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There was no Russell Westbrook or Andre Roberson but the Thunder’s heart was on full display as the Thunder gave a big fight to the defending champions on Tuesday night. Oklahoma City fell 108-100 on opening night to the Golden State Warriors.

The Thunder were without their superstar and with the Warriors vaunted third quarter explosion on deck, it could’ve been easy to roll over and turn it just to Friday night as they’re short handed and already struggling but Paul George stepped up. Dennis Schröder stepped up. The Thunder found their groove and within minutes took their first lead of the contest.

The Thunder fought back from a 14-point deficit and took that 1-point lead. They would teeter-totter with the Warriors before Stephen Curry would hit a three, giving the Dubs the lead for good but it’s the act of the comeback that gives everyone hope. Sure, the Thunder loss but it’s how it lost that you have to account for. Oklahoma City’s third and early fourth quarters are what could be seeing from this team. Oklahoma City found something that worked and when you add in an annual MVP candidate, things are going to get really explosive.

The Warriors led for the first 27:56 of the game. The Thunder used a 22-9 run to get back in the game and take control. The lead given off a Schröder three was met with a bunch of uneasy moans from the Warrior’s fans who all but expected a walk over without two starters for the Thunder. Steven Adams added a lay up, giving Oklahoma City a three-point lead with 7:16 to go; Oklahoma City’s largest lead of the contest.

Though the Thunder would stay within 10 points for the rest of the contest, it would be free throws that did the Thunder in on opening night. Oklahoma City started 9-of-10 from the line but finished 15-of-27. It wasn’t like Adams was the one missing all of the free throws. It was a nice mix of everyone. The Thunder were 29th in free throw shooting last season. It reared its ugly head when it mattered most.

Oklahoma City will now go for their first win as they’ll travel to Los Angeles on Friday, Oct. 19 to play the LA Clippers. tip-off is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. at Staples.

Keys to the Game

Rebound: F

Oklahoma City found themselves being dominated on the boards. A guy named Kevon Looney had 10 rebounds off the bench for the Dubs. Adams had his 10 and Schröder had a career high nine but it wasn’t nearly enough. Oklahoma City has to do better job of blocking out and grabbing the boards.

Defend the perimeter: A+

The Warriors went 7-of-26 from three. Only eight times last season did the Warriors shoot that poorly. They were 3-5 over those games. Oklahoma City did a really good job making the Warriors earn it from beyond the three-point line. Oklahoma City held Kevin Durant to 0-of-5 from deep and Klay Thompson was 1-of-8.

Bench: B

Oklahoma City’s bench had 27 of the 100 points. That’s pretty solid, given two bench players had to step into the rotation. They did not shoot the ball well, though. They were 3-of-13 from beyond the three-point line. They didn’t shoot the free throws well, 8-of-12. There’s plenty of room for improvement. As the team gets healthy, the bench should improve.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.