Just like everyone expected, the rebuilding OKC Thunder demolished the three time champion Golden State Warriors, 120-92. Obviously, this isn’t the same Warriors. But excuse me for not shedding any tears or making any excuses for a team that still boasts Steph Curry, Draymond Green and DeAngelo Russell. But ultimately none of those three All Stars were the best player on the floor today. Neither was the only former All Star on the Thunder roster, Chris Paul, who was mostly passive against the Warriors. Wasn’t Steven Adams. And Danillo Gallinari could make a strong case, but nope. Once again, it was the Thunder’s shining building block of the present and future, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. I’m just gonna change the name of these write-ups from “Game Recap” to “Let’s talk about how good Shai is.”
- I know people were worried about fan attendance this season, but I’d say both games thus far were about 80-85% full. Now, one was on opening night on a Friday and today was against the Warriors on a Sunday. We’ll see what Tuesday and Thursday night games against the Grizzlies or Suns look like, but so far so pretty good.
- Like I’ve been telling everyone the last couple years, all the Thunder had to do to beat the Warriors was get rid of Russ, PG and Jerami Grant.
- The Thunder has played against All-Stars Steph Curry, Draymond Green, DeAngelo Russell and Bradley Beal the last two games. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has outplayed all of them. Small sample size, obviously. But still noteworthy.
- Thunder wins this season will all be bittersweet, depending on whether or not you’re on Team Tank. I am in the crowd that believes OKC should trade any valuable vets for assets, enjoy SGA becoming a star in front of our eyes and try to finish with as high a draft pick as possible. But winning feels good. And beating the Warriors feels great. Whipping the Warriors by 30 points feels amazing.
- Trade stock up: Dennis Schroder, Chris Paul, Nerlens Noel, Terrance Ferguson. All four guys played much better today than they did against Washington. Schroder scored at will, Paul had a quietly efficient game, Noel threw a block party and TFerg looked like Curry’s long lost Splash Brother.
- Trade stock down: Steven Adams. He was better today than he was the first two games, but you’d still like to see him dominate a team like the Warriors with no inside presence. He’s gonna be the Adams we know and love soon, though. Right, guys? Right??
- Trade stock neutral: Gallo. He was a stud today. He was a stud last year. He will be a stud for whichever team gives Sam Presti a 1st round pick for him.
- Who finishes with a better record this season, the Thunder or Warriors? Ultimately, I think OKC will trade away good players for draft picks or young players, and Golden State can’t tank with Curry, Green and Russell on the squad. But as currently constructed, the Thunder are the better team.
- Splash Bros? More like Splash Only Child.
- Beat the Warriors by 30 one day, face off against Russell Westbrook and James Harden the next day. What kind of bizarro NBA world is 2019? I dunno, but I’m really close to risking it all by predicting that Shai is going to outplay Russ tomorrow. But I’m not quite there yet. Publicly.