Well the Warriors finally got the better of OKC last night, defeating the Thunder by a final score of 112-80. It was ugly, weird, and frustrating thanks to a multitude of different storylines.
The Thunder shot just 33% for the night, Paul George had only 5 points, and suddenly OKC is now the 7th seed in the West, tied in the loss column with the 9th place Clippers. The conference is one giant mess right now, and the Thunder are right in the thick of it.
As for the Thunder-Warriors series, I don’t think we’ll ever see a close game. ESPN’s Royce Young pointed out the margins since last season:
The Warriors and Thunder don't know how to play a close game. Since last season, the margins:— Royce Young (@royceyoung) February 25, 2018
It began as a rock fight, and ended as a blowout. Shooting 33% will cause that, especially against a team like Golden State. The Warriors did a great job cutting off the Thunder wings, who’ve created plenty of their offense in previous wins over the defending champs.
There were certainly frustrations on the OKC sideline, and the emotional aspect of the game naturally reared its head as it often does in Thunder-Warriors games. First it was Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony chirping back and forth, followed by a shove from Melo. He then got into it with Draymond Green, spiking his headband on the floor after Green caught him in a eye. It was an eventful blowout, but the biggest stir came from our old friend Zaza Pachulia.
Late in the third quarter, Pachulia fell onto Russell Westbrook’s leg in what looked to be a very intentional manner. Instead of ranting about what a dirty player he is, I’m just going to let Twitter do the work.
Dirty or accidental? pic.twitter.com/Yq47Qh2BtI— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) February 25, 2018
Russell Westbrook on Zaza Pachulia falling on him, and asked if he’s a dirty player: “Yeah. For sure.” pic.twitter.com/w9ZH0AwVP1— Royce Young (@royceyoung) February 25, 2018
Paul George on the Pachulia play: “I’m going to take the Russ approach: Did you see what happened? You know Zaza, you know his history. Nobody pushed him. He aimed his fall ... He’s on the end of hurting a lot of guys.”— Royce Young (@royceyoung) February 25, 2018
Zaza Pachulia on Russell Westbrook’s claim that he intentionally tried to hurt him: “No comment. That’s childish. Come on. I’m not responding to that.”— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 25, 2018
Kyrie Irving has thoughts on Pachulia falling on Westbrook’s leg: “that s*** is ridiculous” pic.twitter.com/fPJayhbzT4— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) February 25, 2018
Good lord. If Steven Adams had fallen onto Curry's leg like that Warriors fans would be demanding he be detained at the airport and prosecuted. https://t.co/aW4dFI1XE9— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) February 25, 2018
- Zaza Pachulia is a dirty basketball player with a long, documented history of this kind of behavior, and the NBA needs to address that.
- OKC shot just 26.5% from three compared to Golden State’s 44.7% rate.
- The Thunder were only 13/21 from the charity stripe.
- The Warriors outscored OKC 60-35 in the second half. This included a 21-1 run that was part of a 42-14 stretch. It’s amazing how good Golden State is when they truly care.
- Paul George never got settled last night. He was just 1/14 from the floor and was a -12.
- Russ wasn’t on his game either, going 4/15 from the field and just 1/5 from three.
- Again, OKC is now 7th in the West. They have one more loss than the eighth-place Pelicans and are tied in the loss column with the Clippers. NOBODY PANIC. Like I said before, the West is a mess.
A Look Ahead
The Thunder head back home to face the Magic on Monday night with a great opportunity to get back on track.