The Golden State Warriors fell to 8-12 on the young NBA Season as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Warriors 114-109. Although, the Warriors put up a valiant effort in the fourth quarter just to be close to the Thunder.
In the first quarter the Thunder rolled out to a 6-0 lead causing Keith Smart to use a timeout, it didn't get much better after the timeout as the Warriors turned the ball over again and the Thunder scored rather easily for an 8-0, on the next possession the ball was nearly turned over again, but luckily Andris Biedrins was able to grab the ball and score in the paint.
Though the Warriors scored it didn't get much better as turnover and fouls hurt the Warriors. David Lee who still isn't 100 percent picked up two quick fouls. On the first possession of the game Andris Biedrins picked up a foul and that foreshadowed the events of the night and set the tone for what the Thunder were going to do.
That was to attack the Warriors defense and move the ball. Keith Smart has been trying to get the Warriors to play more defense. The problem is that the Warriors were used to Don Nelson's up and down system and not used to putting a huge effort on defense.
With Smart that isn't the case and that has shown as the Warriors give up the most free throws in the NBA. It all comes down to the fundamentals and the Warriors get caught reaching and pick up cheap fouls.
As mentioned before the Thunder carved through the Warriors defense and Russell Westbrook lead the charge as he picked up nine assists in the first half. Serge Ibaka came off the bench and gave the Thunder instant energy on the offensive glass as the Warriors had to respect the driving ability to Westbrook.
That was the main reason why the Warriors found themselves in a big hole in the first half, but towards the end of the second quarter the Warriors trimmed the Thunder's lead to 12, but much like the first half the Warriors started off slowly even having to burn a timeout at the opening of the third quarter because the ball could not be inbounded.
Starting out the fourth quarter the Thunder decided that it would be good to rest their starters because it was the first game of a back-to-back where the Thunder take on the Bulls next. The Warriors were able to force a turnover and Stephen Curry was fouled on a three cutting the lead to 17.
The Thunder started missing shots and the Warriors were able to take advantage of that. Scott Brooks decided that not having his starters in wasn't a good idea so the Thunder re-inserted their starters.
Even with the starters in the Warriors were able to continue to make a run. Monta Ellis got going and Stephen Curry continued his hot shooting that he had throughout the entire game. One play Ellis may want to have back as he missed a layup that would have cut the lead of the Thunder to eight.
On the next possession the Warriors did make a stand and made up for Ellis' miss. Eventually the Warriors got as close as three points, but were forced to send the Thunder to the free throw line.
It was a great effort just for the Warriors to comeback from the 20 points deficit in the fourth quarter. The problem was seen in the first half as most of the offense was one-on-one play and there wasn't much movement by the Warriors on offense and even in the third quarter there still wasn't that much.
The fourth quarter was a different story as the Warriors got open looks and started hitting them. Reggie Williams made a big three, unfortunately for the Warriors Dorell Wright had a wide open three that could have been huge for the Warriors, but missed as he looked to see where he was on the court.
What the Warriors need to do on defense is stop reaching and box out and on offense get better ball movement. If the Warriors are to win in the difficult schedule coming up that is how it will happen.
As for the game Westbrook finished with 19 points, 13 assists, and 7 rebounds, Kevin Durant had 28 points and 7 rebounds, Ibaka had 19 points and 8 rebounds, and Jeff Green finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds.
For the Warriors Curry led the way with 39 points, 6 assists, 1 rebound, Ellis had 29 points and 5 rebounds, and D. Wright chipped in 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The big difference in the game free throws as the Thunder went 37-40 and the Warriors went 18-21. Even more concerning though was that Curry and Ellis combined for 68 of the Warriors points while eight other Warriors managed 41 points. That's not going to be a recipe for success for the Warriors as there needs to be more balance in scoring.