A disappointing turn of events occurred tonight in Oakland as the Oklahoma City Thunder fell late in the fourth quarter to the Golden State Warriors on what was the second game of a back-to-back series in California, as they continue their six game road trip in Sacramento and L.A. this week.
Klay Thompson was torching Thabo Sefolosha in the first quarter, going 4/5 (2-2 3-pt) for 10 points, but Kevin Durant was hot too, going 3/3 (1/1 3-pt) and two free throws for 9 points, not to mention big Perk was 3/3, which has to be a career high for a quarter. The quarter was back-and-forth between the Warriors and the Thunder as they traded buckets and turn overs alike. Oklahoma City shot a compelling 60% in the first quarter, while holding Golden State to 47%, but they turned it over, and a lot, and the Warriors took advantage of those turn overs as they scored 8 points off 6 of them. The warriors turned the ball over 3 times in the quarter, but Oklahoma City wasn’t able to capitalize scoring no points off of them.
The second Quarter was a bit of a different story, though. The Thunder out scored the Warriors 31-25 in the third quarter as Kevin Durant had another efficient 9 point quarter, but the real spark was Reggie Jackson and Deandre Liggins who came off the bench with energy and combined for 7 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists while maintaining a +/- of +10. Liggins’ Big rebound right after checking in helped spurt a quick 7-0 run to push the thunder lead to 7 with 6:54 left in the half, then went on another 13-4 run with 5:00 remaining after a cold blooded 21 foot step back jumper by Kevin Durant. The Thunder Ended the Half with a 57-52 lead and a T for Thabo.
The third quarter was a poor shooting quarter for both teams, as they both shot 38%. The Thunder were not able to execute offensively but were able to get to the line 8 times to compensate for their poor shooting. A lot of it had to do with Westbrook who shot 2-7 in the quarter, and had an extremely poor game only shooting 3-16, scoring 10 points, and turning the ball over 6 times compared to just 4 assists. It was surprising to see Russell play so poorly after playing so well the past week, he wasn’t as aggressive driving the lane and settled for too many jumpers.
Though a poor effort in the third, the Thunder were able to end the quarter on a quick 4-0 run and take that momentum into the fourth as they continued their run and quickly turned it into a 14-4 spurt to give them an 86-78 lead with 8:43 left in the fourth. It looked like all the Thunder had to do was finish the game and take care of the ball at this point, and they would be able to get out of Oakland with a steal and move on to a diminishings Kings team. But that wasn’t the case.
The Warriors finished the fourth on on a 17-6 run, starting at 7:00, shooting 9/12 from beyond that point, and turning the ball over once. The Thunder struggled immensely as West brook and Durant combined shooting 1/8 and turning the ball over 4 times.
The Thunder had a chance at winning the game in the fourth, but blew it in a terrible second half of the quarter. Turning the ball over 19 times and allowing 24 points off those turn overs isn’t usually going to allow you to win games. Second chance points also killed the Thunder as they were out scored by the Warriors 21-11. Kevin Durant still managed to finish with 33 points and 9 assists. He has scored at least 30 points or more in 7 of his last 8 games.
Keys to the Game
Defend – C
The Thunder gave up 104 points tonight, but showed glimpses of solid defense threw out the game. They forced the Warriors to shoot just 44% and made them turn the ball over 15 times. At times their team defense and rotations were slow and sloppy, and it allowed a lot of open threes tonight. They weren’t very effective at times on the board as they allowed 11 offensive rebounds and struggled to come up with loose balls.
Tempo – B
The Thunder are a very fast team in the break, and are one of the most effective in the league at running the break off rebounds and turn overs. They scored 21 tonight, but unusually they were outscored in this category. The Warriors were able to score 27 fast break points off the Thunder, and a big part of it had to do with the turn overs.
Russell Westbrook vs. Stephen Curry – F
This was a good match up tonight. Two of the best point guards in the NBA who are both most likely All-Stars this season met tonight, but only one was victorious, and it wasn’t Westbrook. Westbrook shot a disappointing 18% from the field tonight. He struggled the find his shot all game long, and struggled to get his team mates involved as well. He turned the ball over 6 times compared to just 4 assists. Stephen Curry was a different story as he had a impressive night shooting 40% and scoring 31 points while nagging 7 assists and 3 rebounds.
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- The Thunder turned the ball over far too many times in the first half, finishing with 10. The Warriors were able to get 14 points off of those turns. The Thunder would add nine more in the second half.
- Stephen Curry had three straight nice drives to the basket in the first quarter, and he finished them all. He’s more of a shooter, and the Thunder can’t let players like that score so easily in the paint.
- Durant was able to dominate offensively early on. He scored or assisted the first 14 Thunder points. He didn’t slow down, and by halftime he had 18 points and eight assists.
- Klay Thompson and Curry gave the Thunder a lot of trouble in the first quarter, combining for 15 of the first 19 points for Golden State. They would continue to play well throughout most of the game, combining for 50 overall.
- Russell Westbrook struggled in the first half, going 1-6 from the field and 2-4 from the free throw line. He also had four turnovers in the half. Things wouldn’t get any better for him in the second. He was just 3-16 by the end of the night.
- Kendrick Perkins was 4-4 in the first half, dropping in eight points. He finished the game with 12.
- The Warriors are really a solid team. With guys like Thompson, Curry, David Lee, Carl Landry, Jarrett Jack and Harrison Barnes, they can be pretty dangerous.
- Perkins had zero fouls in the first half, but had three by the eight-minute mark in the third quarter. This was probably the main reason that the Warriors reached the bonus by the midway point in the third.
- This was one of those games were bad Westbrook showed up. He was taking a lot of ill-advised shots, playing poor defense and turning the ball over a lot. This Westbrook doesn’t show up so much these days, but it really is frustrating when he does.
- After dominating the first half, Durant slowed down quite bit in the third quarter. He had just four points and one assist. He would score nine in the fourth, but never got another assist.
- Reggie Jackson and DeAndre Liggins had some good minutes tonight. Their stats won’t necessarily reflect that, but they had some great hustle plays.
- The Thunder was able to score pretty well in the first half, but that was not the case in the second. The Warriors played better defense, but the Thunder just didn’t have it going either.
- The Thunder defense was not very good for most of the night, and that can be shown by the Warriors scoring 104 points.
- Durant had a huge turnover in the final 20 seconds. It looked like a miscommunication between he and Perkins, but it proved to be the difference maker.
- Westbrook airballed at least two threes tonight. It just really wasn’t his night.
- The Thunder shot terribly from three tonight, going just 5-16. Durant and Kevin Martin were each 2-3 though.
- Martin played a solid game, scoring 16 points and grabbing four steals.
- This was an ugly loss for the Thunder, but it really never felt like they would come out on top, even when they were up by as many as eight points.