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Game Preview: Warriors vs. Thunder - 2/24/18

BACK ON THE BIG STAGE
The Warriors once again occupy the NBA Saturday primetime spot. Saturday’s matchup with the Thunder will mark the fourth time in the last five ABC primetime matchups that features the Dubs. This Western Conference showdown will mark the third of this season’s four matchups with Oklahoma City. All fans attending the game, which has an early weekend tipoff time of 5:30 p.m., will receive a Splash Towel, courtesy of State Farm. Those unable to make the game can watch the action on ABC or listen to Tim Roye with the call on 95.7 The Game, the Warriors Mobile App and the Warriors Radio Network. FIND TICKETS

LAST TIME OUT
Stephen Curry scored 29 of his 44 points in the second half and the Dubs held on to pick up a 134-127 win over the visiting Clippers on Thursday night. Full Recap


MATCHUP AT A GLANCE

GSW OKC
45-14 34-26
2nd in West 5th in West
PTS: 116.2 (1st) PTS: 106.7 (13th)
REB: 44.1 (12th) REB: 44.9 (5th)
AST: 30.5 (1st) AST: 21.2 (26th)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
The Thunder are the only opponent the Warriors have faced and not beaten this season. The Dubs lost each of this season’s first two meetings with the Thunder, both by more than 20 points. Kevin Durant has averaged 27 points while shooting 51.6 percent from the floor in the two games against his former team this season, but one thing that has really hurt the Dubs in those games were turnovers. The Warriors averaged 23.5 turnovers in those games, leading to a total of 70 points for the Thunder.

PROJECTED STARTERS
GSW: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and JaVale McGee
OKC: Russell Westbrook, Josh Huestis, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams

INJURY & ROSTER NOTES
GSW: Patrick McCaw (sprained left thumb) missed the last game; Jordan Bell (left ankle inflammation) has missed last 12 games due to the injury suffered on 1/17. Team Notes
OKC: Andre Roberson (ruptured left patellar tendon) is out. Team Notes

NEW LOOK IN THE MIDDLE
In the two weeks prior to the All-Star break, the Warriors were leaking oil. They didn’t have their typical level of focus, and their uncharacteristically slow starts were indicative of that fact. Well, coming out of the break, Steve Kerr decided to make a change with the hopes of injecting some energy into the lineup, starting JaVale McGee at center in place of Zaza Pachulia. It was only one game, but the results were promising, as Golden State accumulated assists on their first eight baskets of the game, all before committing a single turnover, and limited the Clippers to just 23 points in the entire first quarter. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? That seems to be Kerr’s logic, as he stated McGee will receive his second-straight start when the Dubs take on the Thunder on Saturday night.

TEAM LEADERS

GSW OKC
PTS: Curry (27) PTS: Westbrook (25.3)
REB: Green (8) REB: Westbrook (9.5)
AST: Green (7.3) AST: Westbrook (10.4)

OKLAHOMA CITY SCOUTING REPORT
Outside of the Rockets and Nuggets, the Thunder are the only other team in the NBA to earn multiple victories over the Warriors so far this season, including a 125-105 win over the Dubs back on February 6th. With a record of 34-26, Oklahoma City is currently in sole possession of fifth place in the Western Conference standings, 1.5 games behind San Antonio for third, but only 3.0 games ahead of Utah in tenth. They’ve been somewhat guilty of playing to the level of their opponent, as their most recent victory over Golden State came sandwiched between losses to the Lakers and right after a four-game losing streak. Still, they possess as much star power as any team not named the Warriors, with Russell Westbrook and Paul George forming one of the scariest one-two punches in the entire league. The Thunder rank sixth in the NBA with an average of 103.3 points allowed per game, and they’ve held Golden State to 98.0 points per contest in their two prior meetings this year. If the Warriors want to earn their first win over Oklahoma City this season, ratcheting up the scoring would be a great place to start.

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