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Thunder vs Warriors, final score: OKC powers past Warriors, 123-95

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The Thunder formulate an impressive win, but may have lost rookie Diallo to injury.

Mr. Charles M. Schultz

box score | Golden State of Mind

The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Golden State Warriors on the road, 123-95. In a game marked more by who wasn’t suiting up than the intense head-to-head matchup the game has become between the two teams, OKC used a devastating 27-6 4th quarter run to put away Golden State. The Thunder move to 11-6 on the season while the Warriors drop their 4th straight.

The Thunder were led by Dennis Schroder, who had a massive bounce-back game after a terrible outing in Sacramento. Schroder finished with 32 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists on 12-19 shooting, including 5-6 from three. Paul George finished 25-9-5 along with 2 steals, and was instrumental in keying the Thunder defense throughout. Steven Adams, not having to deal with Draymond Green or an injured DeMarcus Cousins, finished with 20-11 on 9-14 shooting. Lastly, Russell Westbrook, despite looking still slightly hobbled and dealing with fatigue, ended up with a triple-double, recording an 11-13-11 in 33 minutes.

As the Thunder were pushing to victory in the end, however, rookie Hamidou Diallo suffered what looked to be a severe leg injury, as his left leg got caught underneath a Warriors player as they both fell to the floor.

We will update Diallo’s injury as details emerge. And unfortunately Terrance Ferguson, making his way back onto the court following the birth of his daughter, suffered an ankle injury in the early going and did not return.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this was a game the Thunder really needed to put forth a good effort and win. The Warriors are obviously going through struggles without Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, and without those two guys on the court, their entire system changes. OKC, coming off a tough loss to Sacramento, owed it to themselves not to get sloppy against a championship team who could out-system them to death if the Thunder let them.

But OKC didn’t. They used their superior length and athleticism, inside strength, got a surprise game out of Schroder, and didn’t wilt when Klay Thompson cut the lead to 4 in the 4th quarter. OKC’s response — running off 14 straight points, mostly keyed off their defense — was the kind of recovery we’ve been seeing much of this season, and was sorely lacking last year.

Lastly, the one thing that really caught my attention as OKC was putting the Warriors away in the 4th was, with Golden State’s entire offense either running through Kevin Durant or Thompson, how simple it was for OKC to defend it. It is as if, when you just take turns running ISO plays, a defense can just sit back, wait for the primary action to unfold, and make quick adjustments to stop it. Again and again it looked like Adams, George and the bunch were just waiting for Golden State to make their move so OKC could snuff it out with a steal or a block. In other words, I hope the irony of that unfolding scene was not lost on OKC.

Happy Thanks giving, kid:

Next game: vs scoring machine Kemba Walker and the Hornets on Friday, 11/23 at 7PMCST