In the franchise’s first in-season tournament game ever, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 141-139. In a wild offensive showcase, on the brightest blue basketball court you’ve probably ever seen, the Dubs managed to remain undefeated on the road. The Warriors are now 5-1 in the young season, in sole possession of second place in the Western Conference.
Dario's on FIRE.— Joe Viray (@JoeVirayNBA) November 4, 2023
Thunder blitz CP at the half-court mark, Dario's there to relieve him and no one's there to rotate. pic.twitter.com/QKGkDFWZVm
(NOTE: Games in the in-season tournament are treated like any other regular season game in the playoff standings. You can read more about how the in-season tournament itself works here.)
There were fireworks from the opening tip, with the teams trading basket for basket all through the first quarter. The Dubs’ offense was humming, but the Thunder seemingly couldn’t miss anything. Golden State didn’t play their best defense, but even their good defensive possessions were met by buckets from Chet Holmgren, Jalen Williams, and the rest of the Thunder’s explosive young team.
As has been the case so far this season, things settled when Steve Kerr turned to his bench. Dario Šarić caught absolute fire, making three shots from distance in the quarter, and finishing the frame with a team-high 11 points, while Chris Paul brought a calming presence. An electric first frame ended with a 38-33 Warriors lead. Šarić finished the day with 20 points.
OKC didn’t cool off in the second quarter. They kept firing and kept hitting, from all over the court. The Dubs answered plenty of times, but were bit by their own sloppiness. Not only were the Warriors committing turnovers, but they seemed to be committing ones that led to easy buckets.
Even so, some excellent ball movement and a little dose of Steph Curry brilliance led to 31 second-quarter points. A sensational attempt at a buzzer-beating three by Klay Thompson was waived off after video review showed the ball still in his hands as the clock expired, but Golden State still had a 69-67 lead at the break.
Any hopes for a renewed ability to shut down Oklahoma City in the second half were quickly dashed by Lu Dort. Halfway through the third quarter, Dort was a perfect 9-for-9 from the field, including 6-for-6 from distance, and he finished the frame with 16 points. But once again, Golden State’s offense wasn’t going away.
The Warriors trailed 127-125 halfway through the fourth quarter, leaving plenty of time to see if either team could keep up their incredible offensive pace. Golden State’s continued ability to generate second-chance opportunities helped them stay within striking distance even as the Thunder maintained higher efficiency.
Andrew Wiggins was noticeably more aggressive on the glass throughout the game, and gave Golden State several second-chance opportunities. The Dubs ability to slow down the bleeding allowed Thompson to knock down a game-tying three with a few minutes left in regulation. Thompson only needed 10 field-goal attempts to score 18 points.
Neither offense caught fire in the final minutes, but Williams knocked down a bank shot and split a pair of free throws to give the Thunder a 136-133 lead. A driving layup by Curry in the final minute cut Golden State’s deficit to one. Then, Gary Payton II forced a steal that was picked up by Thompson. Thompson was immediately fouled.
The Warriors were already in the bonus, so Thompson capitalized on an opportunity to give Golden State a 137-136 lead with 38.8 seconds remaining.
Coming out of a timeout, the Thunder isolated Holmgren on Draymond Green. The former second overall pick, playing in just his sixth career game, drove inside and drew a blocking foul with 32.5 seconds remaining. Holmgren made both attempts, putting Oklahoma City ahead 138-137.
Rather than milking the clock, Green immediately drove inside. The Thunder’s defense was so focused on keeping the ball out of Curry’s hands, that it left GPII a path toward the basket. Green quickly tossed Payton the ball, who converted an alley-oop layup.
Dort drew another foul on the other end, but only split the free throws. So, the Warriors had the ball with 16.4 seconds remaining in a 139-139 game.
The Warriors in-bounded the ball to Curry, who waited until there was eight seconds left to make his move. He drove past Dort with a crossover, but Holmgren came over to try and block the shot. Curry miraculously tossed a layup over Holmgren’s hands off the backboard and in.
However, the referees had blown their whistle because they called basket interference on Green. Upon review, Green had touched the rim, but Josh Giddey had touched the net first, meaning the basket counted, securing the Warriors’ victory.
STEPHEN CURRY FOR THE LEAD!!! pic.twitter.com/b5qBFd7jd0— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 4, 2023
Curry finished the game with 28 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals on 8-for-14 shooting from the field (5-for-10 from three). Jonathan Kuminga added 19 points off the bench, with 18 from Thompson, 17 from Wiggins, and 15 from Green. Paul only scored a single point, but finished with 13 assists to no turnovers.
The Warriors trip through the eastern time zone will continue through the weekend. Golden State will return to the court on Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 3:00 PM Pacific.