Editorial by Graydon Fox
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On Tuesday, April 3rd, the (56-21) Golden State Warriors will be on the road to take on the (45-33) Oklahoma City Thunder.
“The Crowd” is projecting a final score of Warriors 110.4 – Thunder 103.9 with an over/under of 214.0.
Statistics (2017-18 season):
Point differential: Warriors +6.9 (3rd) > Thunder +3.1 (8th)
Points per game: Warriors 113.9 (1st) > Thunder 107.4 (12th)
Points allowed per game: Thunder 104.3 (9th) > Warriors 107.0 (17th)
Field Goal Percentage Offense: Warriors 50.5% (1st) > Thunder 45.4% (18th)
Three Point Percentage: Warriors 39.3% (1st) > Thunder 35.4% (22nd)
Field Goal Percentage Defense: Warriors 44.4% (3rd) > Thunder 45.7% (13th)
Turnovers committed per game: Thunder 13.5 (15th) > Warriors 15.0 (26th)
Turnovers forced per game: Thunder 15.2 (1st) > Warriors 13.5 (19th)
Rebounds per game: Thunder 45.0 (5th) > Warriors 43.7 (16th)
Assists per game: Warriors 29.5 (1st) > Thunder 21.3 (27th)
Golden State has certainly battled the injury bug as of late with Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson have all missed games in the past month. The Warriors backcourt is thin as Curry remains sidelined and Patrick McCaw recently suffering a lower back injury. The Warriors are (15-10) without Curry this season and just (5-5) in their last ten games. Still, Golden State is a force to be reckoned with MVP candidate Kevin Durant (26.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 6.1 APG) and two other All-Stars in Klay Thompson (19.9 PPG) and Draymond Green (11.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 7.4 APG). Durant certainly garners Defensive Player of the Year consideration guarding all five positions and ranking 4th in blocks (1.86 BPG). Warriors lead the league in scoring, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and assists. The Warriors average 113.9 points per game (1st) and allow 107.0 (17th).
Oklahoma City is (6-4) in their last ten games. Reigning MVP Russell Westbrook (25.4 PPG, 9.8 RPG, and 10.2 APG) leads the league with 24 triple-doubles this season. After struggling to fit in at the beginning of the season Paul George (21.6 PPG, 5.7 APG, and 3.4 APG) has certainly found his All-Star form. Carmelo Anthony (16.3 PPG) is having his worst statistical season in years but is still a scoring machine. Steven Adams (14.0 PPG and 9.1 RPG) is a force on the interior and one of the most underrated players in the league. Corey Brewer has been a welcome addition for the Thunder who needed a perimeter defender following the Andre Roberson injury. Oklahoma City has one of the best starting fives in the NBA but they rank 29th in bench scoring (26.3 PPG). The Thunder average 107.4 points per game (12th) and allow 107.0 (17th).
Oklahoma City is (26-13) at home this season while the Warriors are (27-10) on the road. The Thunder are (2-1) against the Warriors this season but their point differential in those games is only (+5). Golden State has certainly hit a rough patch but much of that has to do with injuries. The Thunder lead the league in forced turnovers (15.2) and that could be problematic for a Warriors team without Curry. The Warriors are top heavy and are really missing Curry’s scoring and distributing. I’m going against “The Crowd” and picking the Thunder to win at home.
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