Oklahoma City Thunder

Thunder Manhandles Warriors for First Win of Season

Zachary Low

zacharylow88

The Oklahoma City picked up their first win of the season in convincing fashion as they blew past the Golden State Warriors 120-92 in a Sunday afternoon matchup at the ‘Peake.

The Rundown

The Thunder got off to a hot start against the Warriors as Danilo Gallinari scored OKC’s first 8 points. Just a little over 3 minutes into the game, the Thunder could not seem to miss as they held a 15-3 lead. OKC would continue the dominance all the way through the period to take a 35-20 lead.

OKC continued to knock down shots, but perhaps the most impressive aspect of the game in the first half was the Thunder’s defense. The Thunder managed to put up another 35 points in the period to put 4 different players in double digits, but they managed to hold the Warriors to just 17 points in the second quarter. In the first half, Golden State shot just 11-for-40 (27.5%) from the floor including 3-of-19 (15.8%) from three. At the half, OKC led 70-37.

The Warriors came out in the third quarter with a sense of urgency as they scored 4 straight in 58 seconds, but the Thunder kicked it back into gear following a Billy Donovan timeout. Golden State quickly became unhinged beginning with a technical foul on Steph Curry for inadvertent contact at Terrance Ferguson’s groin. Shortly after that, D’Angelo Russell was ejected after picking up two quick technicals for getting in an official’s face over a no-call.

Oklahoma City’s offense stayed hot knocking down 12-of-19 attempts in the third period, but the defense let up a bit as they allowed the Warriors to score 35 points in quarter. Headed into the final frame, the Thunder led 105-68.

The fourth quarter could essentially be labeled “garbage time” for both teams as starters barely saw the court, if at all. The Warriors were able to put together a 16-0 run in the middle of the period to cut into the deficit, but the Thunder’s ability to handle business early made finishing the game that much easier.

Defense Is the Key to Offense

Coming into tonight’s the game, the Thunder offense was arguably one of the worst in the league. It’s not that there are no scorers, because plenty of guys on this squad can get buckets; it’s the fact that shots weren’t really falling, and guys have been figuring out their specific roles. That all looked a bit different today.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his effectiveness at getting to the rim as he scored 19 points on 8-of-14 (57.1%), and Danilo Gallinari was hot from 3 as he knocked down 4-of-9 (44.4%) from deep, but contributions from Dennis Schröder (22 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists), Terrance Ferguson (13 points, 4 assists, and 2 rebounds), and Steven Adams (8 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists) were key to the offense putting up big numbers.

The offense doesn’t get all the credit, however. The defense was the key to the Thunder’s success early as Oklahoma City scored 17 point off Golden State turnovers in the first half alone. Putting the pressure on the opposing offense and creating chaos makes scoring come a lot more naturally, and the Thunder was able to create a number of extra opportunities for easy buckets in transition.

Enjoy It While It Lasts

Realistically speaking, Oklahoma City has a better chance this season of being on the losing side of a beatdown than the winning side. With that in mind, Thunder fans should take in today’s win and enjoy it, as it may not happen very often.

Last season, the Thunder had just 7 wins of 20 points or more and just 1 loss of more than 20 points. Who knows what those numbers will look like this season, but for now, OKC fans can bask in the glory of the success.

Thunder Player of the Game

With such a well-rounded performance, it’s difficult to pick just one player for Thunder Player of the Game, but based on his lackluster performances in the first two games of the season, Terrance Ferguson gets the honor tonight.

Ferguson played 30 minutes before sitting out the final period as he racked up 13 points on 5-of-7 (71.4%) from the floor including 3-for-4 (75.0%) from three. He also added in 4 assists and 2 rebounds in what was easily the best performance through 3 games for him so far.

Key Statlines

Thunder

  • Dennis Schröder: 22 points (9-13 FG), 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals
  • Danilo Gallinari: 21 points (4-9 3P, 7-7 FT)
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: 19 points (8-14 FG), 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks
  • Terrance Ferguson: 13 points (5-7 FG, 3-4 3P), 4 assists, 2 rebounds
  • Chris Paul: 10 points (2-2 3P, 4-4 FT), 3 rebounds, 2 assists
  • Steven Adams: 8 points (4-8 FG), 9 rebounds, 3 assists

Warriors

  • Steph Curry: 23 points (7-18 FG, 2-9 3P, 7-7 FT), 8 rebounds, 5 assists
  • Draymond Green: 10 points (4-9 FG, 1-4 3P), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
  • Marquese Chriss: 10 points (3-7 FG, 4-6 FT), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals
  • Eric Paschall: 10 points (4-6 FG), 3 rebounds

Headed to Houston

The Thunder is now headed down to Texas where they will take on Russell Westbrook and the Houston Rockets tomorrow night in the second game of a back-to-back. The Rockets are 1-1 on the season after defeating the New Orleans Pelicans at home last night, and this will be the first time that the Thunder has faced off against Russell Westbrook since he was traded to the Rockets this last summer.

Tip-off is set for 7 PM, 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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