies Expectations

Billy Donovan’s Thunder have pivoted throughout the first two rounds of the NBA playoffs – sending the Dallas Mavericks packing and roaring back against the San Antonio Spurs – to find themselves on the brink of completing one of the most unexpected playoff upsets in the league’s history.

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and the rest of the OKC lineup have all played a part in this historic story, and fans have found their voice throughout the series on Twitter. (If you’re interested to see how active your team – or rivals – have been, take a look at all the engagement on our live-ranking NBA Playoffs on Twitter feature.)

Starting with a climactic away victory in Game 1, Oklahoma City energized their fans with an unbelievable second-half rally that left them tweeting from the edge of their seats. Kevin Durant nailed a 17-foot two-pointer with 30 seconds left in regulation to steal the result away from the home support. While this silenced Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr and the home fans at the Oracle Area, online Thunder fans unleashed a storm of tweets celebrating the hard-fought win.

Thunder Rallies Back

Heading into Game 3, Steph Curry and the Warriors had managed to even the series. After losing 118-91, Oklahoma City wanted to ensure their home court, Chesapeake Energy Arena, remained a fortress that was unwelcoming and intimidating to the guests. Oklahoma City took to broadcasting the rallying cry #ThunderUp in hopes of shocking their supporters into action. And did it help …

Both teams traded shots in the first quarter and a half, but then Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka took over the game. With 3:51 left in the third quarter, Oklahoma City had established a 34-point lead over Golden State. Try as they might, Steph, Draymond, and Klay couldn’t piece together a solution to the aggressive play of Westbrook.

As the Thunder pulled away, ultimately beating the Warriors by 28 points, 133-105, the jubilant home fans then channeled their feelings and support into 140-character-or-less celebrations shot directly into the Twitterverse. However, an altercation between the Thunder’s Draymond Green and Golden State’s Steven Adams dominated the conversation after the game.

Whether intentional or unintentional contact, Draymond Green had been a question mark for Game 4. Would the league see fit to suspend him, or would he get away with a Stern warning? Fans on both sides were passionately tweeting – OKC supporters said suspension, Warriors enthusiasts said let him play. Opting to let him play, the NBA did not pursue a suspension against Draymond. He was free to play.

While Draymond commanded the headlines before Game 4, Russell Westbrook stole the show during the game. Dishing up 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists, he created a problem that stumped Golden State and enraptured fans for all 48 minutes.

After falling to the Warriors in Game 5, Kevin Durant came to say that “both teams were in a slugfest tonight, so we’ve got to bring that energy back home.” It sounds as if KD and the rest of the Thunder are prepared to win the Western Conference Finals and advance to play their Eastern competitors.

With Game 6 approaching fast, the Warriors are faced with a must-win scenario if they hope to remain in the playoffs. Maybe Golden State didn’t see any lightning as a forewarning, but by now the Warriors and the rest of the NBA have heard the kaboom of the Thunder loud and clear.

#ThunderUp by heading to fanatics.com to get all the gear you need to represent OKC on their impressive post-season run.

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Golden State Warriors on Twitter Live

Real-Time Tweets About the Golden State Warriors

Golden State’s miracle season might be receiving its last rites. After a record-shattering regular season win-loss total of 73-9, the Warriors continued to step further away from back-to-back championships. Down 3-2 to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State now must string together three consecutive wins to return to the NBA Finals for a second straight year.

Out of the two teams to ever exceed 70 wins in the regular season – the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls and the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors – only the latter would have not gone on to become the league’s champions. But where did it start to unravel?

Golden State Warriors fans’ activity tended to peak during the games, and a few unanticipated defeats have left their supporters a little silent now that the game is over. Check out the number of mentions in the past 24 hours on Twitter below, and then keep reading to hear how it all went down.


 It Was Golden State’s Title to Lose

With the NBA’s Coach and Player of the Year, Steve Kerr and Steph Curry, focused on returning to the finals, Golden State made quick work of their first opponents, the Houston Rockets. While the series finished in five games, it could have ended in four (Houston’s only win came in a 97-96 contest). Fans expected these wins, commenting online as if their team were perennial favorites, not as if they supported a team whose previous championship came 40 years prior to their success in 2014-15. Check out how the Golden State Warriors compare with other playoff teams on our NBA Playoffs on Twitter feature!

Progressing forward, Golden State replicated similar performances against the Portland Trail Blazers. However, the overall team performance begged fans to start having the conversation out in the open and online through Twitter, “Are we sure we can repeat?” The Warriors bested Houston by scores of 26, 9, 27, and 33. They only managed to beat Portland by margins of 8, 11, 7, and 4 points. They went from dominant and all-convincing to winning, questionably.

It didn’t help fans that the team they wanted to face, the San Antonio Spurs, had been shown the door by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Panic had begun to set in, whether or not anyone was willing to admit it. Golden State had owned the regular season meetings against Gregg Popovich’s men, 4 games to 3. While they had experienced better success against the Oklahoma City in the regular season, 4 games to 1, fans couldn’t deny that the Thunder were hot.

Golden State Weren’t Ready for OKC

Oklahoma City rode their hot streak right into Oracle Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors, and snatched Game 1 away from them. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way, and the fans shared their feelings with one another about their disappointment. In the regular season, Oracle Arena had been a fortress where the Warriors had won a record-setting 54 games in a row. The coaches, players, and fans were ready for a turnaround – and they got one.

Scoring 15 points in under two minutes, Steph Curry’s electric performance had people jumping in the area – and tweeting like crazy. His heroic performance in Game 2 made all the difference, and the fans couldn’t stop talking about it. Just like that, everyone was a believer again in the Golden State back-to-back championship drive. Well, everyone except Oklahoma City.

Playing away from home, the Warriors never found a groove in Game 3 and ended up losing 133-105. Beyond the score, contact between Draymond Green and OKC’s Steven Adams became a large point of conversation among fans. Those supporting the Golden State Warriors hoped the league wouldn’t suspend Draymond, and their 140-character-or-less prayers would be answered by the NBA. He would be allowed to compete in Game 4.

Klay Thompson tried to will a win into existence, but with a less-than-100% Steph Curry performance drawing questions from fans as to just how healthy he wasn’t, it wasn’t in the cards. Oklahoma City continued their postseason dominance over Golden State, pushing their opponents to the brink.

After a season-saving Game 5, Steph Curry reassured Warriors fans at the Chase Center by roaring “We ain’t going home,” after poking the ball away from Kevin Durant and scoring a layup on the other end.

Behind 3-2, the Warriors have to bring every thing they got to Oklahoma City if they wish to keep their NBA Championship dreams alive. Maybe it’s time for the will and word of the fans to take hold and rally their heroes to victory.

Make sure you’re representing Splash City by getting all the right Golden State Warriors gear at Fanatics.com.

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