Game Day #49: vs. Warriors

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Thunder (36-12, 21-3 home) at Golden State Warriors (30-18, 14-12 away)

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Where: The ‘Peake!
When: 7:0 pm
TV:
 FS Oklahoma (679 Directv, 37 Cox, 754 AT&T U-Verse, 416 Dish)
Online StreamHere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: OKC favored by 10. O/U – 215
Projected Lineups:

Thunder Hornets
PG: Russell Westbrook  Stephen Curry
SG: Thabo Sefolosha  Klay Thompson
SF: Kevin Durant  Harrison Barnes
PF: Serge Ibaka  David Lee
C: Kendrick Perkins  Festus Ezeli
6th: Kevin Martin  Jarrett Jack

Last Time: The last game between these two didn’t exactly end well for the Thunder. The Warriors handed Oklahoma City their first loss of the season when leading after three quarters by winning 104-99.

Oklahoma City is coming off the huge blowout win of the Dallas Mavericks. Oklahoma City led by as many as 32 points in the fourth quarter, as they held on for the 112-91 victory. Dallas grabbed an early lead, but the Thunder decided it did not want another overtime game. Kevin Durant didn’t even need to play 30 minutes in this victory.

We’ve spoken with Rich Twu, the man behind @Poormanscommish and is the Dream League commissioner  for a 125 team rec league in the Bay Area. Twu is a senior contributor for GoldenStateOfMind.com. He’s a credentialed journalist for the Warriors and Team USA. Follow him on twitter.

As far as current events are concerned, Warriors fans are obviously elated that Andrew Bogut is back. Keep in mind, they don’t even know too much about him. Warriors fans never really followed the Bucks, being in the East, so they’re just getting used to how well he passes and how he blocks shots. Some of his offense needs to get in a groove, but the fact that the franchise hasn’t had a post player since any of the younger generation can remember, and the fact that Warriors fans are in general a pretty low-expectation bunch, means that fans will be patient with Bogut’s areas of improvement and really excited with his strengths.

Warriors fans are also ecstatic about Steph Curry’s performances and leadership of the team, while at the same time constantly worried about his “glass ankles”. David Lee has obviously been great, but some Warriors fans will lament some of the warts that come out when you know a player so well (i.e., his outside shooting, shot selection, and occasional un-athletic moves). Klay Thompson is perhaps the most interesting of debates with Warriors fans. Sure, he can shoot, but lots of times his decision-making and court IQ is questioned, leading to a bit of bipolar-ism.

Off the bench, Jarrett Jack continues to amaze because I’m not sure if the Warriors have ever had a backup point guard as fearless as “2 Jz” (Jack’s nickname). Jack’s really become a fan favorite. Warriors fans also love Kent Bazemore’s enthusiasm for the game. And finally, almost every Warrior fan thinks Harrison Barnes should play more.

As far as weaknesses, the knowledgeable Warriors fan will often point to Brandon Rush’s ACL injury as a “what if” factor in almost every loss. Not having that extra scoring punch off the bench (other than Jack and Carl Landry) is definitely a glaring weakness. And the Warriors, as most young teams do, tend to play down to their competition, which can be very frustrating to watch.

You can also categorize Curry’s ongoing ankle concerns as a weakness. I should also mention, especially with the OKC game, the “revenge” games. After beating the Clippers and the Heat, the Warriors got blown out in the next meeting. So, yeah, they’re a young team but have the potential to be an elite team as early as next year.

Since moving to Oklahoma City, the Thunder own a 11-5 advantage over Golden State.  Oklahoma City has won nine of the last 12 games over the Warriors. The Thunder are 7-1 on the ‘Peake against the Warriors since the move. Teams have never met in the playoffs. Well, while in Oklahoma City. Seattle and Golden State are tied 5-5 in playoff games. Overall it’s a 130-97 Oklahoma City Franchise advantage.

Oklahoma City is healthy once again. Always good to hear.

Brandon Rush tore his ACL and MCL earlier this season. Rush is out for the season. That’s the only injury that Golden State has to worry about. Oh, and their pride after that butt kicking last night.

Keys to the Game

Defend
The Warriors can shoot the three, and score all over the court. Oklahoma City did very well on the other end of the court on Monday night. They’ll have to be on their game with Stephen Curry  in the line up. No slouching on defense against an explosive team like the Warriors.

Tempo
Watch out for the tempo. While Oklahoma City loves to get up and down the court. They do not need to get into a shootout with this team. That’s where teams falter against the Warriors. They’ll get into their fast pace, street basketball type of game at times. Oklahoma City needs to run, but also play basketball.

Russell Westbrook
Westbrook has been inconsistent lately. However, one thing we have come to learn, at home he’s pretty damn good. Oklahoma City needs him to contribute with good Westbrook if Oklahoma City is going to pull out the victory tonight.

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Founder & Editor-in-Chief. Member of the Professional Basketball Writer's Association. Lover of Advanced Stats. Russell Westbrook apologist.


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