The Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry (30) drives against the Oklahoma City Thunder’s forward Luguentz Dort (left) at the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City on Tue Oct 26, 2021 (AP News photo)
Warriors Win Despite Horrific First Half 106-98
By Barbara Mason
The Golden State Warriors (4-0) are coming off a nice win against the Sacramento Kings Sunday night 119-107. Tonight the Warriors continue their two game road trip taking on the Oklahoma City (0-4) Thunder. Although OKC is not one of the elite and in fact struggling, the Warriors need to approach this game as they would against an elite team. They need to limit the turnovers as they did in Sacramento, and get a quick start on the Thunder. The Warriors had a rough start to the game in the first half but over came it with a 106-98 win beating the Thunder on Tuesday night at Paycom Center in Oklahoma City.
The first quarter was not how Golden State wanted to start off this game. They had an immediate turnover and fell behind significantly halfway through the quarter 16-6. The Thunder are the second worst shooting team in the league so this was an ugly start for the Warriors. The average age of the Thunder is 23 years old and so they are a very young team. Getting the early lead did nothing but allow the Thunder to build confidence
At the end of the first quarter the Warriors were still trailing but had cut the deficit to five points 34-29. They had trailed by as much as eleven points. Not known for their three point shooting the Thunder were 5 of 8. It was a surprising start that no one saw coming. OKC was shooting 59% to start the game.
The second quarter did not get much better for Golden State and after four minutes were trailing by 13 points 44-31. The Warriors were not even close to finding the three point range while the Thunder had seven players that had found that range. The final six minutes of the quarter saw the bench take over in an attempt to cut a fifteen point lead by OKC.
The Warriors went on a nice run but the Thunder punched right back. Golden State had pulled to within four points in the waning minutes of the half. The Thunder answered with a flurry of baskets taking a 59-48 lead after the second quarter. If the Warriors wanted to remain undefeated they would have a lot of work to do in the second half.
The difference in this game so far was the three point shooting of OKC. The Warrior’s defense really needed to do a better job in the remainder of this game. Golden State missed far too many open looks and so a better offense was also badly needed.
The only good news for the Warriors was that against a team like OKC catching up and taking the lead would be far easier than falling behind playing an elite team. Golden State had to improve on every level and they had two quarters left to do it.
The Warriors started the second half with more energy but they would have to overcome the confidence that OKC had built in the first half. That confidence began to wane as the Thunder’s lead grew smaller and in the final two minutes of the quarter the Warriors began hitting shots; two great shots by Otto Porter Jr both for three. At the end of the quarter the Warriors had taken the lead for the first time in this game 81-76.
OKC began struggling in the start of the fourth quarter. The Warriors got some great work from Damian Lee who finished with 20 points and was one of the deciding factors as was Andrew Wiggins with 21 points. The Golden State defense was solid in the final quarter another key to this win. For a second game in a row Steph Curry had zero points in the fourth quarter because he didn’t need to score. The bench took this one home for Golden State.
The Warriors will now head home for an eight game home stand starting Thursday with the Memphis Grizzlies. They will take on the Thunder for a second time next Saturday. Tipoff against the Grizzlies on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:00 PM.