Thunder Rides George & Westbrook in Wire-to-Wire Victory Over Warriors
The Oklahoma City Thunder entered tonight’s game in Oakland on a four-game losing streak and without perhaps its best defender in Andre Roberson. In another example of just how difficult this team is to peg, the Thunder responded by blowing out the almighty Warriors by a final score of 125-105. OKC is now 2-0 this season against the NBA’s reigning champs.
The Thunder jumped on the Warriors early, riding 21 first quarter points from Russell Westbrook to build a 42-30 lead after 12 minutes. Carmelo Anthony left the game with a sprained ankle after just six minutes of play, but Oklahoma City shot 18/29 (62.1 percent) and made life difficult for Golden State with active hands and pesky defense.
Much of the same continued in the second quarter, as OKC clicked en route to building a 20-point lead. Westbrook and Paul George combined to score 44 points in the first half, but Kevin Durant was able to keep the Warriors in it, scoring 24 points on 12/13 from the line. The Thunder held a 70-57 advantage at the break.
The Thunder defense clamped down after halftime, holding the NBA’s best third quarter team to just 20 points in the third. The Warriors were able to cut the Thunder lead to 12 at one point, but that’s as close as they’d get all night. Paul George scored 10 points in the quarter, helping OKC push the lead to 99-77 with just 12 minutes to go.
It was cruise control from there, as Oklahoma City coasted down the stretch on its way to the streak-busting victory. Paul George was electric with 38 points and six steals on 6/11 three-point shooting. Russell Westbrook had himself a night as well, putting up 34 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists. The Thunder shot 47 percent in the win, while holding the Golden State offense to an 8/28 (28.6 percent) clip from downtown.
The victory pushes the Thunder to 31-24 and adds another marquee win to the resume. It’s unclear exactly who this team is at this point — but OKC was dominant tonight in the Bay.
93-77: The Warriors’ field goal percentage was 0.8 percent higher but OKC was able to take 16 more shots on the evening. The Thunder shot 93 times compared to just 77 for the Warriors.
40: The Thunder had just 40 rebounds on the night, while Golden State grabbed 46. The Dubs won 11-10 on the offensive glass.
14 & 25 & 38: The Thunder had 14 steals and forced 25 turnovers in the game. This translated into 38 points for OKC — monster part of the game.
54-40: OKC won 54-40 in the paint.
33-32: The Thunder bench outscored the Warriors’ reserves by a 33-32 tally.
0 & 1: Zero lead changes. One tie in the first quarter. Aside from that, it was Thunder from start to finish.
Russell Westbrook & Paul George
Russell Westbrook and Paul George were on another planet tonight, combining to score 72 points on 49 percent shooting. Their stat lines:
Westbrook: 34 pts, 9 reb, 9 ast, 13/26 FG, 2/5 3P, +21
Westbrook set the tone from the outset, scoring 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting in the first quarter. He carried the team off the block, helping to build the double-digit lead the team would never relinquish. Here’s a dunk from the first:
Russ was in control all night, making good decisions and never allowing his emotions to get the best of him. He was also a perfect 6/6 from the line and handled his business defensively. Outstanding night for number zero.
George: 38 pts, 6 stl, 5 reb, 11/23 FG, 6/11 3P, 10/12 FT, +22
Paul George was elite tonight, leading the team in scoring while also playing some of the best defense you’ll see in an NBA game. He collected six steals, had a hand in absolutely everything, and seemed to always have a play ready if the Warriors built some momentum.
I couldn’t pick my favorite highlight, so here’s a couple.
Gets KD dancing before hitting a three:
Puts Zaza Pachulia on a poster:
All in all, it was an elite night from the Thunder’s star duo. It also came on a national stage, against the league’s best team, and happened with Carmelo Anthony not on the floor. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
Steven Adams & Co.
Steven Adams was the best of everyone not named Westbrook or George, posting a 14 point, 10 rebound double-double. He struggled with foul trouble, so he ended up logging just 26 minutes of action. He finished as a plus-15, shot 7/9 from the field and continued doing every little thing the Thunder needs him to do.
Jerami Grant (+17) played a whopping 36 minutes in Melo’s absence, scoring 16 points on 5/8 shooting. The Thunder also got great efforts out of Patrick Patterson (+12), Josh Huestis (+8) and Alex Abrines (+8). Everyone did their job, defended their tail off, and made big play after big play. Patterson was especially effective on the defensive end and looked great in his 30 minutes of run.
Huestis Started. Josh Huestis picked up the start in place of Terrance Ferguson. This was the correct move, as Huestis was able to use his size to get Klay Thompson off to a rough start. Ferguson received just three minutes at the end of the game — signifying that experiment may be winding down for now.
Draymond Ejected. Draymond Green was ejected with the game out of reach in the third quarter. Outside of his outbursts with the officials, the game was relatively clean.
KD. Kevin Durant was great, scoring 33 points on 8/14 shooting. Love him or hate him, that sort of efficiency never got old.
The Other Guys. Durant led the Warriors with 33 points, followed by Curry (21), Thompson (12). No one else reached double-figures.