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Warriors vs. Thunder Preview: Build on the success

Coming off a big win, Golden State has a chance against a struggling OKC squad.

The Golden State Warriors put together perhaps their best performance of the season on Monday, beating one of the West’s best in the Denver Nuggets, and genuinely looking like a high quality team.

And as a reward, they now get to visit one of baseball’s very worst teams, sans its best player.

It’s a game that should be a gimme for the Dubs, so ... hopefully they don’t disappoint.

The deets

Who: Golden State Warriors (26-28) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (20-34)

When: 6:00 p.m. PT

Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

TV: NBC Sports Bay Area

Projected starting lineups:

Warriors: Stephen Curry, Kent Bazemore, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney
Thunder: Theo Maledon, Luguentz Dort, Darius Bazley, Isaiah Roby, Moses Brown

Last results:

Warriors: Beat the Nuggets 116-107 — 3-2 in their last 5 games
Thunder: Lost to the Jazz 106-96 — 0-5 in their last 5 games

The story

The Warriors probably don’t need 53 points from Steph Curry this time, though it would be nice. They probably don’t need a dynamic two-way performance from Draymond Green this time, though it would also be nice.

They’re going up against a team that has lost seven straight, with a starting lineup featuring exactly zero players that the average NBA fan knows about.

The Warriors should not let this game be close at any point. Other than, you know, when it’s 0-0 and whatnot.

Players to watch

Warrior to watch: Andrew Wiggins.

Let’s be honest: Steph Curry will probably not have 53 points on 14-for-24 shooting, and Draymond Green will probably not have 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting. But against a bad Thunder team, there’s ample opportunity for the Warriors role players to find some rhythm.

It would be great if Wiggins can do exactly that. He won’t have as difficult of a defensive assignment as on most nights, so now’s the time to shine on offense.

Thunder to watch: Luguentz Dort.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is sidelined with injury, and Al Horford is sidelined as the team focuses on its future and rebuilds. And so with that, Dort becomes OKC’s go-to player. He’s still incredibly raw — he’s played fewer than 80 career games, and is just 21 — but he’s capable of putting on a display on both ends of the court. He had 42 points last night, for instance.

Matchup to watch: Golden State’s bench vs. Oklahoma City’s bench.

The Warriors bench has not been a strength this year, but against a team like the Thunder, that unit has a chance to shine. Keep your eye on Jordan Poole, Damion Lee, and Juan Toscano-Anderson, as the Warriors try win the minutes that Steph Curry sits.

Keys to victory

  • Make being the small team an advantage, not a disadvantage
  • Jump out to an early lead
  • Aggressive but disciplined play on offense
  • Rebound well, and keep the Thunder out of the paint

Get a winning streak to three, Dubs.

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