The Big Picture
In its first of three-straight West Coast matchups, the Thunder fell to the Warriors in a low scoring matchup 103-82. Neither team shot the ball with consistent efficiency through 48 minutes, but a lopsided third frame gave the Warriors all the separation they needed to keep the Thunder out of reach the rest of the contest despite a late fourth-quarter burst by the Thunder. Offensively, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder in scoring with 15 points, Lu Dort chipped in 14 points and Josh Giddey added 10 to go along with six assists.
Moments from the 48
Low-Scoring Battle While the Thunder held Golden State to just eight free throw attempts and went plus-8 in points in the paint, OKC’s offense couldn’t generate enough consistency to keep pace with the Warriors on Saturday. In addition to several of the Thunder’s open looks not falling, throughout the night Golden State switched up its defensive coverage going from a zone back to man-to-man which played a factor in keeping the Thunder’s offense out of rhythm and shooting just 20 percent from deep and 35 percent from the field.
“I think the lesson there is when it's not falling, we got to find grimier ways to try to generate points,” said Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault. “We got to hit the paint more, we've got to get to the line more. Sometimes just have to kind of grind out offense and I thought there were opportunities probably to do that tonight that we didn't take advantage of it.”
Lopsided Third Frame Despite a lackluster shooting performance in the first half, the Thunder went into the locker room trailing by just 11 points as the Warriors went just 8 for 23 from behind the arc. In the third quarter, however it was Steph Curry who fanned Golden State’s offensive fire by cashing in 15 points and knocking down five triples after posting just five points in the entire first half. Unable to respond to the Warriors’ offensive burst, the Thunder was outscored 27-14 in the frame.
“I kind of knew they were going to go to [Curry] just because he had a low-scoring first half,” said Thunder wing Lu Dort. “He’s a tough player and even the shots he got were tough and he made them. We just had to adjust.”
“We had the game kind of under control coming out of the half. We were kind of in a similar situation to the other night [against the Warriors] and just couldn't keep it there,” said Daigneault. “Credit them they made some shots and made some plays there to open the game up.”
Sprinting Through the Finish Line The Thunder’s closing lineup outscored the Warriors 16-4 over the final six minutes which included an 11-1 run to close out the game. Although the game was out of reach at that point, the team pride itself on sprinting through the finish line and taking advantage of every opportunity on the floor as a chance to get better and gain experience. Thunder forward Gabriel Deck checked into the game for the Thunder in those final six minutes and logged nine points going a perfect 3 for 3 from the field.
“Some of those guys hadn't played up until that point. And the way you keep yourself ready and the way you stay sharp and the way you build trust with your team is by going out there and playing the right way regardless of circumstance,” said Daigneault. “You only get 48 minutes you only get 82 games, and we don't want to waste any of them especially with a growing team. Those are all opportunities that fit those guys in this job.”br>
“Those minutes matter,” said Thunder guard Ty Jerome who finished with eight points. “Those minutes add up. Those minutes can help you get into a rhythm. Those minutes can help you learn some things and get extra game experience. Those minutes definitely matter anytime you're on a court. Our coaches say it all the time, run through the finish line and that can bleed into next game too.”
The Last Word
Coach Daigneault on the night overall…"I thought a lot of the issues tonight were offensively. We had that stretch there to start the third where our defense did slip a little bit. But for the most part we made a make shots. They made a lot of shots, and they shot the ball really well from three but we outscored them in the paint, we kept them off the line, did a lot of good things defensively. Just didn't have it tonight offensively from a rhythm standpoint and then didn't have the solutions to generate that rhythm.”
The Thunder’s three-game West Coast road trip continues with a trip to Southern California for a pair of contests in Los Angeles. OKC will face the Clippers on Monday before taking on the Lakers Thursday.