OKC Thunder (19-5, 10-4 road) at Golden State Warriors (8-13, 6-7 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 107.3 (4th), Warriors– 104.5 (11th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.2 (14th), Warriors – 106.9 (26th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.2 (7th), Warriors – 92.6 (9th)
View from the enemy: Warriors World
The last time the Thunder endured a grueling, physical game with another waiting 24 hours later, they turned in a stinker against the Spurs. Granted, the Warriors aren’t on that level but with their offensive firepower and OKC’s penchant for leaving shooters open, this one could be a major challenge.
In the first matchup the Thunder played well beating the Warriors 120-109, but part of that was good fortune as the Warriors missed a number of wide open looks. Stephen Curry was off, Monta Ellis didn’t shoot well and the rest of the Warriors didn’t take advantage of good opportunities. I don’t think the Thunder defense can plan on that again.
Golden State coming in: The Warriors are 5-5 in their last 10 but lost in overtime to the Kings on Saturday.
Three Big Things
1. Kill the glass, again. The best way to overcome a little cause of the tireds is to hammer the offensive glass and provide yourself with extra possessions. Serge Ibaka was outstanding in the first meeting and did great work on the boards.
2. Help, recover and help again. The Warriors want to break you down by penetrating then kicking out and then swinging the ball to a shooter to either penetrate or shoot. It’s about communication. The Thunder have to help the helper, communicate and rotate around. That might result in a few times where Perk is caught on Monta Ellis, but that’s better than giving up a wide open jumper.
3. Someone needs to carry the load a little. Whether it’s Durant, Westbrook or Harden, somebody is probably going to need to have a hot quarter or big 10-minute stretch where they score consistently. Because I can foresee the Thunder having some major lulls in this game and too much of that and the Warriors will rip off a 13-4 run on you.
Tip at 9:30 CT. Go Energy.