Omnipresent on defense and stellar on offense, Andre Roberson was incredible for the Oklahoma City in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. Roberson played in a season-high 40 minutes and racked up stats only approached in his time in Boulder. He finished with 17 points on 7-12 shooting, 12 rebounds (10 defensive), 3 assists, 5 steals and 2 blocks. OKC was +25 with Roberson on the court.
Those 17 points were a career-high for Roberson. He hasn't scored more than 17 in a game since February of 2013, when he had 24 against Stanford (which infamously ended on Dwight Powell's failed buzzer-beater dunk attempt). In his three years in college, he reached 17 only nine times.
Perhaps more impressively than his scoring, Roberson's rebound and steal totals were both career-highs. His three assists tied his season-high. It's fair to say Roberson had the game of his life, and it occurred on the biggest stage he's ever played on.
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With their grinding win in Oakland and consecutive home blowouts, the Thunder now lead the series 3-1 and are on the verge of advancing to the NBA Finals. Westbrook's triple double and Kevin Durant's ho-hum prolificacy will garner the media attention, but the impact of Roberson shouldn't be overlooked.
Oklahoma City spent the majority of the game with Roberson playing as the nominal power forward. Flanked by elite shooters at the 3 and 5 in Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka, respectively, Roberson was in no danger of clogging up the offense's spacing and was free to cut to the hoop whenever the opportunity was ripe. Not only was Roberson able to find offensive success, but the entire OKC offense opened up in a way they've seen with him on the floor.
If you didn't read last week's preview of Roberson role in this series, I'll sum it up: Roberson is basically an anti-Warrior cheat code because of his defensive versatility and would need to stay on the floor as much as possible if OKC wanted to take full advantage of their best defensive lineup. The issue was that has Roberson struggled to stay on the floor in the playoffs because his lack of offensive skillset was death on their offense, which was nearly inevitable unless coach Billy Donovan used him creatively.
To sum up the summary: Andre Roberson needed to play power forward if he was going to the most valuable he could be.
To sum up the summary of the summary: Toot! Toot!
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Now that Roberson is firmly entrenched as an offensive threat and traumatically remembered as an ace defender, Golden State will pay more respect to him, which will assuredly open up Oklahoma City's offense even more. If you watched the last couple of games, a better OKC offense is difficult to imagine. And considering OKC's defense is as good as it's ever been -- thanks to Andre! -- any more offense looks to doom the Warriors chances of a comeback.
Andre Roberson is subtly leading the Thunder to the Finals, and all of Colorado Faithful can rejoice in the excellence of a beloved Buff.