In a game with playoff energy, or at least play-in energy, the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder slugged it out at the Chase Center. While the Warriors never held a lead until nearly 40 minutes into the game, they pulled away to come away with a huge 136-125 win that temporarily put them into 5th place in the Western Conference.
Steph Curry led the way with 34 points, but it was Jordan Poole who was the closer late. He had 18 points in the final quarter, including eight straight Warriors points as they put the game away down the stretch.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the way for Oklahoma City with 32 points, one of six OKC players in double figures. But the Thunder’s red-hot first-half shooting abandoned them after halftime, especially from three-point range, where the Warriors finished with a 30-point advantage.
It was another new lineup for the Golden State Warriors, and another terrible defensive performance early. With Klay Thompson out, the Warriors started Anthony Lamb and Jonathan Kuminga alongside Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Jordan Poole. And then they gave up 39 points in the first quarter.
The Warriors couldn’t get a lead in the first half, despite tying the game a few times. Some of that was due to OKC completing four three-point plays in the half, with only a missed Lu Dort free throw from making it five.
Golden State gave up a stunning 79 points, allowing the Thunder to shoot nearly 60% from the field while also sending them to the foul line for 21 free throws. Steph Curry scored 24 points, more than the rest of the starting lineup combined. They hit 11/22 three-pointers, and still trailed by ten at the half.
The third quarter started with a new lineup, with Donte DiVincenzo and Kevon Looney replacing Lamb and Kuminga. It paid dividends immediately, with DiVincenzo draining two three-pointers early and hitting Curry for another a few minutes later.
Donte is hitting all the big shots pic.twitter.com/xR8kag70qa— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 5, 2023
The Warriors got as close as two points multiple times, but continued to turn the ball over in big moments. They were forcing fast breaks too much, routinely throwing passes just a bit too long. Plus, OKC relentless double-teaming of Curry led to offensive confusion, and the team’s usual overly-ambitious passing to overcome it.
The closest they got was one point, after Moses Moody got a three-point play the hard way, rebounding a missed Draymond Green free throw and slamming it home.
After a Dario Saric technical foul, the Warriors began the final quarter trailing 106-103. They got the lead down to one after a possession where they casually passed the ball around to beat the shot clock with a Moses Moody jumper. Then Poole tied it with another long triple that actually went in, and it was 108-108.
39 1⁄2 minutes into the game, the Warriors took their first lead when Jordan Poole made two of three free throws to make it 110-108. Then Poole retook the lead with a wild, leaning three-pointer.
It meant that when Curry and Green re-entered, they were coming in with a one-point lead. DiVincenzo and GPII tapped out a rebound to Curry for his sixth three, which gave Golden State a three-point lead, and then DiVincenzo exploited a double team, finding GPII for an assist to a wide-open Draymond Green.
Donte and GP2 keep it alive for a Steph three pic.twitter.com/KSyLYfHprY— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 5, 2023
In between, OKC coach Mark Daigenault went crazy, because the referees didn’t let him substitute in Santa Clara Jalen Williams when the Warriors inbounded the ball so quickly. If the Warriors end up clinching a playoff spot by two games, it may be thanks to controversial inbounds plays against the Thunder and the Mavericks. (No word on the Mavericks’ protest yet.)
Mark Daigneault was beyond angry after OKC was not allowed to sub in a player pic.twitter.com/bjTBT2mGFo— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 5, 2023
Then Poole got hot shooting and got to the line over and over, while the Warriors started getting stops. With a few minutes left, Daigenault waved the white flag and cleared his bench.
Golden State also got big performances for their second-year players. Moody had 13 points in 25 minutes, while Kuminga finished with nine points and eight boards. But it was DiVincenzo who was the secret weapon, clocking a whopping +28 for the game.
The Warriors finished the home season with a 33-8 record. They’re off until Friday’s battle with the Beam Team (and possible first-round opponent) Sacramento Kings, and then they finish out the schedule on the road in Portland.