So, the Thunder won’t go 82-0 for a ninth consecutive season.
Yeah, yeah, this was a big one for sentimental reasons. But in the big picture it’s pretty much what was expected. The Warriors a super good. The Thunder are trying to get better. But to walk away from this California trip at 4-1 is a solid win regardless.
Let’s do some notes from a weird night at Oracle.
- That was a heated first half. That’s really all I have to say.
- Westbrook blocked Durant, Durant (sort of) blocked Westbrook. There was a little trash talk involved. I still feel weird about typing that sentence.
- Forget all the extracurricular stuff. Let’s talk about the basketball, and what this game meant for OKC in a larger sense. First, this was the second of a back-to-back. It may have had an influence on OKC, but more than likely, the Warriors were winning this game. The Thunder showed some signs of fatigue, missing free throws and not being sharp on defensive rotations.
- Don’t get too wrapped up in this one. If you’re really that upset, then you haven’t fully readjusted your perspective to what this team is now. They aren’t an elite title contender. They aren’t about making championship statements. They’re about trying to get a little better game by game and setup to build to something better. The Thunder aren’t in the Warriors’ stratosphere. And nor should they be. Reminder: They had one of the four best players in the world walk away from their team for nothing this summer. Most franchises are set back five years at minimum, and head directly to the lottery not passing go and not collecting $200. Instead, the Thunder were one of two unbeaten teams entering tonight and you thought they actually had a decent shot to win. If you’re actually that upset, that speaks to the fact you think this team is actually pretty good and should’ve played better. Which again, has a deeper meaning in where they are in their post-Durant rebuild.
- Enes Kanter played only three minutes. He wasn’t good in the three minutes he played either. He did chirp at Durant some, and then Durant roasted him postgame pointing out how many minutes he played. It wasn’t a good night for Kanter.
- I’m liking Jerami Grant. Active, long, athletic and plays hard.
- Boy, the Thunder can’t shoot. The lane was so very clogged for Westbrook that he didn’t have many options. He tried to squeeze passes in there, but it was like shoving a pillow through a key hole.
- Victor Oladipo shot the ball well, hit 4-6 from 3. Good sign, maybe?
- Andre Roberson was special on the defensive end last night. But my heavens, what an offensive minus he was tonight.
- I’m not normally one to care about single game plus/minus, but it’s pretty funky looking tonight. Oladipo is a -25; Steven Adams was a +7. Westbrook was just a -9.
- A lot of people made a thing about Grant dunking on Durant and then how they bumped into each other. After that, the Warriors went on a 19-1 run. I guess the dunk and stare ignited them, right? Well, 10 seconds after that dunk, Westbrook went to the bench and Durant stayed in against OKC’s second unit. And that coincided as a 19-3 Warriors’ run. But don’t let that get in the way of a good story.
- Sabonis played a nice game. He had 13 points, six rebounds and three assists. But man, he has to figure out a way to go another way other than left.
- Adams started the game really well, abusing the Warriors weak frontline. Then he got in foul trouble and played limited minutes in the first half. He only got 24 total, and scored 11 points on 5-7 shooting in that run.
- Take away the third quarter and the Thunder won by two, you know. Bright side!
Next up: Home against the Wolves on Saturday