Well, at least it was an exciting loss, as the Warriors fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 115-127. Finally, in the fourth game these teams have played against each other this season, the stars for the Thunder came to play for the whole 48 minutes. The same cannot be said for the Warriors, who, as a matter of fact, were without two of their big name players. Steve Kerr chose to Popovich Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala in anticipation of a back-to-back, meaning both players were besuited and watching the game from the bench. It's safe to say that both of these defensive-minded players were missed by the Warriors (see final score).
The game itself was a fast-paced offensive explosion on both sides of the ball, and both teams were on fire in the first quarter. They shot a combined 27-of-42 from the field, and the Klay Thompson/Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrook duos had 17 points each in the first. However, the Thunder were the ones to pull away in the late second quarter, and they held the Warriors at arm's length the rest of the game.
While Curry stalled offensively, save for a couple of third quarter threes, Thompson was able to continue exploiting the Thunder defense. He did so by driving and using a series of up-and-under moves in addition to his usual three point shooting. The further development of his off-the-dribble game will be the positive to take away from this game, as will his smaller head bandage.
The issue was not necessarily the Warriors' offense in this game, though; it was their defense. They gave up their most points in a half, most points in a game, and most points in the paint this season. Some of these failings were, of course, due to the lack of Bogut and Iguodala, but credit should also go to the Thunder stars. Let's take a moment to gawk at some stat lines:
Kevin Durant: 36 pts, 14-18 fg, 9 reb, 4 ast
Russell Westbrook: 17 pts, 15 reb, 17 ast (career high)
Serge Ibaka: 27 pts (ties career high), 12-18 fg, 8 reb
Those are monster numbers. The fact that the Warriors were within striking distance for most of the game is actually surprising. These three superstars must have benefited from the lack of interior defense from the Warriors, but they also benefited from being amazing at scoring the basketball. They are the reason the Warriors should be afraid of the Thunder showing up as the 8th seed in the playoffs, and opposing fans should sigh in relief every time Dion Waiters or Reggie Jackson shoot the ball because they are not named Kevin Durant.
The good news is the Warriors don't have to play the Thunder anymore this regular season. The great news is they won the season series 3-1. The bad news is they have Houston tomorrow night. Hopefully Bogut and Iguodala are well-rested and the Warriors can start another winning streak.
-Does it count as a posterization when the ball slams off back iron, flies into the air, and then drops back into the net? If so, Westbrook had the strangest posterization of Draymond Green I've ever seen.
-There were a couple minutes where Durant was guarding Curry on one end and Curry was guarding Westbrook on the other. That's quite the ringer for Curry to go through.
-After the first quarter, Scott Brooks wisely gave up on Andre Roberson, who missed one wide open three and then passed up another one just to turn the ball over. His lack of shooting really hurts the Thunder.
-Draymond coaxed Kendrick Perkins into getting a technical, which seems obvious now that I'm typing it. Also, Steve Kerr boosted his technical tally right before halftime and just minutes after ESPN played audio of him saying he's become nicer towards referees.