Preview: Thunder at Warriors
The fun-loving Golden State Warriors are a thing of the – very recent – past, and the discontent led the team to losses in each of its last three games and five of seven. The Warriors will try to turn things around when they return home to host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
Golden State has not been the same team since point guard Stephen Curry went down with a groin injury and an ugly incident between All-Star forwards Kevin Durant and Draymond Green, which led to a one-game suspension for Green. “We’ve had such a charmed existence the last four seasons,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters after a 104-92 loss at San Antonio on Sunday. “This is the toughest stretch we’ve been in. This is the real NBA. We haven’t been in the real NBA the last few years. We’ve been in this dream. And so now we’re faced real adversity and we got to get out of it ourselves.” The Thunder had a three-game winning streak come to an end with a 117-113 loss at Sacramento on Monday, which coincided with the return of star point guard Russell Westbrook. The former MVP collected 29 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and three steals in the setback and settled in after a slow start.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, FS Oklahoma, NBCS Bay Area (Golden State)
ABOUT THE THUNDER (10-6): All-Star forward Paul George scored 27 points on Monday but was 9-of-24 from the floor, including 4-of-14 from 3-point range. “They play fast, they play early in the shot clock. It took us a second to get things under control,” George told reporters. “General statement for the game: we didn’t shoot well enough to win the game.” Those shooting woes extended to the bench, from where point guard Dennis Schroder, who started the previous six games in place of Westbrook, was just 3-of-17 in his return to the reserve corps.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (12-6): Golden State’s offense is based on movement, sharing the ball and spacing, and the constant lineup changes brought on by new players and injuries are having an impact. “We’ve got to move the ball,” Kerr told reporters. “We’ve got to trust each other. That’s the hallmark of our team. We’ve got playmakers all over the floor. We’ve got guys who can dribble, pass and shoot. And what we’ve done the last few years is we’ve shared the ball. The ball has moved, and we’ve gotten each other great shots. We’re not getting great shots right now. We’re taking a lot of contested shots.” Shooting guard Klay Thompson is having the toughest time getting his shot to fall and went 5-of-27 from 3-point range in losses at Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.
1. Durant is 1-of-17 from 3-point range over the last four games.
2. Thunder PF Nerlens Noel (illness) sat out Monday and is day-to-day.
3. Golden State is riding a three-game winning streak in the series, including a 108-100 home triumph on Oct. 16.