The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad second quarter lost this game for the Thunder. The Warriors led by one possession at the end of the first quarter, but that quickly turned into a twenty-point lead by the end of the half.
The Warriors and Thunder are both teams that thrive while playing in transition. The Warriors were +12 in fast break points by the half. In that time, the Warriors were +7 in three-pointers made and +7 in rebounds. Steven Adams and Taj Gibson didn’t collect a rebound in the first two quarters, yet Curry and Thompson combined for 9 boards. The Thunder were forcing shots, Oladipo and Westbrook were a combined 3-of-17. Oklahoma City’s offense turned into a half-court mess that was ugly to watch.
Right before the end of the first half, a skirmish happened! Semaj Christon and Steph Curry battled for position on a jump ball, they began pushing one another which turned into both teams having a giant shoving match that ended with technical fouls for Curry, Green, Christon and Westbrook. The Warriors won the jump ball and of course this ended with a Curry buzzer beater to put the Warriors up twenty at the half.
Semaj Christon played 22 minutes tonight. The decision to play Christon over veteran Norris Cole isn’t my favorite, but at least the Thunder organization are putting forth an effort to develop a rookie they have under contract for two more seasons. Christon showed signs in this game of looking like an NBA player by going 4-of-4 from the field and playing hard on the defensive end. His offense is more miss than hit, he dribbles the ball ridiculously high for a point guard and I get nervous anytime anyone pressures him while he brings the ball up the court – but let it be known that Semaj Christon stood up for himself against the two-time MVP. That’s admirable and his toughness is why he’s on the floor.
Russell Westbrook struggled mightily in this game going 4-of-16 from the field. He didn’t get his triple-double and the Warriors’ defense got him out of rhythm big time. The twenty-point deficit in the first half was just too big of a hole for the Thunder to get out of. Five Thunder players scored in double digits, but the three leading scorers for the Thunder tonight went 16-of-46 from the field.
The Warriors have been in a slump since KD went down. You wouldn’t know it from watching this game, but since the KD injury, Golden State has now gone 6-5 for the month of March. This was their best game in that time. Without KD, the Warriors are very reliant on their three other All-Stars. In free Agency, Golden State became completely top heavy by trading their depth for a top player in the league. Barbosa, Barnes, Ezeli, Speights and Bogut were all moved for a perennial Superstar. It’s a no brainer for the Warriors, but their great players must be great, especially if one of them misses any time at all.
Unfortunately for the Thunder, Golden State’s Splash Bros were great tonight. Curry and Thompson both splashed seven three-pointers a piece. Thompson ended the night with 34 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Curry had 23 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists.
The Thunder had won five straight games with Taj Gibson as the starter going into this game. The fit is much better with Gibson as the starter, but the Thunder had to come back to Earth at some point. This was a tough loss, but the Thunder are in a position now where they need to bounce back if they plan on making a push for a fourth, fifth or sixth seed in the West. Every game from here until the end of the season is must win, unless they just want to play San Antonio or Golden State in the first round.
- JaValee McGee’s ponytail is just awful. I fully support Shaq bullying McGee as long as he has that awful haircut.
- Sabonis continues to be a solid perimeter defender. I’m trying to see the silver lining of this game and that’s a nice takeaway. He’s been switched onto quick guards quite a bit this season and he’s able to keep up. He was switched on Curry again tonight and did a solid job.
- Matt Barnes picked up a flagrant 1 from giving Abrines a hard foul when he drove for a layup. I didn’t think I could dislike Matt Barnes more, but here we are. Time to sign Derek Fisher!
- Abrines had a pretty terrible game tonight. He went 0-of-8 from the field missing all 7 of his three-point attempts. It’s good that he’s getting consistent playing time and reps against title contending teams, but this is sometimes the cost of playing rookies in big games.
Next up: At home on Wednesday against the 76ers at 7:00 pm.