Recap #18: OKC Thunder 120, Golden State Warriors 109 - A Great Team Getting Better vs A Bad Team Going Nowhere?

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We all knew beating the Thunder would be a tall order, but despite getting crushed on the boards and at the free throw line, the Warriors were somehow able to hang around until OKC shut the door in the fourth quarter. We all know what they did wrong, but I don't want to start my weekend by beating a dead horse, so jump to take a look at what the Warriors did right. Yes, this will be a short recap...

Creating Turnovers

We knew going into this one that the Thunder can be a bit turnover prone at times, and that the Warriors have shown an ability to create turnovers at times. So what happened tonight? The Thunder ended the night with 22 turnovers including 7 from Westbrook, and 7 from Durant. In the second half it seemed like the Thunder were just begging for the Warriors to take the lead, but every time OKC tried to hand the Dubs the game they handed it right back. Golden State ended up with 20 turnovers themselves. But hey, I thought I said I was going to focus on the positive... moving on...

Shoot the Three!

A lot of Warriors fans have been calling for more of a focus on getting three point shots on offense, and tonight that was one of the big reasons the Warriors were able to hang around so long. They put up 28 threes tonight and made 43% of them. With Rush, Curry, Thompson, and Wright out there this team should have no trouble taking and making threes. So far this season they've had a hard time consistently translating Monta penetration, and an improved post presence from Lee, into effective kickouts for open threes. Tonight they moved the ball around and found the open man outside.

Rookie Roundup

Klay Thompson continues to impress me on the court. He's much more well rounded than I expected coming into the season. He has a nice smooth handle, and moves very well without the ball, and puts in a solid effort on the defensive end. Yes, he makes his share of rookie mistakes on that end of the floor, but tonight he finished with three blocks to go along with his 6-8 shooting night. Now that his shot is finally falling he's looking more and more like a guy that could be a solid contributor at the SG spot for years to come.

Jeremy Tyler hasn't exactly seen consistent minutes so far this season, with seven appearances for 15 total minutes heading into tonight's game, but tonight coach Jackson went to him with the game on the line and he matched his season total in minutes in tonight's game. He still looked raw, but as Mark Jackson said after the game he doesn't mind mistakes if you play with a motor out there. Along with bringing good energy, he also flashed a nice outside shot, which took me off guard. I had no idea he had such a nice touch from 18-20 feet. He did bring expectations in said jumper back down to earth when he accidentally banked one in later in the game, but I won't let that bring me down. I was happy to see him get extended time, and I hope we see more of him from here on out.

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So, yeah... Not much to see here, except another one for the loss column. Hopefully this will be the season where it becomes abundantly clear to management that this core will not get it done. Frankly, I think they already know that, but might be unwilling to pay the short term PR price to position themselves for a better future. We'll know more by the trade deadline, but this is a team that should be selling off prime players for future assets, like you would see in baseball when a team is out of the hunt. If Lee keeps putting up good numbers you have to try to move him for salary relief and picks/prospects. Same goes for Monta. It's a short season, let's suck it up and focus on the future. Lee and Monta aren't bad players, but we can't continue to put band-aids on something that needs surgery.

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Dorell Wright

Yeah, it's easy to say that a lot of his 23 points came in garbage time, but he was finding other ways to contribute before he got hot from behind the arc, finishing the night with 9reb 5ast 2stl 1blk and 0 turnovers. Good game overall from Wright.

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