While watching the Oklahoma City Thunder – Golden State Warriors game on Monday night inside the Paycom Center that housed roughly 17,500 fans, I realized that Golden State, with its young core, is exactly the team the Thunder are aspiring to be. What’s crazy is the Thunder are well on their way, especially if Sam Presti’s elaborate plan comes to fruition.
Watching Monday’s game, seeing way young players like Jordan Poole, Johnathan Kuminga, Gary Payton II, and Andrew Wiggins played while working within the framework of the franchise and its stars, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, you can see where the Thunder, growing their team organically, for the most part, could be where Golden State is now.
The promising aspect of this game, was how well the Thunder played, despite the opposing team having three all-star caliber players and a plethora of young productive talent to match. OKC did everything they needed to do to win this game against Golden State.
Luguentz Dort scored 26 points, on 9-21 shooting, and was elite defensively, ending the contest with three steals. Darius Bazley continued his dominant streak, stepping up for the Thunder by scoring 20 points on 8-16 shooting, pulling down eight rebounds, and netting 2-of-4 from three. He was outstanding. OKC’s rookie point guard, Josh Giddey recorded the 12th double-double of the season with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. Tre Mann is continuing to build his reputation of being instant offense for OKC, with 11 points on a relatively off-night, shooting 4-for-14 from the field, yet he was an overall positive for the Thunder. Lastly, Kenrich Williams continued doing what he’s hung his hat on since becoming a member of the Thunder: making timely shots, providing hard-nosed defense, and doing the extra things that no one else is interested in doing. Williams also finished the game with 12 points, seven rebounds, and five assists on the night.
Overall, Oklahoma City shot 41.1 percent from the field, 30.6 percent from three (which isn’t good), but that’s not what lost the game for them. It was strictly the experience of Steph, Klay, and the supporting cast that ultimately defeated the Thunder.
What I witnessed from the Thunder on Monday night was a team that’s headed in the right direction. A team that’s not going to back down regardless of who they’re playing and we’ve seen it plenty of times this season. The Thunder defeated the Lakers twice, despite their stacked roster and the big names they boast. Tonight, it didn’t phase them that Curry and Klay were on the court. It also didn’t phase them that they didn’t have their star player, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, or Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Aaron Wiggins, Mike Muscala, and Isaiah Roby due to injuries. They weren’t phased, period, and that’s reminiscent of a young Thunder team of the past that knew, with more development and a few more pieces, could be onto something special.
This team fights hard. This team should look at who Golden State is now, and realize they could be up next. Although they’re (17-36) on the season, there’s so much to look forward to.