Box Score | Golden State of Mind
On a night when the biggest story happened off the court, the Oklahoma City Thunder just couldn't hang with the best team in the NBA, falling 117-91 to the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors got contributions from pretty much their entire roster, with five guys finishing in double figures. Every Warriors player on the roster scored. The Thunder, meanwhile, couldn't overcome the struggles of both their stars as Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined to shoot just 8-for-37 from the field.
The Warriors entered the game as the league's top defense, and they forced not just Westbrook and Durant, but the entire Thunder roster into tough shots all night. A 31-20 2nd quarter created all the separation Golden State needed as they went into the break with a 20-point lead, the largest halftime lead they've ever held over OKC.
The Thunder never really threatened the rest of the way, as they were never able to get the lead down to single digits. Scott Brooks surrendered early, pulling the starters about five minutes into the fourth and calling it a night.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
The first reaction is to be frustrated, because although OKC has looked tremendous of late, they still haven't had a signature win outside of the Christmas Day victory over the Spurs. The Thunder had already lost the previous two matchups against the Warriors, but unlike in those contests when injuries could be used as an excuse, the full-strength Thunder seemed poised to announce to the world that they are back and ready to contend.
That was probably getting ahead of ourselves, though, considering Durant is still working his way back into the lineup after coming back from the rolled ankle. It shouldn't be a surprise that if Westbrook and Durant are both struggling, the Thunder simply can't hang. Still, it's disappointing that a game of this magnitude didn't bring out a little something extra from the Thunder.
The loss also drops OKC to 17-18 on the year, as they sit 2.5 games back of the 8 seed. There's still a lot of season left, but the addition of Dion Waiters means another adjustment period is around the corner. There's no reason to panic, but it's still disappointing not to have something to hang your hat on as the games slowly become more and more meaningful as the season ramps up.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder lost?
You don't really have to look much further than that shooting percentage. The Warriors kept the Thunder offense in check, and got out quickly off the missed shots and torched the Thunder in transition. The Thunder actually outscored the Warriors on the fastbreak, but it was the way the Warriors used the misses to create mismatches and get into their free-flowing offense quickly that the was too much for the Thunder defense to handle.
If you're digging for a bright spot, Steven Adams continued to look solid as he has put together a solid 3-week stretch. Adams finished with 10 points and 9 rebounds in just 21 minutes. Kendrick Perkins did well in his first half minutes, but the Warriors play so small that the Thunder bigs are no match to keep up with much more athletic guys like Draymond Green.
That's the challenge the Thunder will face when playing the Warriors, because while the bigs can get inside and score against the smaller Warriors' defenders, they simply aren't quick enough to play the perimeter and when the Warriors are hitting their threes (which they usually are), it creates some difficult decisions for Brooks.
All in all, it was just a bad night from the field, combined with a great night for the Warriors. The Thunder will get a chance to avenge this defeat and avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Warriors when Golden State comes to town next week. Perhaps they will find a way to make a statement in that one.
Thunder Wonder: Steven Adams: 10 points, 9 rebounds
Thunder Down Under: Jeremy Lamb: Just because he's pretty much out of the rotation at this point so him jacking it up in garbage time was well-deserved. Poor Lambo.
Thunder Blunder: Westbrook/Durant: 8-for-37 shooting, 4 turnovers.
Thunder Plunderer: Draymond Green: (11 points, 13 rebounds) and Harrison Barnes (5-5 from 3). Aw heck, they all deserve it.
Next game: @ Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, 1/7 at 9:30 PM CDT