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The Thunder won the battle, but are the Warriors winning the war?
As far as the battle goes, here’s the one sentence summary: the Thunder destroyed the Warriors for two and a half quarters, got bored, D’Angelo Russell got hot and tied it up, the Thunder actually tried again, took another big lead, and won comfortably.
The Thunder are so much better than the Warriors right now that the win never felt in doubt, even when Golden State tied it up with Russell making an Andrew Wiggins-ish banked 3 at the third quarter buzzer. The Thunder shared the ball, which is the new Thunder way, and spread the scoring around pretty evenly. Danilo Gallinari was the stand out with his 21 points.
While OKC improves to 4-5 and the 10 spot in the Western Conference, Golden State is now 2-8 on the season which officially gives Steve Kerr’s ragtag squad the worst record in the league.
Read that again, let yourself enjoy a few well deserved giggles at their expense, then prepare for the bad news.
As far as the war goes, the Warriors came to enemy territory in a fully armored tank. Golden State is tanking. Hardcore tanking. Shutting Steph Curry down for the season when he could actually come back to play tanking. Letting Draymond Green take off as long as he wants for his injury tanking. They’re going hard for that #1 draft pick, the same prize many Thunder fans have had their eyes gazed upon ever since PG bunked with Kawhi and Russ moved across the Red River.
Imagine the Warriors of all teams beating the Thunder to the punch and grabbing a top three draft pick and then running it back with Curry, Green, Klay Thompson and D’Angelo Russell.
OKC and Golden State play four times this season. If the Thunder sweep them, which they likely will do because OKC completely outclasses them right now, that’s a seismic shift in both franchises’ lottery odds.
All that said, it’s the Warriors. No KD, Curry, Klay or Draymond, but beating the Warriors is still fun, even if it ends up helping them in the long run. So let’s not dwell on the James Wiseman or Anthony Edwards in royal blue and gold implications.
And there’s a silver lining to all this winning that the Thunder has been doing lately: Bucks, Pacers, 76ers, Clippers, Lakers, Lakers. Those are OKC’s next six games, which should help close the gap at the bottom of the standings before the Thunder have another cupcake on the schedule… the Warriors.
- I played the part of Team Tank in my write up because half the Thunder fans want OKC to lose, and I feel like their voice should be heard in my write ups sometimes. But the flip side of that coin for Team Win is that this Thunder team is playing an entertaining brand of basketball and is a joy to watch. Even if you know losing may be the better result, you can’t help but to root for them to win. And hey, maybe they keep the most of the squad together and push for a playoff berth. That would be fun.
- It’s obviously not on the same level, but The Peake crowd is beginning to have that same sort of building excitement and anticipation when Hamidou Diallo is alone on a fast break honing in on an upcoming dunk as they did when Russ used to prepare for flight.
- Former Thunder great Alec Burks was the Warriors’ second leading scorer tonight. Remember when he decided to back out of his OKC contract because he wanted to play with a contender in Golden State? WELP.
- Gallo pulled off a 180 dunk tonight. I knew he could shoot from anywhere on the court. I knew he could defend centers and go for rebounds with one shoe in his hand. 180 dunks, though? Portland’s 2020 1st round pick and Anfernee Simons is back on the menu, boys and girls.
- A lot of people have been curious about Thunder attendance this season. I’d say The Peake was about 80% full tonight. With a home OU football game at the same time and the horrible Warriors (I love saying that) in town, it was a really strong crowd.
- Gallo scored his 8,888th career point tonight. His birthday is 8-8-88. He wears jersey #8. His favorite TV show is Eight Is Enough, his favorite card game is Crazy 8’s and his favorite movie is an eight way tie between 8 Mile, 8 Seconds, Eight Men Out, Eight Crazy Nights, 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, 8 Million Ways to Die, 88 Minutes and Ocean’s 8.
- Gallo’s reaction to Diallo hitting a buzzer beating long 2 off the glass was the most excited I’ve seen him all year. He must have realized it was Diallo’s 8th point. (It really was!)
- The moment we knew was eventually coming all night long: Mike Muscala hit a clutch 3 in the 4th quarter to give the Thunder the lead. It was nice to see Moose find his shot, as he connected on three shots from distance tonight. After an atrocious start, hopefully this game gets him back on track.
- Speaking of hitting three 3’s, after an 0-4 night in San Antonio, Darius Bazley was a perfect 3-3 beyond the arc tonight. Like most rookies, he will ride the roller coaster this season, but that’s now three really nice games out of his last four.
- SGA struggled tonight, finishing with just 12 points on 15 shots. But he remained aggressive and his confidence never wavered, two traits Thunder fans love in their star point guards.
- Terrance Ferguson with 8 points on only 4 shots, including 2-2 from 3. He needs more shots, especially on nights like this when he’s feeling it.
- Chris Paul had 16 points and 9 assists and Steven Adams had 13 points and 8 rebounds. Both of them were solid, and neither did anything particularly of note tonight, but it felt wrong to write an entire Thunder game recap and not bring either of them up.
- Just a hundred or so more of these Warriors wins and I’ll get over that Game 6. Yeah, that’s a lie.