|2014-15 NBA Season Game 15
|November 22nd, 2014
|Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
|6:00 PM Central Standard Time
|TV: National Basketball Association Television, Fox Sports Network Oklahoma, Comcast Sports Network Bay Area
|Injury Report: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Perry Jones III, Mitch McGary, Grant Jerrett (Out), David Lee (Out)
|Previous Matchups: Nov 14 (L 115-116), Nov 29 (W 113-112), Jan 17 (W 127-121)
I've been a pretty hardcore Warriors fan for most of my life, and I can't remember a team that's been this good. Granted, I'm only 23, but I still think that's pretty remarkable. With new coach Steve Kerr captaining the ship, the Warriors have bolted out to a 9-2 record that has everyone doing reality checks. A early injury to David Lee only seems to have taken the team down a notch, as they find ways to outscore their opponents with ease.
What's the reason for improvement? Kerr's new offensive system has to be at the top of the list. The previous Warriors coach, Mark Jackson, was well liked by players but derided for his simple offensive scheme. It almost seemed to be stuck in a bygone era, calling for constant isolations and very little motion. This Kerr offense is the opposite, and uses each player to their own advantage. Nobody is ever asked to do too much, and Curry is given significant chance to work off the ball.
There are other factors at play, as well. The most significant has to be the time put in by Curry and Thompson over the Summer in Spain, allowing them to grow and develop their games. Perhaps more importantly, the Splash Brothers came into training camp in game shape, which probably factors into early-season performance. Another factor in the Dubs' favor has been their off-season acquisitions. Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa are a pair of experienced, cool-headed guards that are always going to make good decisions. This is in wild contrast to last year's pairing of the defenseless Steve Blake and the loose cannon known as Jordan Crawford. Lastly, the return of Festus Ezeli at backup center has already paid dividends on the defensive end. Jermaine O'Neal might have been good for a few scoring runs last year, but his age definitely hurt the Dubs defensively.
How will the Warriors fare against this incarnation of the Thunder? My scouting report isn't good, I'm afraid. The Warriors are ridiculously offensively efficient, and stock some of the best three point shooters in the league. The Thunder have been lucky enough to avoid these types of teams on the schedule thus far, but I feel like they're going to give the Thunder serious problems. OKC has been terrible about covering the perimeter during critical junctures this season, and I've seen no sign of it changing.
Of course, the Warriors could have a freak night, much as Houston did about a week back. But otherwise, the Thunder just don't have enough firepower to compete with this Warriors team, nor the personnel to stop them. So far this season, the Warriors have lost twice. Once to a Spurs team that outscored them with perfect offense, and once to a Suns team that kept them in foul trouble. It's really hard to see the Thunder doing either.
Prediction: Golden State Warriors 107, Oklahoma City Thunder 93
What do you think of tonight's game? Drop a comment and let us know!