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Thunder slashed by Warriors 103-82

With the Oklahoma City Thunder fresh off of their first regular-season win, the Thunder snowballed to the Golden State Warriors 103-82. For the Thunder, their loss brings a callback to last week’s loss versus the Warriors while also plotting them back into the losing column at 1-5. In the case of the Warriors, their win thrusts themselves back into the pool of league leaders as they clock in at 5-1. 

Oklahoma City teetered with a single-possession deficit for the game’s first five minutes, but a five-minute 1-of-10 dry spell essentially drained the life out of the Thunder. In Oklahoma City’s 10-shot shooting woe, nine shots were hoisted from beyond-the-arch, with only one finding the mark off of a 24-foot Lu Dort jumper. The Thunder’s distasteful stretch placed the Warriors on a 10-5 streak, breaking Golden State off of their tight leash to open the door for a 28-20 lead through one. Though Oklahoma City fended the game off from a first-quarter blowout, the indication of one had been set in place. In the frame, the Thunder shot a paltry 8-of-20 (38.1%) overall while converting on only 1-of-11 dial-ups from distance. On the opposing side, Stephen Curry had been silenced to three points, however, an 11-point outburst from Draymond Green paved the way for a 44-percent clip from the field, and a 4-of-13 piecing from deep range.

The Golden State Warriors packed on some punches to open the second quarter utilizing a Moses Moody three and two inside buckets to rack up a 35-20 lead in the first two minutes of the frame. After the knockdown blow, Golden State failed to cast a knockout, shooting a mere 1-of-9 until the six-minute mark. With the opportunity to pick themselves back up, Oklahoma City remained on the mat scrapping together just seven points to remain out 37-27. The Warriors’ tactic of scoring in bunches reappeared to close the frame as behind two Andrew Wiggins triples and an alley-oop jam, the group gathered up a 14-7 run by the two-minute warning. Oklahoma City generated some moments of success in the dwindling moments, highlighted by a 27-foot buzzer beater from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — but it still kept them on the outside 55-44.

The Thunder toyed with a YMCA-esque statline for the grand portion of the frame. Though the group finished the half at a clean-cut 40 percent from the floor, a chalky 4-of-18 outing from the perimeter hindered the group below the 30-point mark until five minutes remained in the half. Most of Oklahoma’s City woes rested in their ball control as they had nearly twice the amount of turnovers (9) as assists (5.)

Golden State didn’t have complete footing in the first half despite shooting 45.8 percent from the floor while going trigger happy from three at 8-of-23 (34.8%,) however, they did find a stronghold in Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins — dropping 14 and 11 points, respectively. Stephen Curry had a taste of silent treatment in the first half shooting 2-of-6 (1-of-5 3PT) for 5 points and 3 assists.

The Thunder struck the half first with a Jeremiah Robinson-Earl layup, however, Stephen Curry blew the door open with three triples in the Warriors’ first four baskets. Curry’s early successes trickled down Oklahoma City’s depth chart as they posted an 18-9 run in the period’s first six minutes. Golden State mounted a 20-point advantage through-and-through for the third and it never quite let up — ultimately hitting the fourth quarter up 82-58. The third quarter presented a battle from beyond the arc as Golden State rallied in 7-of-14 triples while Oklahoma City struggled, going a mere 1-of-11. Steph Curry single handedly outscored the Thunder 15-14 as he honed in from distance shooting 5-of-8 on third-quarter trifectas.

Mark Daigneault opted to play his second unit for the entirety of the fourth quarter, placing both Aleksej Pokusevski and Ty Jerome on the court for a full 12 minutes. In the battle of benches, Oklahoma City managed to outscore Golden State 24-21 as Gabriel Deck unleashed 9 points (3-of-3 FG) in seven minutes to pair with 7 points from Aleksej Pokusevski. With the boost in production, the Thunder managed to scathe the 80-point mark, but were nowhere close to the win — falling 103-82.

It’d be best for Oklahoma City to put Saturday’s contest in the past as they never fully connected throughout the contest. The Thunder shot an abysmal 35.8 percent from the floor while narrowly hitting the 20-percent mark from three at 8-of-39 (20.8%.) Outside of their shooting funk, ball control had been at an all time low as they squandered 16 turnovers to their season-low 14 assists.

Golden State directed their attention to the three Saturday — and the results speak for themselves. Though the Warriors shot in the low forties from the floor, their ample takes from distance (52-of-92 shots were from three) landed them 21 conversions shooting 21-of-52 from deep. In stark contrast to the Thunder, Golden State prided themselves upon extra passes netting them 30 assists to 15 turnovers across the evening. 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 15 points (6-of-14 FG) to pair with 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Gilgeous-Alexander emerged as the undisputed star from the teams’ first meeting, but Golden State came with adjustments. SGA struggled to break through the Warriors on the interior leading to a flurry of long-range attempts, however, his hallmarked stepback three saw no success — finishing from three 2-of-7.

Lu Dort capped the night with 14 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist in 30 minutes. Dort had a difficult time generating buckets from distance shooting a lackluster 2-of-6, however, he did notch in 2-of-4 buckets inside to pad his scorecard. Dort’s primary role rested in defending Steph Curry, and though he did press the 31-year-old’s buttons on a few occasions, he was ultimately bested.

Josh Giddey provided Oklahoma City their best source of playmaking as the 19-year-old ironed out 10 points, 4 rebounds, and a team-high 6 assists in 28 minutes. Giddey flourished around the cup going 5-of-9 on twos and finding some sync on his floaters, though the Aussie did shank both of his threes. Giddey’s large frame dazed Golden State’s defense primarily in the pick-and-roll as he caught a flurry of defenders with moving hesis and dump offs throughout the evening.

Ty Jerome and Aleksej Pokusevski received larger roles on Saturday evening as both members logged 19 minutes a piece. Jerome kept his scoring to the perimeter hitting 2-of-3 shots from deep, but he also packed a punch with 3 assists and 2 steals. Pokusevski chatted with a double-double, racking up 7 points (2-of-4 FG) and 9 rebounds to pair with a block. As a result of the upped portion sizes, teammates in Derrick Favors and Theo Maledon took a cut in minutes with 10 and 8 minutes played, respectively.

Darius Bazley failed to follow up on last game’s 20-point performance dropping 5 points and 8 rebounds in the bucket. Bazely’s multi-faceted scoring was erased off the board Saturday as the forward shot a measly 1-of-7 while going a hitless 0-of-5 from distance. 

The Oklahoma City Thunder (1-5) will continue their west coast trip on Monday as they will square off against the Los Angeles Clippers (1-4.)

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