The Oklahoma City Thunder dropped their fifth-straight game on Thursday night in a loss to the Golden State Warriors. Ultimately losing by 21 points, it wasn't OKC's best performance, especially considering the progress they had made the past couple of games. However, a handful of players took a step forward individually in their development and the team did make positive strides overall.
While the Thunder lost the battle on the boards, which was unexpected, they did step up defensively. They finished the night with nine steals and 18 points off turnovers. For the fourth game in a row, OKC took solid care of the ball, committing just 13 turnovers of their own, which is well below their season average.
As expected, Steph Curry took this game into his own hands. He finished the night with 34 points, seven assists and four rebounds, including six made threes. This is especially significant considering the Thunder only converted on nine threes as a team on the night. Giving the Warriors a huge bench spark, Mychal Mulder produced 25 points behind seven made threes of his own. One of the better 3-point shooting teams in the NBA, Golden State was able to win this one simply by being efficient from beyond the arc.
Darius Bazley notched yet another 20-point game, however it wasn't very efficient. He scored 22 points on 19 shots and went 4-for-13 from deep. Lu Dort didn't have the best night offensively as he spent most of the game on the bench in foul trouble. In his first career game defending Curry, he finished with just seven points, 3 assists and two rebounds in 22 minutes of play.
Game Ball: Ty Jerome
Ty Jerome is just 23 years old and already emerging as an excellent all-around playmaker who is starting to find his groove as a young NBA player. On Thursday night, he finished with 23 points off the bench on 3-for-6 from deep to go along with four rebounds and three assists.
On the season, he is the Thunder's second-highest assist producer, showing that he is more than just a 3-point shooter, but rather a facilitator and playmaker. Standing at 6-foot-5, he is versatile and able to play both guard positions off the bench for OKC. It seems like any given night, Jerome is able to lead the Thunder bench unit in scoring and provide a major spark.
Game Ball: Theo Maledon
As 19-year-old rookie Theo Maledon continues to adjust to the NBA game, his numbers just get better. Still learning to adjust to the speed and style of the game, he's struggled with turnovers early in his career, which should be expected. As high as his basketball IQ is and how sensational his feel for the game is, he's going up against the best players in the world every night.
On Thursday against the Warriors, Maledon notched a team-high eight assists and only one turnover. He was instrumental in the team committing a low number of turnovers and cleaning up their offensive flow. To put a cherry on top, Maledon produced 15 points, four rebounds and two steals as well.