Preview/Game Thread: Golden State Warriors At Oklahoma City Thunder

Golden State Warriors (11-15) at Oklahoma City Thunder (22-7)

TV: CSN Bay Area HD / Radio: KNBR1050

5 p.m. PST

Blog Buddy: Welcome To Loud City

It might be easy to look at the Golden State Warriors' game in Oklahoma City tonight as a golden opportunity to knock off one of the NBA's best teams after two relatively close games with the Thunder at Oracle Arena.

Oklahoman staff writer John Rohde reports that the Thunder will definitely be without the services of injured center Kendrick Perkins and swingman Thabo Shefolosha. Superstar Kevin Durant is listed as questionable after reports of not feeling well this morning at shootaround.

But after Wednesday night's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers who were without injured star LaMarcus Aldridge, perhaps we should know better than to take any team for granted now. And J.A. Sherman of SB Nation's Thunder site Welcome To Loud City suggests that the loss of Perkins might not even be a big deal.

The loss of Perkins should not bother the Thunder too much, since generally speaking he does not play much in fast-tempo games. In the 2/7 game against the Warriors, Perkins logged only 19 minutes. Nazr Mohammed will be starting in his place, and there is the possibility that Cole Aldrich may be called up to fill out the hole at the center position.

To add to Sherman's point, Perkins wasn't even much of a factor in the last meeting where he would hypothetically hurt the Warriors most statistically: rebounding.

Of course, Perkins' absence certainly won't make the Thunder rebound any better, which Oklahoman staff writer Darnell Mayberry rightly points out is a significant weakness.

Deficient defensive rebounding. By allowing 12.5 offensive rebounds per game, the Thunder is in a three-way tie for 29th with Golden State and Sacramento in defensive rebounding. It's been a problem all season, as OKC has at least 14 offensive rebounds 13 times while holding opponents to less than 10 only twice.

However the flip side to that story is that the Thunder do so many other things well that they're winning in spite of their poor rebounding. And obviously neither of these teams is going to dominate the boards on a regular basis. And for what it's worth, Perkins had a grand total of 2 rebounds in that last game that the Thunder won at Oracle Arena.

That's not at all to say that Perkins' absence won't have an impact on the game - his role defensively is as important as anything else. But let's be honest: the Warriors aren't beating many teams by pounding the ball into the low post anyway. And for the Warriors' part, it's unlikely that Monta Ellis drops 48 on the Thunder again.

As Sherman alludes to, even a semi-healthy Durant for 25 minutes could do enough damage to beat "the Warriors onslaught" in OKC, despite the absence of the other two...and that's a somewhat sobering thought, if you were starting to feel good about this team's direction to begin with.
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