Crunch Time Catastrophe: Warriors’ Overtime Defeat Blighted by ‘Obscene’ Turnover Woes Against Thunder

The Warriors’ 29 turnovers weren’t just an NBA season-high, but the most they’ve committed in any game under Steve Kerr.

Warriors doomed by 'obscene' turnover woes in heartbreaking overtime loss  to Thunder

The Golden State Warriors outscored the Oklahoma City Thunder from beyond the arc by a staggering 42 points. They exploited the Thunder’s greatest weakness from the opening tip, owning the boards en route to a season-high 24 offensive rebounds.

Stephen Curry dropped 34 points on 20 shots and Klay Thompson scored 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting, the Splash Bros.’ best tandem performance in a game this season. Golden State’s bench racked up 51 points, led by Jonathan Kuminga’s 24.

Gilgeous-Alexander scores 38 as Thunder top Warriors, 138-136 in overtime -  Coast Reporter

The Warriors, needless to say, did plenty well enough to win on Friday night. Instead of beginning a tough three-game road trip with one of their best victories of the season, though, a rash of giveaways and one unacceptable last-second gaffe sent the Dubs to a 138-136 overtime loss.

Turnovers, shocker, were the undoing of an otherwise extremely admirable performance from the Warriors. They barfed up a whopping 29 turnovers against the Thunder, not just a season-high for any NBA team, but the most in a single game since Steve Kerr took the reins nearly a decade ago.

Rash of turnovers dooms Warriors

The first possession of the game proved a depressing harbinger of what transpired over the ensuing 47-plus minutes. Is this just an errant pass from Thompson, or did he try to intentionally lead Kevon Looney of all players into traffic at the rim?

The answer doesn’t really matter, speaking to carelessness and overzealousness with the ball that seemed to infect all 10 players who took the floor for the blue and gold. Notably not among them? Chris Paul, a late scratch for Friday’s game due to illness. Even the Point God wouldn’t have been able to heal the plague of turnovers that doomed his new team in Oklahoma City.

Time and again, the Warriors attempted passes that had no chance of finding their destination. Sometimes the target looked like it had to be the first row of seats at PayCom Center.

All three of these passes from Draymond Green had literally no chance of being completed. The final one came as Golden State vied for a last-gasp comeback in the extra session, an effort that might’ve very well paid off in a truly wild win had Kerr’s team scored on just one more possession in the game’s final minutes.

Gilgeous-Alexander scores 38 as Thunder top Warriors, 138-136 in overtime  :: WRALSportsFan.com

Miscommunication was nearly as big a problem for the Warriors as bad decision-making.

Kuminga leaves Dario Saric hanging out to dry in the first clip by suddenly stopping his cut, and Green does the same to Andrew Wiggins below by setting a screen for Thompson instead of catching and getting into a quick dribble hand-off—a mistake he immediately acknowledges by raising his hand.

Wiggins was at least as culpable as Green for his game-long inability to protect the ball, though. He finished with a team-high six turnovers, including an ugly up-down travel on the Dubs’ first offensive trip of overtime after they corralled yet another offensive rebound.

Wiggins wasn’t credited with a turnover on the Warriors’ next possession. But this flailing finger roll going away from the rim missed so badly that it might as well have been a pass directly into the hands of Chet Holmgren rather than a hopeless attempt toward the rim.

Wiggins, Green, Thompson, Curry, Saric and Kuminga all gave the ball away, sometimes on moving screens, at least three times. Kevon Looney had two turnovers and Brandin Podziemski had one. The only player who didn’t commit a turnover was Corey Joseph, who played 12 minutes with Paul and Gary Payton II sidelined and would’ve had one if the Warriors didn’t manage to get their hands on his bad transition pass in the second half.

“It’s an obscene number of turnovers,” a visibly frustrated Kerr said from the postgame podium.

“We will watch all 29 as a team I can tell you that. As a team we’re gonna watch all 29 turnovers because it’s a decision-making game. Basketball is all about decision-making.”

Draymond Green’s last-second gaffe

Warriors forward Draymond Green serves a five game suspension

Still, Golden State would’ve escaped Oklahoma City with a win on the back of efficient scoring and dominant rebounding if not for another game-saving three points from Holmgren in the final seconds of regulation—just like the Thunder’s overtime triumph at Chase Center on November 18th.

Once again up three with little time left on the game clock, Golden State opted to intentionally send Oklahoma City to the line, a choice Wiggins didn’t have the opportunity to make three weeks ago before Holmgren cashed a game-tying, buzzer-beating triple. Green had just as little time to make the opposite decision on Friday after vexingly going for a steal.

He’d clearly already made up his mind about fouling, though, sending Holmgren to the line for three free throws as the rookie big man immediately caught and got into his shooting motion.

It speaks to how well the Warriors played in most aspects of this game that they should’ve won it despite making new turnover history under Kerr and, surprise, proving unable to contain Oklahoma City off the bounce without fouling. December is too far into the season for moral victories and silver linings, though—especially when the issues that dogged Golden State most are the same ones Kerr and his staff have been trying to curb since early last season.

“Over and over again,” he said, “there were just decisions that we would like to have back.”

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