Thunder Crush Warriors For First Win


PHOTO/Randy Renner

Before Sunday's Thunder-Warriors game Golden State coach Steve Kerr was asked what needs to be improved about the team's defense.

"Everything," was his quick answer.

His team then went out and proved their coach right and the Thunder took full advantage of the Warriors ineptitude on the defensive end rolling to a 120-92 blowout win that was actually worse than the final score indicated.

The Thunder never trailed and led by as many as 42. It was 35-20 at the end of the 1st quarter and 70-37 at halftime and with a bit more than 10 minutes left in the game it was 110-68.

"I think we've made some strides," head coach Billy Donovan answered when asked about his team's improvement through the first three games of the season. "We've gotten better."

The Thunder were solid Sunday at both ends of the floor shooting 55.7% overall and 46.9% on threes, heck OKC even hit 77.3% on free throws. Meanwhile the Warriors were limited to just 32.6% overall and 15.2% on threes.

"I know sometimes, in what we do we always look at the result and say did you win or lose, but it’s also about how you’re playing and I feel like we made some strides from Utah to Washington from Washington to Golden State," Donovan said. "Can we keep moving in a positive direction in the areas that we need to get better at, I really felt like the first two games offensively was a real challenge for us whether it be not shooting the ball well, free throw line, around the rim with layups, ball stopping, getting stagnant [and] I think that guys can see that and they’ve worked hard to try to correct those things and get better at those things."

A couple of Thunder players who'd been stuck in the mud offensively the first two games broke out and had big games. Terrance Ferguson, who had taken only four shots in the first two games and missed all of them, scored 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting (3-for-4 on threes) and Dennis Schroder, who'd missed 17 of his 22 shots and five of his six 3-point attempts, got his touch back with a 9-for-13 shooting night (1-for-2 on threes) and scored 22 points to lead the Thunder.

“I made a shot. I didn’t shoot very well the first two games," Schroder admitted to reporters in the lockerroom, "but I tried to stay aggressive, make the right decisions, and I think everyone else had a great game as well and that’s what matters.”

Schroder and Ferguson were two of five Thunder players in double figures. Danilo Gallinari hit four 3s and finished with 21 points, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 19 but was just 1-for-5 on threes and Chris Paul hit a pair of threes to finish with 10 points.

When asked what made the biggest difference in OKC's best offensive showing of the season CP3 said "the pace. We really tried to push the tempo and the pace."

And the Thunder did just that tying their largest margin of victory ever over the Warriors and getting Billy Donovan his 200th win as Thunder head coach.

Up next Chris Paul returns to Houston and the Thunder will have a reunion with Russell Westbrook in the second game of the team's first back-to-back of the season.

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