Well that was a not fun way to spend a Thursday night. Absent Steph Curry and Draymond Green, the Golden State Warriors dropped their fifth straight game, losing 128-109 to an Oklahoma City Thunder team that had more energy, more discipline, and most importantly, more talent.
I’ll be honest, y’all. I’m not exactly jumping up and down to write about this game. So let’s hold hands, take a deep breath, and try and get through it together.
As always, grades are based on my expectations of each player. A “B” grade represents the average performance for that player.
Note: True-shooting percentage (TS) is a scoring efficiency metric that accounts for threes and free throws. Entering Thursday’s games, league-average TS was 57.2%.
24 minutes, 12 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 4-for-10 shooting, 2-for-3 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 55.1% TS, -3
It was very noteworthy that Šarić started this game ... not in place of the ejected Green, but in place of Kevon Looney. He started the last one too, but after Sunday’s game, I had pegged that lineup switch as merely being due to a matchup the team had just seen.
I’m guessing this is just Steve Kerr trying to find ways to get a little more offense on the court, especially with Curry out, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
It was a fairly nondescript game. His stats were about as expected, but he didn’t really spark too much. He’s a good player though, and that shows up even in the less memorable games.
27 minutes, 21 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 8-for-13 shooting, 1-for-4 threes, 4-for-5 free throws, 69.1% TS, -11
There he is! There he is! There’s the Kuminga that we were all so excited to watch after a thrilling preseason.
With Curry out and the offense struggling, Kuminga, who has been chasing the role of go-to scorer all year, made it materialize. The Dubs fed him the ball time and time again, and he made good things happen. He’s so much more comfortable drawing contact this year — he entered the game shooting 11.2 free throws per 100 possessions, after just 4.7 a year ago — and he’s making his free throws too.
An attacking Kuminga is a problem!— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 17, 2023
He's up to 18 points tonight pic.twitter.com/lNOimA5gDC
He didn’t force bad shots in this one, and just as excitingly, he really showed out in the intangibles. He was running all of the court, hustling, putting his athleticism to use, diving out of bounds, and keeping possessions alive.
JK put himself in a few suboptimal situations, hence the turnovers, but other than that, he really did everything that Kerr wants him to be doing right now. His best game of the year, I thought. And he now joins Šarić and Brandin Podziemski as the only Warriors other than Steph to score 20 points in a game this year.
I did not see that one coming.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points.
26 minutes, 12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 turnovers, 2 fouls, 6-for-13 shooting, 0-for-4 threes, 46.2% TS, -2
A kind of complicated Wiggins game. On the one hand, most of the bad that has come to define his season was still on display. His poor free throw shooting has seemed to make him timid about drawing fouls, and he’s now just 5-for-37 on threes, with a jump shot that looks as flat as Kyrie Irving thinks the earth is. He’s up to 24 turnovers against just 13 assists on the season (exactly one assist per game), and he only has five steals, while struggling on the defensive glass.
But there was also a lot to like. Pretty much all of Wiggins’ successful offense came at the rim, and as the game went on he seemed to figure that out. You could see it clicking a little bit that finding holes in the defense and attacking the rim would lead to easy buckets. That seemed to motivate him, and he brought a fair amount of energy and hustle to the game. I thought his defense was pretty good.
Look at Wiggs crash the boards pic.twitter.com/pQJp59tbAl— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 17, 2023
The offensive rebounding remains awesome, if slightly confusing: he has exactly the same number of offensive and defensive boards.
28 minutes, 15 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 4-for-8 shooting, 4-for-6 threes, 3-for-3 free throws, 80.5% TS, -3
No one can replace Curry, but what a luxury it is to be able to slide another Hall of Famer into the lineup, and get a glistening assist-to-turnover ratio with some high-efficiency scoring and solid leadership.
It was a very nice game for CP3, forced into a larger role.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists.
27 minutes, 5 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 1-for-10 shooting, 1-for-6 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 23.0%TS, -2
The best thing you can say about Klay’s game is that the shooting numbers look worse than they should have been, because a fair number of his shots were bail-outs at the end of the shot clock.
But that’s about the only good thing you can say about his game. I think he tried hard on defense, so there’s that.
19 minutes, 13 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 6-for-9 shooting, 1-for-2 free throws, 65.8% TS, -17
Don’t let the plus/minus lead you astray: this was a phenomenal Looney game. He didn’t have enough to carry the team to victory, but he was playing like he was hell bent on doing exactly that. Of the 24 players who stepped on the court on Thursday, 16 played more minutes than Looney ... and no one had as many rebounds.
Looney kept countless possessions alive, and at times seemed to box out three different Thunder players at once. When he got the ball in the paint, he bulldozed defenders like a fullback and got easy buckets.
It was awesome.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
5 minutes, 0 points, 1 block, +1
Just garbage time for TJD, who didn’t really do anything noteworthy one way or the other.
Post-game bonus: Tied for the best plus/minus on the team.
4 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1-for-3 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 33.3% TS, -1
If you turned off an ugly game early, then you missed something very exciting: an NBA debut! Santos made his first appearance in an NBA game, and scored his first bucket.
First NBA buckets for Gui pic.twitter.com/7K9OZnMCEJ— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 17, 2023
For that, there’s only one grade to give.
20 minutes, 3 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1-for-7 shooting, 1-for-6 threes, 21.4% TS, -16
Two things can be true.
First, this is exactly the type of game that Mike Dunleavy Jr. had in mind when he signed Joseph to a one-year deal. With Curry out, the Dubs needed a veteran who could run the ship a little.
Second, this type of game reminds you to not take Curry for granted, and to hope with all your might that he’s back for Saturday.
Gary Payton II
8 minutes, 1 point, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 foul, 0-for-4 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 10.2% TS, -12
I’m not sure if something was going on with Payton or if this was just a bad game from him. Either way, it was a bad game from him.
23 minutes, 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 5-for-11 shooting, 2-for-4 threes, 0-for-1 free throws, 52.4% TS, -4
I’m not sure if he was trying to or not, but Kerr sure seemed to have lit a fire in Moody. For one reason or another, Moody didn’t play at all in the first quarter. And then he played in the second quarter and immediately made it clear that he intended to prove that he should have played earlier.
Eventually some of the shots stopped falling, but Moody was having an excellent offensive game, hitting open looks and cutting to the rim. His defense and rebounding were strong, and he played with controlled aggression.
4 minutes, 0 points, 1 foul, 0-for-3 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 0.0% TS, +1
Just a little garbage time for Q, who has played sparingly this year.
25 minutes, 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 5 fouls, 4-for-7 shooting, 3-for-4 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 82.5% TS, -26
True to his word, Kerr put Podz in the rotation for this game. He probably won’t be getting this many minutes every night — at least not when Curry and Green return — but nice to see him get some run.
There were some serious growing pains, as Podziemski got cooked a bit on defense. But he showed off some absolutely sensational creativity and defense-bending brilliance with the ball in his hands, and we saw a sharpshooting display that was a huge part of why he rose to a first-round pick.
The rebounding remains sensational, and he is just a blast to watch.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
Thursday’s inactives: Steph Curry, Usman Garuba, Draymond Green, Jerome Robinson