Steph Curry

What we learned as season-high 29 turnovers doom Warriors vs. Thunder

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The Warriors did everything, and we mean everything, in their power to give the game away Friday night at Paycom Center. 

If that was the plan, the Warriors were successful, losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder 138-136 in overtime thanks to a turnover fest that was hard to fathom. 

So, how bad was the Warriors' love for losing the ball? They turned it over 29 times, and they’re lucky the Thunder didn’t take better advantage of the Warriors’ affinity for such sloppiness. The Thunder, who turned the ball over just 11 times for six Warriors points, scored 35 points off turnovers.

The real question is, how was this one even close? 

Oklahoma City entered the day with the best team 3-point shooting percentage in the NBA, and ranked 10th in threes made per game. Luckily for the Warriors, the Thunder were ice-cold from deep, going 5 of 29. The Warriors were 19 of 47 beyond the arc, giving them a 42-point advantage on threes. 

Yet, the Warriors lost by two points on a night where they also grabbed 20 more rebounds than the Thunder.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ latest loss, dropping them to 10-12 on the season.

Loyal Starting Lineup

Steve Kerr hinting at possible changes to the Warriors’ usual starting lineup brought plenty of intrigue into Friday night. Then, Kerr trotted the same five he has wanted to get going all season long. And in the first half, they rewarded their coach’s loyalty.

Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney played 10 minutes and 47 seconds together through the first two quarters. Each player had a positive plus/minus and they were a plus-7 sharing the floor, outscoring the Thunder 29-22.

The results weren’t quite as good in the second half, and the leash was much shorter. Kerr’s starting group then was a minus-4 together in the second half over five minutes, and he started Jonathan Kuminga for Looney to begin overtime. Kuminga has closed for the veteran center the past two games.

Curry scored a team-high 34 points, followed by 24 off the bench from Kuminga and 22 by Thompson. Green had his second straight double-double, finishing with 12 points and 13 assists and Wiggins played strong defense on Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

While there were positives to take from the Warriors’ starting five, they were the main reason for Golden State’s biggest problem. The starting five were responsible for 19 turnovers.

Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers

The Warriors in the first half were saved by the 3-point line. A lot. They held a 21-point advantage from deep while leading by six points.

Thompson made three treys, Curry and Wiggins each had two, and Green and Dario Šarić made one apiece. But the turnover parade continued.

Golden State gave the ball away 15 times in the first half, resulting in 12 points for the Thunder. The barrage didn’t stop there. The Thunder came to life in the third quarter, as the Warriors kept giving them chance after chance after chance. 

They committed six turnovers in the third quarter, which turned into nine OKC points. The Warriors already tallied 21 turnovers through three quarters for 21 points. A new season-high then was surpassed in the fourth quarter. Going into overtime, the Warriors were up to 25 turnovers, tying an NBA high this season, for 27 Thunder points.

Within the first minute of overtime, a Wiggins turnover gave the Warriors 26, a new high for any team in the league this season, and tied the Warriors’ most ever under Kerr. Four Warriors turnovers in a five-minute overtime put the nail in the coffin.

Green’s Gaffe

The last time the Warriors faced the Thunder and lost in overtime at Chase Center three weeks ago, everybody was up in arms for the Warriors not fouling up by three on Chet Holmgren’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of regulation. 

This time they fouled, and the Warriors paid the price.

Leading by three with eight seconds left, the Warriors were defending the Thunder when Green made a major costly mistake. He fouled Holmgren, but the 7-footer already was in his shooting motion. Three free throws were awarded to someone who came into the night shooting better than 86 percent from the free throw line. 

That percentage is even better now, as Holmgren made all three free throws to tie the game and ultimately sent it to overtime. 

Green’s biggest problem was going for a steal on a pass over his head to someone more than six inches taller than him. All Green had to do was let Holmgren catch the ball and then immediately foul. Instead, the 12-year veteran gave all another reason to question these Warriors. Now it’s back to the drawing board instead of being back to a .500 record.

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