The Oklahoma City Thunder fell on the first game of their West Coast road trip, losing to the Golden State Warriors 118-97 inside the Chase Center on Thursday night.
While many were happy to finally get the matchup of Luguentz Dort on Stephen Curry, fans were robbed of seeing the defensive stopper check one of the greatest scorers in NBA history.
Unfortunately, Dort found himself in foul trouble early, restricting him to only 22 minutes on the floor, and as a result, Curry was able to torch the Thunder for 34 points on 11-of-21 shooting.
“Tonight was [Dort’s] first crack at Curry, and obviously that’s a really different preparation from any other player in the league,” OKC head coach Mark Daigneault said. “It’s good learning for him… Its good development. He’s still growing as a defender in terms of learning the league.”
With the second year Canadian having to spend so much time in the first half on the bench, point guard Ty Jerome stepped up to try and keep the Thunder in the game.
Leading Oklahoma City with 23 points, Jerome shot 8-of-14 from the floor, including an efficient 3-of-6 from 3-point range. The former Virginia playmaker also added four rebounds, three assists and a steal to round out his great night.
“[Tonight was] obviously a better job with the game plan than last time [the Thunder played the Warriors],” Jerome said. “I thought we competed harder and definitely stuck to the game plan more, but yeah you’ve got the best shooter probably of all time running around like that, it’s hard.”
In the loss, Darius Bazley stayed aggressive, attacking the basket to finish with 22 points on 7-of-19 shooting for OKC.
An unlikely performance from Golden State’s Michael Mulder ultimately sunk the Thunder, as the 6-foot-3 shooting guard poured in 25 points off the bench for the Warriors. Shooting 9-of-15 on the night, Mulder sunk seven of his 13 attempts from beyond the arc.
“We made them go deep into possessions, and they made the right plays,” Daigneault said. “They’re a good team. But there’s some stuff that we can clean up for sure and we’ll continue to do so.”
Oklahoma City won’t have to dwell long on the loss as they’ll face this very same Warriors team in their next outing.
Tip-off between the Thunder and Golden State is again slated for 9 p.m. on Saturday night.