Warriors fall to Thunder 114-108
OKLAHOMA CITY — On the heels of an explosive 52-point performance Friday, D’Angelo Russell almost lifted his team to a comeback win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. But in the end, the Warriors didn’t have enough — not enough scoring, experience or players — in the second night of a back-to-back set.
The Warriors’ 114-108 loss to the Thunder wrapped up an 0-3 trip that started in Houston and Minnesota, dropping the team’s record to 2-8 for the season. Close games against the Timberwolves and Thunder could have gone either way, though it took 84 combined points from Russell to keep the Warriors afloat.
Eclipsing 30 points for the third straight appearance, with 32 points on 11-of-20 shooting and seven assists, Russell helped evaporate a 23-point deficit by scoring 11 points in the final six minutes of the third quarter. He was joined by guard Alec Burks, who had nine of his 23 points during the key run.
Russell’s forward-leaning 3-pointer at the buzzer tied the game at 83 going into the fourth quarter, giving the Warriors a puncher’s chance at a come-from-behind win.
The Thunder outscored the Warriors 30-23 in the final frame, extending their lead to 14 when Hamidou Dialo flipped in an off-balance mid-range shot as the shot clock expired with 5 minutes left. It was one of those nights for Oklahoma City, which shot 54.4% overall and 46.7% from beyond the arc.
The Warriors did, however, have one more run in them. Following Burks’ pass to Marquese Chriss for a fast-break dunk to cut the lead to eight, Glenn Robinson III’s 3-pointer cut the lead to five with 1:30 left.
That’s when the most experienced player on the floor took over, as nine-time All-Star Chris Paul scored eight points in the final 1:16 to put the game away. Down seven with 1:14 left to play, Russell threw the ball away on an inbounds play, leading to Paul’s dagger, a pull-up jumper to extend the Thunder’s lead to 11 with under a minute remaining.
Back-to-backs, an unfortunate wrinkle in the NBA schedule, typically lead to tired legs. Exacerbating the problem is the fact that the Warriors, saddled by injuries, only had eight available players for a majority of the night.
Already without Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, Jacob Evans and Alen Smailagic, rookie forward Eric Paschall was ruled out before tip-off with a right thigh contusion, and forward Omari Spellman did not return in the second half after tweaking his ankle early in the game.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game that Paschall’s injury is not considered serious.