Golden State Warriors (13-32, 4-19 road) vs. Ok. City Thunder (25-21, 13-10 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 105.7 (21st), Warriors – 106.4 (17th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.9 (5th), Warriors – 110.1 (26th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.2 (18th), Warriors – 100.6 (1st)
View from the enemy: Warriors World
I really like playing the Warriors. First of all, they aren’t that great. Second, they don’t play very good defense so there’s potential for big stat lines for Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green. And third of all, they’re kind of fun to watch.
If you remember, in the last meeting Golden State was playing with the Thunder extremely well through 32 minutes. It was 63-62 with four minutes left in the third when Corey Maggette blew his stack and picked up two straight technicals. OKC then went on a 16-5 run and closed the game outscoring GSW on a 42-26 run. Why is this important? Because Maggette actually can guard Kevin Durant and if he actually makes it through four quarters, it will be a little more difficult.
Golden State coming in: The Warriors have lost four straight and 8 of 10 overall. They last played Friday night at home, losing to Charlotte. On the road this year, the Warriors are just 4-19.
As mentioned, Corey Maggette is just about the only guy that can guard Kevin Durant. He’s physical, he’s not afraid to work hard and he’s athletic. Andris Biedrins is back so he’ll help the Warriors considerably on the glass. And Anthony Tolliver from the D-League has been starting at power forward and playing pretty well. So this isn’t the same Warriors squad OKC saw in early December.
Stephen Curry has played really well lately, but I absolutely love Thabo guarding him. Curry is smaller and a jumpshooter first and foremost, so I think Thabo will frustrate the young rookie. Russell Westbrook and Monta Ellis should be fun to watch, but I would assume Westbrook and Thabo will interchange on the two. This game really hinges on shutting down Curry’s outside shot and forcing Ellis into bad decision. He’s going to score some points, but often times he takes 28 shots to score 25 points. That should be the goal for OKC defensively.
Jeff Green had a big game in the first meeting, scoring 21 points on 9-16 shooting with 13 rebounds. But that was against the ultra small GSW lineup that featured Vlad Radmonovich at power forward and Mikki Moore starting at the five.
Golden State’s bench is not very good so the Thunder has an advantage there. Against Charlotte, GSW played 11 guys and only got 26 points. James Harden had a hot hand against Denver Friday, so more production from the Thunder bench will be big.
This should be a take care of business game and move on to the next one. Golden State has beaten a few good teams, but at home, there’s no reason to lose. It’s all about focus and early energy. This is a chance to get back to five games over. Which could potentially put OKC back in the playoff picture.
Tip at 6:00 CST. Go OKC.