Posted on February 7, 2018, by Travis Pulver
Before Tuesday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was asked about why his team seems to get off to slow starts a lot. His response was pretty funny, “Just don’t have enough talent in the starting lineup, I think. I’d like to add a fifth All-Star to the starting lineup to help us get off to quicker starts.”
Golden State became the first team to have four starters voted into the All-Star game in consecutive years. But Tuesday night he could have used a fifth one because the four he has were not up to the task against Oklahoma City.
They didn’t get off to a bad start against the Thunder with 30 points in the first quarter. Oklahoma City just happened to get off to a better one with 42. Russell Westbrook led the way with a 21-point, four assist effort in the quarter (9-11 from the floor).
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“Russ was instant offense,” Paul George said after the game (ESPN). “He put us on his back and established a no-quit mentality, a no-back-down mentality, and everybody just followed suit. We have all followed suit in that. It’s our job as teammates to back him up and we did that tonight.”
The game was much closer in the second, but Oklahoma City was able to extend its lead to 13-points at the half, 70-57. But the Warriors had plenty of time to overcome the deficit with another half still to play. They just had to do one thing—play like they are expected to.
But instead, the rest of the game belonged to the Thunder. They outscored the Warriors 29-20 in the third and coasted through the fourth en route to a 125-105 win.
Except for losing Carmelo Anthony early on to a sprained ankle, the night couldn’t have gone better for the Thunder. Paul George led the way with 38 points (11-23 from the floor; 6-11 from three-point range) followed by Westbrook who finished with 34 points (13-26 from the floor).
Kevin Durant led the way for Golden State with 33 points with much of the work coming from the free throw line (14-15). Steph Curry added 21, and Klay Thompson chipped in 12. The trio combined to go just 7-23 from three-point range.
Fans may be quick to blame some of the suspect calls for Golden State’s poor game. But Kerr was not willing to let his team off the hook (ESPN): “We were way worse than the officials were. We got completely outplayed.”
Golden State committed 12 turnovers in the first half that led to 19-points for the Thunder and had 25 in the game. Draymond Green was ejected in the fourth after getting his second technical foul of the night; the team was whistled for five.
The win brought an end to Oklahoma City’s four-game losing streak. It also marked the first occasion since the 2012 season that the Warriors trailed for the entire game.
Oklahoma City will try to keep the good times rolling when they face the Lakers in Los Angeles Thursday night. Golden State will try to get back on the right side of the scoreboard when the Dallas Mavericks come to town Thursday night.
“We’re out of whack right now. We’re just not playing the way we normally do in terms of the ball movement, the pace, and the spacing. And our defense has not been good either. It’s been a struggle.”
The Thunder are not sure if Anthony will be available Thursday night. But with the final stretch of the season coming up after the All-Star break, it would be shocking to see him play. The smart move would be to let him get some additional rest to make it more likely he’ll be ready to go following the break.