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Golden State Warriors vs Oklahoma City Thunder: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

What: Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder

Where: Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA

When: Saturday, March 16th at 8:30 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): ABC | 95.7 The Game, WWLS 98.1FM OKC / 930AM (ESP)

Golden State Warriors (Away)

Head Coach: Steve Kerr {All-Time 311-84 | GSW}

The Golden State Warriors sit on the throne of the Western Conference, but not without competition creeping up on them. The Warriors boast a record of 46-21, yet only lead the second place Denver Nuggets by one game. The Warriors have been spectacular on the season but a late injury to Kevin Durant throws a wrench in their performance to close out the season.

The Warriors have performed inconsistently as of late, going 5-5 in their last ten games. They’ve won key games against big opponents – Rockets, Nuggets, Sixers – but have lost puzzlingly to the Suns, Celtics, Magic, and Heat. Due to their quality alone, their losses have been close, but some late-game inconsistencies have added to their loss column.

The Warriors will face off against an Oklahoma City Thunder team who are looking to recover from a late-game collapse to the Indiana Pacers. While the two teams are unlikely to be tied by seasons end, the season series is 1-1 and both clubs are sure to want to take home the tiebreaker.

Oklahoma City Thunder (Home)

Head Coach: Billy Donovan {All-Time 192-122 | OKC}

The Oklahoma City Thunder have fallen from their top three perch and now rest at fifth in the Western Conference. With a record of 42-27 the Thunder trail the Blazers by a mere .003 in win percentage, despite being equally five games back from the first position.

The Thunder have placed themselves in their position via their inconsistent play. Oklahoma City is 4-6 in their last ten games with losses to competitive squads in the Kings, Nuggets, Sixers, and Spurs. They’ve faltered when it mattered most, no more evident than their most recent loss to the Indiana Pacers.

The Thunder face a Golden State Warriors team that is coming off of a clutch win over the Houston Rockets. They may be without Kevin Durant for this match, but their last game showed that DeMarcus Cousins is ready to fill the void. The Thunder will have their hands full with a Warriors team looking to establish themselves at the top.

What’s At Stake?

The Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder have had a competitive all-time series. In 38 games, the Warriors and the Thunder are dead even at 19-19.

A win for the Golden State Warriors would stave off the Denver Nuggets and put them 1.5 games over their Colorado rivals.

A win for the Oklahoma City Thunder would bring them above the Portland Trail Blazers and place them fourth in the Western Conference.

Questions to answer

What changes without Durant?

How did the Thunder lose to the Pacers?

We are going to compare the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

Kevin Durant’s Status Is Unknown

Kevin Durant is out with an ankle injury, that is known. But when it comes to his recovery and return, Durant’s status is still up in the air. Head Coach Steve Kerr said that he expects Durant to return during the road trip, but he is unsure exactly which game that will be.

In an effort to make up for Durant’s absence, the Warriors changed up their game. With so many weapons available, the Warriors tend to play fluidly to start the game and get everyone involved. Not against the Rockets. Against Houston, the Warriors wanted to get out early and did so by feeding DeMarcus Cousins in the paint and forcing Harden into difficult defensive scenarios. With Curry’s recent struggles from range, it was a brilliant plan.

The plan worked to a tee and it also encouraged the Warriors transition game where the likes of Thompson and Green really thrive, versus a set offense. The Thunder boast more athletic defenders so the strategy to push the pace may be slightly more difficult. But if the Warriors can find their range early, it’ll be lights out for the Thunder.

The Thunder Lost Control

In particular, the Oklahoma City Thunder lost control of the game in their quarter and failed to regain their composure. Paul George did everything he could against the Pacers, scoring 36 points, but was eventually unable to lead his team past the inspired Pacers.

The Thunder were also unable to control Lithuanian legacy player Domantas Sabonis off the bench. On just twelve shots, Sabonis played an efficient game and posted 26 points. Center Steven Adams was unable to control the pacey forward and the Thunder paid the price.

In the end, the Thunder lost at the buzzer via a missed Westbrook three and a late tip-in by Wes Matthews on the previous play. The Thunder have put on a Jekyll and Hyde act in recent games and will certainly want to rectify that against the Warriors. Golden State has an even more high-octane defense and powerful offense at their disposal, so the Thunder have no place to be complacent.

Golden State Warriors Roster Notes

C Andrew Bogut – 13 Mar 2019 – Day To Day (Personal) – Bogut did not play in Wednesday’s game (Mar. 13) against the Rockets.

F Kevin Durant – 13 Mar 2019 – Day To Day (Right Ankle Contusion) – Durant did not play in Wednesday’s game (Mar. 13) against the Rockets.

C Damian Jones – 8 Mar 2019 – Out (Torn Left Pectoral) – Head coach Steve Kerr said it’s doubtful that Jones returns during the playoffs, according to a report from Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

Oklahoma City Thunder Roster Notes

F Markieff Morris – 13 Mar 2019 – Day To Day (Neck) – Morris did not play in Wednesday’s game (Mar. 13) against the Nets.

G-F Andre Roberson – 14 Feb 2019 – Out (Knee) – Roberson has yet to do any on-court work, however, head coach Billy Donovan hasn’t given up hope that he could make a return this season.

Head-to-Head: DeMarcus Cousins (GSW) vs Steven Adams (OKC)

Look to the middle of the paint for a battle of two of the NBA’s greatest enforcers as DeMarcus Cousins and Steven Adams come to blows. DeMarcus Cousins was brilliant in his last game against the Rockets, letting fans and the NBA as a whole forget Kevin Durant’s absence. The responsibility of stopping him falls to Steven Adams, Oklahoma’s defensive wall and force on the glass.

DeMarcus Cousins

Center | 6-11, 270lb (211cm, 122kg) | Kentucky | Exp. 8 Years

15.8 PPG | 3.5 APG | 7.9 RPG | 1.3 SPG | 1.5 BPG | 2.4 TOV | .466 FG% | .242 3P%

DeMarcus Cousins showed up in his last game against the Houston Rockets and dominated the court. He posted 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists on 11-16 shooting from the floor. Granted the Rockets don’t have the paint presence that the Thunder have, but Cousins showed a diversity to his game that Warriors fans feel have been stifled since his reintroduction post-injury. Cousins will surely get the same offensive focus against the Thunder.

Steven Adams

Center | 7-0, 265lb (213cm, 120kg) | Pittsburgh/New Zealand | Exp. 5 Years

14.4 PPG | 1.6 APG | 9.6 RPG | 1.6 SPG | 0.8 BPG | 1.7 TOV | .603 FG% | .000 3P%

Steven Adams may very well be the toughest and strongest player in the NBA, not that that would matter to him. The laid back Kiwi is key to the Thunder’s offense and defense due to his bone-shaking screens and incomparable presence at the rim. Adams may not have the offensive game of many other centers in the NBA, but as a rim-runner, he is the perfect complement to Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder Predictions and Odds

The oddsmakers have the Golden State Warriors favored over the Oklahoma City Thunder by 1.5, with an over/under of 109.

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AUTHOR

Christian Jope

912 Articles

Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.

Email: [email protected]

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