The Golden State Warriors put together perhaps their best performance of the season on Monday, beating one of the Wests best in the Denver Nuggets, and genuinely looking like a high quality team.
And as a reward, they now get to visit one of baseballs very worst teams, sans its best player.
Its a game that should be a gimme for the Dubs, so … hopefully they dont disappoint.
Who: Golden State Warriors (26-28) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (20-34)
When: 6:00 p.m. PT
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
TV: NBC Sports Bay Area
Projected starting lineups:
Warriors: Stephen Curry, Kent Bazemore, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Kevon LooneyThunder: Theo Maledon, Luguentz Dort, Darius Bazley, Isaiah Roby, Moses Brown
Warriors: Beat the Nuggets 116-107 3-2 in their last 5 gamesThunder: Lost to the Jazz 106-96 0-5 in their last 5 games
The Warriors probably dont need 53 points from Steph Curry this time, though it would be nice. They probably dont need a dynamic two-way performance from Draymond Green this time, though it would also be nice.
Theyre going up against a team that has lost seven straight, with a starting lineup featuring exactly zero players that the average NBA fan knows about.
The Warriors should not let this game be close at any point. Other than, you know, when its 0-0 and whatnot.
Players to watch
Warrior to watch: Andrew Wiggins.
Lets be honest: Steph Curry will probably not have 53 points on 14-for-24 shooting, and Draymond Green will probably not have 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting. But against a bad Thunder team, theres ample opportunity for the Warriors role players to find some rhythm.
It would be great if Wiggins can do exactly that. He wont have as difficult of a defensive assignment as on most nights, so nows the time to shine on offense.
Thunder to watch: Luguentz Dort.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is sidelined with injury, and Al Horford is sidelined as the team focuses on its future and rebuilds. And so with that, Dort becomes OKCs go-to player. Hes still incredibly raw hes played fewer than 80 career games, and is just 21 but hes capable of putting on a display on both ends of the court. He had 42 points last night, for instance.
Matchup to watch: Golden States bench vs. Oklahoma Citys bench.
The Warriors bench has not been a strength this year, but against a team like the Thunder, that unit has a chance to shine. Keep your eye on Jordan Poole, Damion Lee, and Juan Toscano-Anderson, as the Warriors try win the minutes that Steph Curry sits.
Keys to victory
- Make being the small team an advantage, not a disadvantage
- Jump out to an early lead
- Aggressive but disciplined play on offense
- Rebound well, and keep the Thunder out of the paint
Get a winning streak to three, Dubs.