It’s Halloween Eve and the Oklahoma City Thunder decided to celebrate the holiday by scaring the fanbase as they continue the early season trend of playing poorly on the road.
In a game where it felt like the Golden State Warriors had control over it for the majority of the game, the final score ended up 103-82.
The Warriors were able to blow this one open in the third quarter, as they expanded their 11 point halftime lead to 24 points by winning the quarter, 27-14.
The biggest blame for the 21 point loss is the amount of misses the team suffered from quality looks. I know it might sound like too simple of an explanation, but honestly, the Thunder were just missing a lot of easy looks around the rim and could not buy a bucket as they went 8-of-39 (20.5%) from three.
Nonetheless, this is a rebuilding season. The results of games do not matter. It is all about the individual performances and glimpses of potential these players show.
In tonight’s edition, the three most important players of the franchise all played great.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort and Josh Giddey carried most of the offensive load tonight and were rewarded with good performances.
After struggling the first couple of games this season, SGA has continuously shown why he is one of the best players in the league. Tonight was another example of this as he finished with 15 points and five rebounds. The numbers don’t look impressive, but you have to consider the fact he only played 29 minutes.
SGA AT THE BUZZER @okcthunder | #ThunderUp pic.twitter.com/EdgTwxyPKi— Bally Sports Oklahoma (@BallySportsOK) October 31, 2021
For Giddey, it must have been bittersweet for the Warriors to watch the rookie impress on the road with his dime passes and reliable floaters. The Warriors were heavily linked to Giddey in the draft process and were rumored to have penciled in the 19-year-old as their first choice at seventh overall.
Instead, OKC took Giddey a spot ahead and the Warriors settled on Jonathan Kuminga, who made his NBA debut tonight in garbage time in the fourth quarter.
Six games in and Giddey has looked like one of the best rookies in his class and has surprisingly been an aggressive scorer. For tonight’s contest, he finished with 10 points, six assists and four rebounds.
Giddey put on a passing clinic tonight as well. There were multiple possessions, both in transition and in the half-court, where Giddey showed off his passing skills and made a collection of plays that left people viewing the game jaw-dropped.
Josh Giddey doing Josh Giddey things. pic.twitter.com/MmlgU0h3rW— (@ThunderFilmRoom) October 31, 2021
Josh Giddey with another nice assis-— Boomtown Hoops (@BoomtownHoops) October 31, 2021
An INCREDIBLE pass from Josh Giddey to JRE.— (@ThunderFilmRoom) October 31, 2021
Just watch how he manipulates the defense. pic.twitter.com/z2DPus4nNs
This game is significant because after struggling the first two road games of the season, Giddey played composed tonight and did not let the Warriors crowd or score of the game get to him.
Consistency will be key in Giddey’s development and that involves being comfortable in playing in games where the crowd adores and loathes him. There’s 82 games in a season and the reception a player gets is cut exactly in half on two opposite sides of a spectrum. Giddey will need to learn to properly handle both and not let it impact his game.
For Dort, he did a great job at making Stephen Curry work. Curry, who entered the night leading the infant stages of the season in scoring with 30.4 points, finished with 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting.
This comes four days after Thunder Head Coach Mark Daigneault praised Dort’s defense on Curry when these teams first faced off in OKC.
“I thought Lu did a great job on Curry. A lot of team throw two guys at him, but a lot of teams don’t have Lu Dort,” said Daigneault this past Tuesday night. “He did an incredible job on him.”
Curry scored just 23 points on 6-of-14 shooting that night.
LU DORT CHASE-DOWN BLOCK! pic.twitter.com/i4ZYCoaJoL— (@ThunderFilmRoom) October 31, 2021
Look, Steph is gonna be Steph. The only thing someone can do against someone like him is to make him break a sweat and force him to earn his points, because regardless, he’s gonna get his.
All things considered, I think Dort did a respectable job tonight against the former 2x MVP.
Two of Curry’s three lowest scoring games this season have came against the Thunder. I know that a lot of that has to do with the fact that he didn’t play a ton in both games and didn’t really need to assert himself on offense, but still.
All in all, if you decided to skip tonight’s game to celebrate Halloween, you didn’t really miss much. The biggest positive that can be taken away from this contest is that OKC’s three most important players all played well.
Happy Halloween and stay safe! Enjoy eating some relatable candies like Skittles, Starbursts and Sour Patch Kids!
Next Game: The Thunder continue their California road trip as they visit the LA Clippers on Monday, Nov. 1.