The Oklahoma City Thunder struggled in every facet of the game as the visiting Golden State Warriors took control early on Saturday night and cruised to a 110-88 victory.
The Thunder got off to a slow start, but the Warriors could hardly miss. Just 6 minutes into the game, the Golden State held a 20-8 lead over OKC. It got worse, however, as the Warriors pushed their lead to 15 at one point in period thanks to shooting 7-11 (63.6%) from behind the perimeter. At the end of the first, Golden State led 40-27.
The second quarter got off to a much better start for OKC as they ran off 6 straight points to cut the deficit to single digits, but the Warriors answered with a 9-0 run to take a 49-33 lead with 7:52 left in the first half. The Thunder kept fighting back, trimming the lead to single digits on multiple occasions, but Golden State continued to hit back.
At one point, frustration over contact with no foul call turned bad for the Thunder as Russell Westbrook earned a technical foul, his 16th of the season. Unless the tech gets rescinded, he will be suspended for Monday’s night game against the Miami Heat.
Dennis Schröder was a bright spot for OKC as he had 10 points off the bench, and Paul George led the team with 12 through the second quarter, but the Thunder struggled to get anything consistent on the offensive end. The Warriors kept hitting threes, and at halftime, it was Golden State on top 64-46.
The third quarter only got worse for the Thunder as the offense fell flat, shooting just 8-22 (36.4%). The Warrior struggled to make shots as well, making 7-20 (35.0%), but Golden State was able to push the lead to 22 before ending the third with an 87-71 lead.
Any chance of a Thunder comeback dissipated quickly as the Warriors continued to pour it on. Some OKC fans hit the exits early as Golden State maintained a solid lead that swelled again to 20 before Warriors head coach started to pull starters. In the end, the Thunder looked about as bad as they have all season as they dropped this one 110-88.
Thunder Player of the Game
In a game where very few Thunder players performed up to par, backup point guard Dennis Schröder was a consistent force early in the game. Schröder was less effective in the second half, but he finished the game with 15 points on 6-14 (42.9%)–including 3-8 from three (37.5%)–to go with 3 assists. He will need to bring the energy off the bench as the Thunder heads into the playoffs if OKC wants to make it out of the first round.
A Couple Quick Thoughts
- Russ Has to be Better: The Thunder was bad tonight, but Russell Westbrook was a focal point as he was probably the worst. Not only did he shoot 2-16 (12.5%) from the floor, 0-7 (0.0%) from 3, but he also picked up his 16th technical foul of the season. Unless the technical foul is rescinded, which it probably won’t, he will be suspended for Monday’s matchup with the Miami Heat. No time could be worse for Westbrook to miss a game than right now, but maybe giving him a game to cool off will do him some good. His offense has been superb lately, and his shot has drastically improved, but tonight ranks as one of his worst games of the entire season.
- Time to Panic? Depending upon whom you ask, it may be time to hit the panic button. The loss tonight drops the Thunder to the
fifth-spotin the West, but if they’re not careful, they could continue to freefall through the standings. A few more wins and they could be right back in the hunt for the three-seed, but games like tonight don’t give Thunder fans much confidence in this team headed into the playoffs.
After not playing back-to-back home games since the first two games out of the All-Star Break, the Thunder will stay in Oklahoma City as they host the Miami Heat on Monday night. The Thunder won big in the first matchup of the season between the two teams, a 118-112 victory in Miami, and this one is about as important as they come as OKC is fighting for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, and the Heat is just struggling to maintain a spot at all.
Tip-off is set for 7 PM CT, and the game will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.
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