The Oklahoma City Thunder (42-28) were absolutely blitzed on Saturday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena, falling to the Golden State Warriors (47-21) by a final score of 110-88. Despite the Warriors being without Kevin Durant (ankle), they shot 7-of-11 from downtown in the first quarter to build a 13-point lead after one. While I’d love to sit here and tell you the Thunder fought back and made it interesting, unfortunately that would be a lie. After a 3-3 tie just 43 seconds into the game, it was all Golden State from that point forward. They led wire-to-wire and by as many as 22 points to take the season series by a final tally of 2-1.
The Warriors were led by Steph Curry’s 33 points on 10-of-23 shooting (5/12 3P), and 23 points on 9-of-21 shooting from Klay Thompson. Paul George led the way for OKC with 29 points (9/25 FG, 4/12 3P) and 13 rebounds, but Russell Westbrook struggled mightily throughout. The former MVP shot just 2-of-16 from the floor, finishing his night with seven points, eight rebounds, nine assists, and his 16th technical foul of the season — earning him a one-game suspension for Monday’s home tilt against the Miami Heat should it not be rescinded by the league.
Yes, it was that sort of night in Oklahoma City. Certainly a game to forget moving forward.
One of Those Nights. Despite the pre-game excitement and national TV audience, this game was a complete and total bust for anyone cheering on the Thunder. The Warriors offense was humming early, building a 13-point lead after one quarter of play thanks to a blistering hot 7-of-11 clip from long range. From that point forward it was nothing more than routine decimation. Here are the numbers:
|Team||FG%||3P%||FT%||REB||AST||STL||TO||PTS OFF TO|
Bad Russ. All of Westbrook’s recent offensive momentum came to a screeching halt in this one, as he shot just 2-of-16 from the floor (0/7 3P) for a grand total of seven points. Though he added eight rebounds and nine assists, there’s no sugarcoating it — the Brodie was bad. Here’s a look at his shot chart:
Westbrook’s only success came at the rim, so it’s only right he spent most of his night taking shots from every other location on the floor. In fairness, it’s tough to blame any one player when the entire team was clearly outmatched from the moment the ball went up. Perhaps more importantly, however…
Technical Number 16. Westbrook was whistled for his 16th technical foul of the season in the second quarter, getting upset by a missed foul call on Klay Thompson…. then just went and did something that, uh, was not very smart:
While the technical could be rescinded by the league, I’m not so certain this one will — if only because it’s tough to show leniency to a guy that already has 15 of these calls against him. Should it be upheld, Westbrook will be forced to sit out Monday’s game against the Miami Heat. Really not what the Thunder need right now, but such is life, I guess. He’s been playing with fire on this front for too long. I’d tell him to calm down but I’m afraid of him.
PG. 29 points (9/25 FG, 4/12 3P) and 13 rebounds for George — not his worst night. However, he shot 1-of-5 while the Thunder were falling into a 13-point first quarter hole, which was never going to cut it with Westbrook not making his first field goal until the 8:20 mark of the third quarter (Russ started 0/8). The final stat line is fine, even if the shooting wasn’t where you’d like to see it. But let’s be clear — this wasn’t a good night for anyone. George didn’t step up and do enough to keep the Thunder in it early.
Dennis & the Others. Dennis Schroder was the lone semi-bright spot in this one, scoring 15 points (10 in the first half) on 6-of-14 shooting off the bench. Jerami Grant added 11 points but shot just 4-of-11. Steven Adams was nearly non-existent, putting up nine points and nine rebounds and getting outplayed by DeMarcus Cousins (who finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks).
The Patch. The Thunder have lost every game since adding that Love’s Travel Stop patch to their jerseys. I’m not saying, I’m just saying. At the very least, it’s far too yellow.
The Standings. The Thunder fall to fifth with the loss — trailing fourth placed Portland by a half game. The sixth placed Spurs are suddenly just a game back, with seventh placed Utah trailing by 1.5 games.
Last Word. I mean… what are you going to do? The Warriors were 5-5 over their last 10 games coming into tonight, were without Kevin Durant, and the Thunder had a great opportunity to knock off the Western Conference’s top team. What happened on Saturday night in Oklahoma City was the opposite of that — which will happen. You’d prefer it not come against a “rival” on national television, but sometimes teams get embarrassed. The Thunder were certainly embarrassed tonight.
However, in the grand scheme of things, it’s just one game — one game against a very good opponent. The Thunder won’t be this bad every night (could they be?), Westbrook won’t play like this very often (some will argue, that’s fine), and how the team responds now is more important than dropping this one. Twelve regular season games remain (perhaps 11 featuring Westbrook) and the Thunder still control their own destiny in the West. Home court advantage is still on the table… but they’ll have to be much, much better than whatever happened tonight.