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Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City game preview: Unleash the kraken

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Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Matchup
Golden State Warriors
9-2 (4-1 Road)
vs
Oklahoma City Thunder
3-11 (2-4 Home)
Details
November 23, 2014
Chesapeake Energy Arena, OKC
4:00PM PT
CSN Bay Area | KNBR 680 AM
Blog Buddy: Welcome to Loud City
Projected Starters
Stephen Curry G Reggie Jackson
Klay Thompson G Andre Roberson
Harrison Barnes F Lance Thomas
Draymond Green F Serge Ibaka
Andrew Bogut C Steven Adams
Key Injuries
David Lee - Out

Um, Russell Westbrook - Out
UMMM Kevin Freaking Durant - Out

2014/15 Four Factors
eFG% TOV% ORB% FT/FGA eFG% TOV% ORB% FT/FGA
.559 (1st) 17.5 (Last) 21.6 (27th) .224 (13th) OFF .466 (28th) 15.0 (26th) 25.7 (16th) .201 (21st)
.453 (3rd) 14.9 (8th) 73.9 (17th) .220 (17th) DEF .479 (6th) 12.2 (23rd) 72.5 (28th) .207 (13th)

★★★

The 2014-15 Warriors are a goddamn buzzsaw. They are the kraken, smashing hapless vessels who drift aimlessly into the range of their powerful tentacular appendages. Even their semiaquatic sibling Admiral Ackbar's warnings of a trap game against the Utah Jazz on Friday were proven to be a waste of his somewhat strained and gurgled breath; the Jazz were blown out of the water early and in spectacular fashion.

This matchup against the struggling Thunder is perhaps again worthy of Ackbar's apprehension, but even if they dropped this game I wouldn't clutch my pearls. This year's Warriors have proven that unlike in years passed, they are capable of laying teams out flat, especially those that on paper they should beat handily. But every team, no matter how great, will slip up from time to time and lose a game they shouldn't. The problem is if that shows as a trend, and thus far that does not look like a crack in this team's mental armor. If they lose to the Thunder, Miami Heat, and then the Orlando Magic to make it a hat trick of suck, then I'll start fretting, and we'll all find myriad flaws to beat like dead horses.

That said, I will be surprised if they lose this game. The Thunder are built around Durant and Westbrook, and neither of those guys have anything close to facsimiles. Scott Brooks has at times done a great job of putting this cast of misfits in positions to compete, but, I mean ... Lance Thomas and Andre Roberson start for this team, and I'm not even sure those are real human beings. They kinda sound like Philadelphia 76ers. (I actually like Roberson quite a bit from what little I've seen, but I may have dreamed that up.)

Here's the crazy thing: Even if Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were healthy and playing well, considering how good this Warriors team has looked ... would the Warriors still be favored? Yes, right?

The Warriors currently sit at No. 2 in the league in defense, and have crept up to ninth in offense. That latter number still feels like it should be higher when you look at this roster, until you also consider that all of these blowouts have led to extended garbage time featuring a few players who have not been gifted with the offensive weapons that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson so easily let loose. The Warriors have a +15.6 point differential in games they've won, and they've been able to do so without playing any player over 33 minutes per game, including Curry and Thompson.

And they've done all this without David Lee!

This team is now nationally heralded, taking the Thunder's place as a popular Western Conference club to hype up (while pretending those boring old Spurs finally went away). It's all warranted, every last bit of it. And while I'm not going to freak out if the Warriors forget to show up in Oklahoma City, I'm also not going to bizarro freak out if they sweep this road trip. Miami is always a tough customer, but Detroit, Charlotte, and OKC all look like wins on paper — and I'd probably say that about any team other than the Spurs. Because that just feels like where this team is at right now: pretty much better than everybody else. They have room to falter without causing too much concern, and room to improve without looking like a complete aberration.

I might be overconfident, but who cares. This is too much fun.