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Weak second half sinks Thunder

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

In a highly anticipated mid-season match up at Golden State, the wheels fell of for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Warriors got out on an 8-0 run midway through the third quarter and never looked back from there. Golden State beat Oklahoma City 121-100.

The Thunder now fall to 25-18 after dropping three of their last four games. Golden State improves to a league best 36-6 as they have now won four games in a row.

With eight minutes left in the third quarter, the Thunder had the Warriors lead down to seven, when Russell made two critical mistakes leading to multiple buckets for the Warriors. Westbrook inexplicably took six steps while walking the ball down the court, resulting in a traveling call, and proceeded to turn the ball over on the next possession. Those two turnovers led to two scores, one being a momentum building three from Klay Thompson.

Russ finished the game with 27 points, 15 rebounds, and 13 assists but also ended up with 10 turnovers for the fourth time this season. The bench hurt the Thunder tonight as the only player to score in double figures was Enes Kanter who continued his impressive play. Victor Oladipo finished the night with 20 points and four steals, but couldn’t seem to find his rhythm in the second half, as most of his points came in the first. Jerami Grant finished with a game-worst -29.

Kevin Durant finished with a game-high 40 points on 13-of-16 shooting for Golden State. Right behind him was Stephen Curry with 24 and Thompson who added 14.

In the first half, the Thunder defense was really solid. They rotated well and were flying around, always helping and switching to the nearest open Warrior. The Thunder forced 13 first half turnovers. In the second half, Golden State got hot and could not really miss, as the Thunder went cold. In the third quarter Oklahoma City attempted only one free-throw as the Warriors shot 10.

As Oklahoma City had tied things up 56-56 at half, the Warriors really busted this one open in the third. They outscored the Thunder 37-22 in the quarter and went on to outscore them 65-44 in the second half.

Oklahoma City now will have five days off before playing the Utah Jazz on Monday night. Oklahoma City is 0-1 vs. Utah this season. Oklahoma City and Utah tip-off at 8 p.m. Thunder Time.

KEYS TO THE GAME:

Control emotions: A

Sure, the game got a little chippy at some points but it was really just the physicality of two solid teams. Emotions didn’t cost the Thunder this game and nobody lost their head. Westbrook kept his cool, even when Zaza Pachulia shoved him to the ground and stood over him. You also didn’t see Kanter talking trash to Durant again, as that didn’t work out well for him last time.

Death Lineup: D+

The Warriors “death lineup” combined for 96 points. Now part of this is Kevin Durant just not missing, but the Thunder can’t expect to win giving up that amount of points to their star players. Thompson hit crucial threes and this group really just got going.

Bench: C

The only thing holding this bench grade up is Enes Kanter’s strong play. Kanter finished with 22 points on 11-18 shooting. Payne finished with 9 but most of those points came in garbage time. Followed by Payne, Singler scored 5 and Abrines had 2. The bench also ended up with 4 turnovers and were 2-8 from three.

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