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Warriors overcome slow start, defeat Thunder 110-98 behind well-rounded effort

Despite an ugly first quarter, the Dubs (mostly) cruised to their ninth straight win.

Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (22) drives to the basket around Oklahoma City Thunder forward Darius Bazley (7) during the second quarter at Paycom Center. Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

After three days off, the Golden State Warriors were back in action on Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Warriors started a short two-game road trip with a 110-98 victory at the Paycom Center, which extended their winning streak to nine games.

Things started slowly for the Dubs. The Warriors shot 3-for-13 from three and committed five turnovers in the first quarter, but the Thunder only led 23-20. Oklahoma City was unable to capitalize on Golden State’s ugly start and the Dubs never looked back.

Golden State’s offense found its rhythm and quickly took control of the game. Andrew Wiggins was the Dubs leading scorer at the half, with 13 points on 55.6% shooting from the field, but he was far from the only Warrior to get in on the action. Rookie Jonathan Kuminga played some small-ball center and was a huge part of the Warriors' turnaround. He scored 11 points in the first half, finishing multiple highlight-reel dunks in transition and out-of-timeout plays.

Jordan Poole was also fantastic off the bench, but it was not his scoring that earned some extra attention. Poole filled the stat sheet. In the first two quarters, he had 7 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and was tied with Kuminga for a game-high +13 plus/minus.

Thunder wings Luguentz Dort and Darius Bazley were aggressive early in the third quarter and prevented the Warriors from extending their lead with fantastic offensive quarters. Bazley finished with 20 points and 8 rebounds. Dort had 26 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals, but committed 5 turnovers.

Leading 85-72 heading into the fourth quarter, Golden State continued struggling to put the Thunder away. Oklahoma City kept within striking distance but also could not consistently slow down the Dubs.

However, after the Warriors had kept their lead above double digits for the entire second half, three straight Golden State turnovers allowed the Thunder to cut the lead to 5 with less than three minutes to go in regulation. Then, Klay Thompson, despite struggling from deep all game up to that point, hit two threes to put the game out of reach.

Thompson, whose minutes restriction has jumped from 25 to 30 minutes a game, was a secondary offensive piece for most of the night. He had some highlight passes and continued flashing his improved ability as a passer, but was fairly inconsistent until the final minutes. He finished with 21 points on 6-for-14 shooting from the field (3-for-8 from three).

Warriors star guard Stephen Curry was pivotal to Golden State’s victory, but primarily through positioning his teammates for success. As has been a trend throughout the Warriors' winning streak, the other Dubs took advantage of the spacing Curry creates. Curry scored 18 points along with 10 assists, 9 rebounds, and 4 turnovers.

Kuminga finished with 16 points, while adding four rebounds and four assists, but Poole’s overall contribution was as important off the bench. Despite shooting 1-for-4 from three, Poole made all four of his two-point attempts and recorded 11 points, 8 assists, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, and finished a game-high +17. He easily could have had double-digit assists had his teammates knocked down just a couple more open shots.

It was not all good news for the Warriors. While Andre Iguodala was effective in his first game back after missing the last eight games, he was forced to leave the game with back tightness after just six minutes of playing time.

The Warriors will now head to Salt Lake City, where they will face the Jazz on Wednesday, February 9th at 7:00 PM Pacific Standard Time. Utah has cooled slightly after their meteoric rise up the Western Conference standings. They are 3-7 in their past ten games, but still have the fourth-best record in the standings.

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