Arrows to the knee

There are basically only two ways to beat the Golden State Warriors: throw about one and a half times as much defense at them as you usually do, or shoot about ten percentage points above normal. Last time the Thunder played them, they didn’t quite do either of those things, with the expected and unfortunate result. As it turns out, OKC couldn’t do a whole lot against the Warriors’ long ball — the visitors put up twenty and hit ten — but the Thunder executed twelve steals and 16 blocks to leave Golden State in a pile of yellowish dust, 119-98.

Six of those blocks came from Serge Ibaka, when he wasn’t shooting 7-10 for 15 points and grabbing nine rebounds. He might have gotten more, but there wasn’t any need to bring the starters back for the fourth quarter, even though the Warriors had shaved their 18-point halftime deficit down to 11 after three, which is why you see only 25 from Kevin Durant and 22 from Russell Westbrook: the second (and third) string were doing well enough, thank you very much. Backup point guard Reggie Jackson snagged 12 points, something he’s never done before in the Big Show.

Golden State partisans could argue that Jarrett Jack was ailing and couldn’t play, which may have made some small bit of difference at some point. And I was sort of hoping that Andrew Bogut would show, but they’re not ready to play him on back-to-backs just yet. (The Warriors were trounced in Houston last night, 140-109, by dint of that other tactic: a barrage of treys. The Rockets nailed 23 out of 40, in fact, and without sharpshooter Carlos Delfino, yet.) Still, four Golden State starters finished in double figures, which is nothing to be ashamed of, especially since two of them — Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes — had 19 each.

What’s heartening here, of course, is that the Thunder followed a blowout of a mediocre team (I’m looking at you, Dallas) with a blowout of a good team. With the next two games — a home-and-home — against Phoenix, a team which is perhaps not quite as good as the Mavs, it’s time for a little confidence-building.







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