After a bumpy, injury-filled start to the season, the Golden State Warriors have seemingly started to find their groove. They’re currently on a three-game win streak, picking up victories over the Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors, and Oklahoma City Thunder.
In their most recent win over the Thunder, they rode the wave of a massive first quarter in which they outscored Oklahoma City by a score of 38-20. After the game, Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander sent strong message on the Warriors, praising their amazing shooting gravity.
“I think early, we were so worried about like their shooting gravity,” Gilgeous-Alexander said via the Thunder’s official YouTube channel. “And they were getting the easy stuff. The stuff they really want – back-cuts, layups, slips. And then for the rest of the game, we tried to just hone in and focus on making them shoot tough shots, even though [they’re obviously really good shooters. And I think if we had that approach the full four quarters, we would have been better off and who knows how the game ends.”
For the final three quarters of the game, the Thunder outscored the Warriors by a score of 100-90, but their 18-point lead coming out of the first quarter helped them hang on in the end.
Gilgeous-Alexander pointed toward the Warriors’ elite three-point shooting as a top reason Golden State was able to win. But more specifically, he noted their ability to get other looks when teams focus too much on their three-point shooting.
“They’re really good at shooting threes,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “And teams have guarded their three for however long they’ve been together now. So, they’ve become even better at capitalizing when you’re aggressive with the threes. And they were getting a lot of that early in the game.”
Steve Kerr Calls Out Jaren Jackson Jr.
In the Warriors’ previous win before taking down the Thunder, they earned a victory over the Grizzlies, who are currently 32-18 on the season and in second place in the Western Conference standings. It marked their second win over the season against Memphis.
After the game, head coach Steve Kerr discussed what he believed to be the turning point of the game for the Warriors. Grizzlies star big man Jaren Jackson Jr. fouled out of the game with 2:33 to go in the fourth quarter. In his place, the Grizzlies subbed in 6’2 point guard Tyus Jones. Kerr said that the switch allowed Golden State to play smaller for a longer period of time.
“I thought Jaren Jackson’s sixth foul was a big moment in the game,” Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area. “It allowed us to play smaller for a longer stretch.”
Stephen Curry Explains Frustration Leading to Ejection
That Warriors-Grizzlies matchup also saw Stephen Curry get ejected with just over a minute to go. He got frustrated with Jordan Poole’s shot selection, threw his mouthguard into the crowd, and was promptly thrown out of the game. After the contest, he explained that the frustration was simply a product of how intense the game was.
“Yeah, it was a crucial time in the game and the way our season has gone, as you know, there’s questions about the heightened sense of urgency and about how every detail matters,” Curry said via NBC Sports Bay Area. “You want something really bad, like just getting a win. With fourth quarter execution, clutch time type of situations, all that stuff does matter. So I reacted in a way that, obviously, put myself out of the game and put the team in a tough place. But, the intentions and the energy around what matters in the sense of winning, that’s what it’s about. Thankfully my teammates responded extremely well, Klay (Thompson) with a big shot, JP with the game-winner at the end. Execution was great. We needed that one, there was a lot of sense of urgency for sure, and I kind of let my emotions get in the way of it.”