Tonight’s setback punctuates Oklahoma City’s 0-4 seasonal sweep at the hands of rival Golden State.
While OKC hung around early, Steve Kerr’s powder-keg offense exploded in the second frame to eliminate all competitive semblances.
Among the Warriors’ 13 players to contribute 2+ points, GSW’s starting backcourt of Steph Curry (23) and Klay Thompson (34) combined to lead their team’s dominant effort vs. Billy Donovan’s exasperated crew.
This season, Oklahoma City suffered an 18.5 ppg margin of loss to the NBA’s winningest collective.
Though OKC entered Chesapeake Energy Arena winners of five-straight, while hurdling a vexing road-performance barrier, somber reality concerning the team’s pecking-order status sunk in as the clock hit zeros.
Oklahoma City shot just 42/19/54 while Russell Westbrook’s 4-16 FG, 1-of-6 3PM, 15 pt outing represented his season’s worst.
Though, most troubling was Oklahoma City’s poor execution not just when tasked by Golden State’s swarming defense, but in areas over which they had control —17-31 FTA, 19 PF.
Amid the chaos, Victor Oladipo (17), Enes Kanter (15), Semaj Christon (10), and Taj Gibson (10) added double-digit scoring to OKC’s cause.
Following a rough patch minus Durant (Knee), Golden State extends a now four-game winning streak to keep San Antonio at arm’s length for the West’s top spot.
The Warriors finished with 15 made threes, 28 assists on 40 FGM, and a decided 16-7 advantage in fast-break points.
Clearly, Oklahoma City (40-30 #6 west) would do well to avoid Golden State’s opening section of the conference’s playoff bracket.
While the Thunder is a tough-minded, grinding iteration, styles make series. And Golden State’s perimeter firepower and defensive intensity is an undeniable bug-a-boo for young OKC.
After a day of reflection, Oklahoma City will conclude its mini home-stand vs. 26-win Philadelphia.
Deadlocked in a battle with Memphis (40-30) and LAC (41-29) for mid-level post-season positioning, nine of the Thunder’s twelve remaining starts come against teams with sub .500 records.
Come mid-April, Oklahoma City could conceivably open in the fifth slot vs. Utah. However, should OKC advance, Golden State —with a healthy Durant— would likely await.
As the teams’ circumstances have been inexorably linked for the past ten months, an eventual playoff matchup would be fitting.