The Oklahoma City Thunder (11-6) defeated the Golden State Warriors by a final score of 123-95 in Oracle Arena on Thanksgiving Eve. Dennis Schroder led the way for OKC, scoring 32 points as the Thunder demolished the two-time defending champs inside their own building. Tonight’s loss was Golden State’s fourth in a row — the first four-game losing streak in the Steve Kerr era.
The national TV audience was “treated” to a defensive showcase in the first quarter, as both teams combined to shoot 36.5 percent from the field. Paul George’s banked-three from the top of the key at the end of the quarter was the first three-pointer converted from either team, as they combined to shoot 1-of-14 from distance. Terrance Ferguson turned his ankle midway through the frame — he was assisted to the locker room by the Thunder medical staff. OKC held the Warriors to their lowest scoring quarter of the season in the first, as the Thunder led 23-18 after one.
The offense picked up for both teams in the second, as the Warriors started the quarter converting on their first 3-of-4 from long range. Thompson scored Golden State’s first eight points in the second, and the Thunder lost yet another contributor as Nerlens Noel was forced to the locker room at the 9:24 mark after taking an accidental elbow from Schroder. Per Royce Young, Noel received five stitches over the break but did return.
The Thunder gained some separation in the second quarter by putting together a 9-0 run after Hamidou Diallo’s block on Kevin Durant led to an easy transition dunk for George. OKC’s offense went through Schroder, as he led the way with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting in the first half. It was especially encouraging that the Thunder were able to pull away from the Warriors despite Russell Westbrook’s struggles from the floor, scoring only 5 points on 2-of-9 shooting. Steven Adams was dominant in the opening half, posting 16 points and 9 rebounds on 7-of-10 from the field. The 37-point second quarter put the Thunder up 60-46 at the break.
Contrary to the first meeting between these two teams, the Warriors were the ones that exploded out of the gate to start the second half. Durant opened the quarter by hitting a three on the Warriors’ first possession. Golden State closed the deficit to three points by putting together a 13-2 run with just under 10 minutes remaining in the third. Durant caught fire in the quarter, scoring 11 points as the Warriors closed the gap to 87-79 heading into the final frame.
Billy Donovan decided to roll out his all-bench lineup to start the fourth, as both Westbrook and George were sidelined. Schroder scored seven quick points to push the OKC lead to 11 with 7:55 remaining in the game. Diallo took an ugly spill going for a defensive rebound, as he was writhing in obvious pain on the other end of the floor. Thunder players were visibly upset after Diallo was forced to leave the court on a stretcher. ESPN elected not to replay the injury — but early reports are coming back positive on that front.
The Thunder lead grew to 18, as they reeled off a 14-0 run midway through the fourth that was capped by a reverse layup by Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. OKC’s defense was very impressive to close out the game, and Donovan was able to empty his bench as the Thunder lead grew to as many as 27 points. In total, the Thunder outscored the Warriors 36-16 over the final 12 minutes of basketball.
Dennis Schroder: 32 pts, 4 reb, 4 ast, 12/19 FG, 5/6 3P, +21
Paul George: 25 pts, 9 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl, 10/23 FG, 4/11 3P, +21
Schroder So Sweet: The best backup point guard in the league showed out tonight on the national stage, leading the Thunder with a season-high 32 points (12-of-19 FG, 5-of-6 3P, 3-of-3 FT), 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal. Schroder was the primary ball handler for the majority of possessions when he shared the floor with Westbrook, as the offense flowed through Schroder tonight.
Mt. Kiwi: Despite him slowing down in the second half, Adams dominated the Warriors’ frontcourt tonight by recording 20 points and 11 rebounds on 9-of-14 shooting. Adams’ disruption was felt on both ends of the floor, as Damion Jones and Kevin Looney were limited to a combined 9 rebounds. If Adams keeps this play up, the rest of the NBA needs to take notice with All-Star consideration. He’s putting together his best season yet.
The Return of Mr. Triple Double: It sure wasn’t pretty, but the Brodie recorded his first triple-double of the season. Westbrook put up 11 points (5-of-15 FG, 1-of-5 3P, 0-of-2 FT), 11 rebounds, 13 assists, 2 steals, and a block. He spent the night deferring to Schroder when they shared the floor and had a few too many irresponsible shots — but he played under control and created havoc on both ends of the floor. A special sequence for Russ started with him stealing a failed Durant post-up and hitting a transition three-pointer before jawing at the Golden State bench after Steve Kerr called a timeout.
PG Does It All: The All-NBA two-way wing put together 25 points (10-of-23 FG, 4-of-11 3P, 1-of-3 FT), 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals. George singlehandedly kept the Thunder afloat in third quarter hole, converting on three three-pointers as the Warriors were in the midst of a big scoring run. He simply refused to surrender the lead back to Golden State.
Injury Bug: The Thunder suffered three injuries tonight.
- In the first quarter, Ferguson suffered what appeared to be a nasty left ankle sprain. He came down awkwardly after Klay Thompson drew the foul on a midrange jumpshot. Ferguson did not return.
- Noel suffered a laceration to his face in the second quarter after Schroder accidentally elbowed him while going for a rebound. Noel returned to action after he was given five stitches during halftime.
- And the most notable…
Hamidou Diallo: Diallo suffered what appeared to be a major leg/ankle injury midway through the fourth quarter. Judging by the reaction of players on both sides it was very serious. He would leave the court on the stretcher.
But (somehow) it looks like the Thunder may be in luck here:
Now it’s OK to enjoy this one.