If there were to be a playoff series between the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder, basketball fans would be in for a treat.
But all fans have for now is three regular season matchups between two of the West’s most exciting teams, and the third and final meeting will take place on Friday night in Oklahoma City.
The two previous games have both been thrillers, nail-biters, and yes, both have ended on buzzer-beaters: Andre Iguodala hitting a fadeaway three-pointer on Nov. 14, and two weeks later, Russell Westbrook making a desperation shot at the horn to win it for the Thunder.
The final scores of those games? 116-115 and 113-112.
Look for nothing less than another fun one tonight.
Tale of the Tape
- Points per game: 103.6 (9th)
- Field goal percentage: 46.3% (7th)
- 3-point percentage: 38.4% (4th)
- Opponents’ field goal percentage: 43.2% (T-3rd)
- Rebounds per game: 46.4 (3rd)
- Turnovers: 16.7 (29th)
- Points per game: 104.7 (T-5th)
- Field goal percentage: 46.3% (6th)
- 3-point percentage: 34.2% (23rd)
- Opponents’ field goal percentage: 42.0% (2nd)
- Rebounds per game: 46.9 (1st)
- Turnovers: 15.3 (T-25th)
New Guys Should Suit Up
The Warriors acquired guards Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks on Wednesday to bolster their bench, and are expected to have their physicals on Friday before the game.
Thus, fans should get a good first look at the Warriors’ new bench that is gasping for more points and productivity. It should be interesting to see how head coach Mark Jackson juggles the minutes with the new additions. Crawford looks to be the backup point guard, and Brooks seems to be a wild card — he has struggled after a strong rookie campaign, and this move to Golden State could rejuvenate his career.
To get a sense of just how pivotal Russell Westbrook is to the Thunder, just watch them last postseason. Without Westbrook running the show, Kevin Durant could not get the job done on his own and the Thunder were knocked out in the second round.
Well, Westbrook is out until after the All-Star break with an injured knee, and the Thunder are 8-6 without him in the lineup. There is surely a world of difference between Westbrook and Reggie Jackson.
Late Game Execution
This has the feel to be another tight finish between two Western Conference foes, but if the Warriors want to come out on top, they will have to rectify what went wrong on Wednesday night against the Nuggets, when they lost 123-116, giving up an 8-0 run when they were up 116-115 with over a minute to play. Turnovers, bad fouls, and Andrew Bogut being confined to the bench proved to be their undoing. The Warriors are no stranger to close contests, so there is really no excuse for such poor late-game execution.
GSW: Festus Ezeli (recovery from right knee surgery) and Jermaine O’Neal (right wrist surgery) are out.
OKC: Russell Westbrook (right knee) is out.
Good to Know
- The Warriors have had their struggles in Oklahoma City, losing nine straight on the road to the Thunder.
- Stephen Curry has scored more points in his carer against the Thunder than any other team (366 points, 16 games).
GOLDEN STATE (25-15)
- F Andre Iguodala
- F David Lee
- C Andrew Bogut
- G Klay Thompson
- G Stephen Curry
OKLAHOMA CITY (29-10)
- F Kevin Durant
- F Serge Ibaka
- C Kendrick Perkins
- G Thabo Sefolosha
- G Reggie Jackson
Time: 6:30 PST
Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
TV: ESPN, LOCAL
Topics: Golden State Warriors