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What We Learned About the Warriors (and Their Fans) in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals

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Getty Images

The Warriors’ 118–91 victory over the Thunder was, in a way, a vintage performance from Golden State. An intense and evenly matched game in the early stages was drained of all its competitiveness in a flash by the staggering genius of Stephen Curry. The Warriors have answered the Thunder, tying the series at one win apiece as it migrates to Oklahoma City. Here are a few other discoveries we made in last night’s blowout in Game 2.

Mount Golden State Erupted Out of Nowhere

Chris Ryan: Coming out of halftime of Game 2, the Thunder were still in touching distance of the Warriors, staying under the dreaded 15-point margin from which only one team has recovered in the past two years. With 7:23 left in the third quarter, Andre Roberson cut the Golden State lead to seven, and OKC seemed a Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook spurt away from taking over the game. Then the basketball version of Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks happened. A tech on Durant after he fouled Steph Curry led to … I’m sorry, I blacked out there for a second. These numbers I’m looking at say Steph scored 15 points in less than two minutes of game time, did one of his walk-off 3s, and helped bring the lead up to 20 by the end of the third quarter. We’ve been comparing Golden State’s offensive output to acts of god and nature for almost two full seasons now. When are we going to start comparing acts of nature to them?

The Thunder are going to need to remember a pillar of wisdom from Lawrence of Arabia: the trick is not minding that it hurts. Before the series, if you had offered Billy Donovan a split heading back home, he would have bitten your hand off. OKC knows what it feels like to beat Golden State; the Thunder just need to forget about how bad it feels to lose to them.

There Are No Heroes in the Oracle Arena Crowd

Jason Concepcion: At the end of the first quarter of the Warriors’ Game 2 spiritual demolition of the Thunder at Oracle Arena, Steph Curry, father of two — upon whose slender shoulders rest the dreams of Bay Area fans and a handful of Silicon Valley’s self-congratulatory Ayn Rand enthusiasts — dove into the crowd after a loose ball. He really didn’t need to do it. But, whatever, he did. As their hero hurtled toward them, the fans in the crowd parted like a Tinder match after no more than 45 minutes. Many an internet tough-person opined that they, of course, would have stepped in to catch Steph. Self-preservation is an instinct; when a large man is coming at you headlong at a dead run, the lizard brain kicks in and says "OHSHITLOOKOUT." That’s evolution. That’s why we’re here as a species. Let us not judge those lest we have driven a mile in their Teslas … Whatever the case, as the near-tragedy unfolded, the Oracle fans made some really great faces.

This is a power ranking of those faces.

1. The woman who looks like she’s watching a toddler wander into the busy intersection in front of the Starbucks where she’s waiting patiently for her iced venti soy caramel macchiato.

2. The Dr. Cornel West dopplegänger momentarily knocked senseless and into a realm where time has no meaning because of a sudden and unexpected proximity to Steph Curry’s mortal form.

3. The Andy Dwyer Face meme guy.

4. His fraternal twin sister.

5. Curry getting Odor’d by a mystery fist.

6. The Warriors employee screaming "NOOOOOOOOO!!!" in slow motion as his job security flashes before his eyes.

7. Witness protection Steve Bartman.

8. Arash Markazi, ESPN.

9. Bro, what are you looking at?

10. These two old dudes who are, for whatever reason, enjoying this.

Honorary Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler Award for dude with no self-awareness: this guy.

Andre Iguodala Almost Died

Ryan: On Wednesday, following Game 1, The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks wrote that it would be "important for Iguodala and [Shaun] Livingston to take advantage of Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, and Serge Ibaka in space and generate ball movement by getting to the rim." Iguodala scored 14 points, nicked three steals, ended the game plus-18, and provided the non-Steph highlight of the night with this acrobatic and-1. He also gave the This Is 40 quote of the evening when describing the play: "It wasn’t fun. I thought I was going to die." I feel you, Iggy.

Steph Curry vs. Kevin Durant: Why Has Nobody Thought of This Before?

Ryan: It has honestly never occurred to me to pit Durant and Steph against one another. This is an era of teams, of systems, of team-building plans being executed perfectly, from the front office to the playing floor. We don’t really think in terms of one-on-one rivalries the way we did in Bird and Magic’s time or Jordan’s time. Maybe that’s a testament to how well-adjusted our stars are these days. Whatever the reason, I was almost scandalized when Curry and Durant got tangled up in the third quarter. And like anything that scandalizes, there’s a bit of a teasing allure. No matter which team wins this series, can we please, please, please get more of these two going punch for punch with one another?

This piece originally appeared on the Ringer Facebook page on May 19, 2016.