Into the Valley of Death

I blame Lance Thomas:

The Oklahoma City Thunder has acquired guard Dion Waiters from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Oklahoma City’s protected 2015 first-round pick and as part of the transaction, Lance Thomas was sent to the New York Knicks, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced today.

Included in the deal, the Knicks acquired forward Lou Amundson and center Alex Kirk from the Cavaliers in exchange for guards Iman Shumpert and JR Smith.

And there you have it. Thomas was unavailable, Waiters hasn’t cleared medical, and the Thunder were under the gun from the opening tip.

Well, it sounds nicer than what really happened, which was a complete and utter inability to put the ball in the net, even on point-blank shots. At halftime, OKC had made 14 of 50 shots (28 percent!?) and the Warriors were up by 20 points. Things did not improve over the next quarter and a half, and Scott Brooks saw it was a lost cause. Golden State took a little longer to pull their starters — they left Harrison Barnes in to collect a season-high 23 points — but by the 4:00 mark we were pretty close to proper garbage time. Make that blowout time: Golden State 117, Oklahoma City 91.

Or maybe there was something else about Barnes’ 23 points: Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 22 in a 5-21 brickfest. Sub-Phil Jackson psy-war, but subtle enough. Anthony Morrow had 17 from the bench by hitting more than half his shots; Kevin Durant scored 14 by hitting three of 16. Bright spots: Steven Adams with 10 points and nine boards; Kendrick Perkins picked up six points and six rebounds in eight minutes. But that was pretty much it for the Thunder.

And besides, all you really need to know here is this: Klay Thompson, all by his lonesome, went on a 13-0 run in the first quarter. He cooled later on, finishing with 19, but the luxury of a shooting guard who can shoot is still sort of a novelty in PrestiLand. Thompson’s joined-at-the-hip wingmate, Stephen Curry, also chunked in 19; Justin Holiday put up 12 for the reserves.

So the Warriors go up 3-0, enough to win the season series. (There’s one more, in OKC, but … meh.) If there’s a lesson here, it’s that 59 rebounds don’t matter if you can’t put the ball in the cylinder once in a while, and 30 makes out of 98 tries (5-28 from long distance) is below any reasonable definition of “once in a while.”





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