Under Steve Kerr, the Golden State Warriors have perennially chosen not to foul when up three on the final possession of a game. That philosophy came back to haunt them on Saturday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, with Chet Holmgren forcing overtime in what eventually became the home team's sixth-straight loss of the season.
Warrior forward Andrew Wiggins appeared to be the match-winner, drilling another three with two seconds remaining amid 13 fourth-quarter points for the under fire 28-year-old. But he and Golden State chose not to foul after the OKC timeout, allowing Holmgren to catch, turnaround and shoot over Wiggins for the game-tying bucket at the buzzer.
Andrew Wiggins' 31 points wasn't enough for the Golden State Warriors to snap their losing streak against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chase Center on Saturday.
Warrior fans were left utterly frustrated by the decision not to foul, and their mood wouldn't have improved as Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander dominated the overtime period as part of his 40-piece in the 130-123 win.
The storyline should have otherwise been Wiggins who, after season-long struggles shooting the ball, broke to life in a long-awaited return to form for the 2022 All-Star. The Canadian entered the game having made just two threes in five home games, but made four threes alone in a big fourth-quarter.
Wiggins shot 5-8 from deep for the game as part of a 31-point display on 12-19 shooting overall. It felt appropriate that his bounceback game would be capped with a game-winner, but it ultimately wasn't to be.
While the decision not to foul Holmgren proved costly, perhaps it shouldn't have come to that given the Warriors had built an 18-point lead in the third-quarter. A dominant second-quarter saw the hosts lead 61-51, with Wiggins, Klay Thompson and the returning Stephen Curry all tallying 12 points in the first-half.
Golden State appeared in control after a 20-12 run to open the third, but their advantage was quickly erased as Gilgeous-Alexander found his touch after a quiet first-half. OKC built their own six-point lead with just over four minutes to play in regulation, though it was Wiggins who came up with the big buckets to put the Warriors back in a position to win.
Of all their six losses, this one may hurt the most for Golden State players and fans. The euphoria of Wiggins' potential game-winner quickly wiped away as Gilgeous-Alexander cut a path through the Warrior defense and fans' hearts in overtime. The 25-year-old finished with 40 points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks, while Holmgren had 36 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks of his own.
Curry added to Wiggins' scoring with 25 points and seven rebounds, though he shot just 8-21 from the floor including some late missed layups he'd like to have back. Thompson was quieter across the second-half and overtime, with some poor shot-selection not helping his current poor form after strong signs earlier in the game.
Jonathan Kuminga had 13 points and five rebounds but was a team-low -18, while Chris Paul had 12 points, 11 assists and added another four three-pointers. Kevon Looney had seven offensive rebounds among 16 overall, including setting up the Wiggins three late in regulation after a Curry miss.
Some crucial turnovers late in the third proved critical in allowing the Thunder to storm back into the game. The Warriors had six more giveaways across the game, undoing their improved 39.1% shooting from beyond the arc.
Golden State will look to end their six-game losing streak when they host the Houston Rockets at Chase Center on Monday night.