Wed, 22 Mar 2023

Warriors, 'sick' of .500 play, seek third straight win vs. Thunder

Field Level Media
30 Jan 2023, 08:40 GMT+10

More than halfway through the season, the Golden State Warriors are still looking for some traction.

"We've been teetering on either side of .500 for a very long time. I'm kind of sick of it at this point," Warriors star Stephen Curry said. "(We've) got to figure out how to keep moving in the right direction and stack wins, no matter how we can get them."

Golden State heads into Monday's game against the host Oklahoma City Thunder having won consecutive games for the first time in nearly a month.

A victory over the Thunder would put the Warriors two games above .500, matching their high point of the season.

For Golden State to find consistency, Curry figures to play a major role.

Curry is coming off his most complete game since returning in early January from missing 11 games with a partially dislocated left shoulder.

In Friday's win over Toronto, he had 35 points with 11 assists while attempting just eight 3-pointers. It was the first time since 2019 that Curry had 35 or more points with eight or fewer 3-point attempts.

"It looked like he had his pop back, getting by people, getting into the paint and getting by from there," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "Steph is always the key for us and when he's playing at a high level like that, it makes the game a lot easier for everyone."

Facing Curry, Oklahoma City could be without its top defender. Luguentz Dort missed Friday's win over Cleveland with a hamstring injury.

Monday's game is the first of four between the teams this season. Golden State has won the last six meetings, sweeping the series each of the previous two seasons.

The Thunder head into the game having won eight of their last 11.

Like much of Oklahoma City's success this season, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been at the center of the Thunder's recent hot run. Over those 11 games, Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 30.9 points with 5.4 assists and 1.8 turnovers.

In Friday's win, Gilgeous-Alexander was a plus-14 in 35 minutes as he piled up 35 points and eight assists.

Gilgeous-Alexander was 10-of-11 from the free-throw line, the 21st time this season he's made at least 10 free throws. In his first four seasons, he had just 17 such games.

"It's a luxury," Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said of Gilgeous-Alexander. "You can get stuck and he can just go make a play."

The Thunder is still trying to work rookie Ousmane Dieng into the rotation. Dieng returned two games ago after missing seven weeks with a wrist injury. He has played about 10 minutes in each of his two games back, scoring five total points.

"He was on such a good track prior to getting hurt, and now we've gotta work with him and he's gotta work to get his rhythm back and kinda get himself back to zero," Daigneault said. "Not gonna be overly judgmental of his play until he gets to that point."

--Field Level Media

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