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Thunder vs Warriors preview and gamethread: OKC faces the champs without Westbrook, Roberson, possibly Adams

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So it begins.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Game: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Golden State Warriors

Time: 9:30PM CST

Location: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA

Broadcast: TNT

***

The Thunder debut in the 2018-19 season far away from the safe haven that is the ‘Peake, and instead in the belly of the gym that represents everything they want. And they’re doing it with close to zero chance of competing tonight.

The Warriors kick off their season at home and in preparation to raise the championship banner and pass out some jewelry. The Thunder, much to our dismay, will be playing the champs absent Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, and potentially Steven Adams, which all but kills their chances of making this any type of competitive battle.

It is unfortunate for us and for the league, because we were hoping to see how OKC might seriously stack up against the best team in the league who, while lacking Shaun Livingston and new acquisition DeMarcus Cousins, still possess more offensive firepower than anyone. We hoped we’d get to see Russ go after Durant again, Adams knock heads with Draymond Green, and get a glimpse as to whether Paul George could help neutralize the Splash Bros.

Maybe next time.

But on this night, it’s still not all for naught. There will be lessons to be gleaned, particularly who coach Billy Donovan starts at shooting guard and power forward. How newcomer Dennis Schroder will perform in Westbrook’s place. How key role players Alex Abrines, Nerlens Noel, and rookie Hamidou Diallo perform against Golden State.

Most importantly, the Thunder will be able to look at the measuring stick by which all other teams will be compared this season, and see what it takes to be good enough.

If I were Donovan, I would keep Adams on the bench, run the bench unit for 35 minutes, and punt on this one. The Warriors have earned the right to have an easy opener, so let them claim their trophy and set the Thunder’s hearts on what they want most in the proper frame of mind. They are the hunters, and it is time to see whether they can take down the giant.

Poll

Who do you think will win tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Thunder
    (22 votes)
  • 67%
    Warriors
    (46 votes)
68 votes total Vote Now