A Tale Of Two Halfs: OKC Falls To Golden State
By A. suave Francisco
The highly anticipated matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors couldn't have been better...in the first half. The outcome looked promising for OKC after going into halftime, but the Warriors came out in the second looking like a completely different team en route to a 121-100 victory.
Oklahoma City honestly played well and more so, inspired in the first half of this contest, with three players in double-figures, but Kevin Durant's barrage of three-pointers in the third quarter essentially took OKC out of the game. Not to mention, OKC's unforced errors.
In the first half, Oklahoma City played spectacularly well with Victor Oladipo scoring 15 points, along with 14 points and 5 rebounds by Enes Kanter off the bench. Those two players complimented Russell Westbrook's 16 points, 6 assists, and 7 rebounds nicely while keeping Golden State relatively cool.
After a controversial flagrant foul by Zaza Pachulia on Westbrook right before halftime, I thought the Thunder would rally in the second half towards an upset. Kevin Durant had different plans as he exploded in this game for a season-high 40 points and 12 rebounds on 13-of-16 shooting, a completely dominant game for Durant over his former team. That, mixed with OKC's unforced errors, plus Oladipo's 2 points in the third quarter and Kanter's slight decline in the second half put the Thunder in a bad position to counter KD's onslaught.
With that being said, Westbrook had 10 turnovers for only the second time in the season, which didn't help things in the second half either. Through all of that, the Thunder overachieved. With this being the toughest stretch of the season in January, the third game in four days against three teams with a combined (81-35) record, and without their star center, Steven Adams, this game should leave the NBA optimistic regarding Oklahoma City's future. They are literally one solid piece away from being a championship contender. Something that people tend to forget. They are playing tremendously well with the hand they've been dealt.
Things won't get easier for the Thunder, though, with challenging opponents ramping back up on Monday after a four-day rest. They will start with another Western Conference playoff team in the Utah Jazz on the road, followed by the New Orleans Pelicans, also, on the road. After that, still in the month of January, the Thunder play the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs on the road. They are now (25-19) on the season and tied for sixth in the Western Conference.