Warriors overcome awful start to beat Thunder


The undefeated season marches on for the Golden State Warriors, though it sure didn’t look like that was going to be the case for much of their Tuesday night game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Golden State spent the first half falling victim to the dangers of a trap game, as they came out of the gates slow, and were soon facing a double-digit deficit against a team that looks like it might have an uphill battle to get to 10 wins this season.

Oklahoma City jumped out to a 7-0 lead, and the Dubs didn’t score until nearly three minutes had gone by. But even when they got on the board, the Thunder seemed to always have an answer.

It was an 11-point lead for the Thunder midway through the first quarter, before the Warriors found some rhythm to close the quarter on a run, drawing within five points. But the young and inexperienced Thunder squad was entirely unfazed, and jumped back on the Warriors to start the second quarter, running the lead up to 15 points. It was a 59-48 Thunder lead at the half, with Oklahoma City’s offense looking far better than at any other point in the young season, and the Warriors offense looking equal parts uninterested and incapable.

The start of the third quarter didn’t give you much reason for optimism, but eventually the Warriors found the switch and flipped it. Seemingly out of nowhere, Golden State went on a 17-2 run, with stifling defense and the type of ball movement that we’d grown accustomed to over the last few weeks.

Suddenly they looked like a good team (which they are), and the Thunder looked like a bad team (which they are). And just in time.

That run erased the deficit and gave the Warriors their first lead of the game with about a minute left in the third quarter.

To their credit, Oklahoma City didn’t fold after Golden State finally caught up to them. They kept the fight, and kept the score close. Yet even with that, it never felt like the Warriors were in danger of losing after overcoming the deficit. It wasn’t the prettiest fourth quarter, but they executed well enough to keep a little barrier between the teams, and take home a 106-98 win.

Damion Lee was once again a difference maker off the bench, pouring in 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting, and playing solid defense. Andrew Wiggins, despite missing all five of his shots from distance, had perhaps his best game of the year, with a well-balanced 21 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block.

The Thunder made Curry their focal point — and sometimes their only point — and for the most part it worked. Curry’s numbers were good, but not quite up to his standards — 23 points on 6-for-14 shooting (4-for-9 from deep), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 turnovers — and the Warriors role players struggled to make Oklahoma City pay for leaving them alone … at least for the first two and a half quarters. Once Lee, Wiggins, Otto Porter Jr., Andre Iguodala, and the rest of the crew started to capitalize on the Steph-centric Thunder defense, Golden State was able to find the groove they’d been searching for.

The Warriors are now 4-0 on the year. They next play on Thursday when they host the Memphis Grizzlies, before a rematch with the Thunder on Saturday.



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