The NBA season is set to kick off on Tuesday night. Two games are in store, and one of them is the rivalry between the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder. The Warriors will look to celebrate their championship run last season with a win to begin this season. The Thunder want to spoil the parade.
Golden State finished last season on top of the NBA. The Warriors finished the regular season with a 58-24 record, which was good enough to earn the second seed in the Western Conference. Golden State beat the San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans, Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers in route to winning the NBA Championship.
Oklahoma City put together a solid regular season, finishing with a 48-34 record. The Thunder finished in the fourth seed in the Western Conference and faced the Utah Jazz in the first round. Oklahoma City’s season ended in a disappointing six game series loss to the Jazz.
On Tuesday night we will get our first chance to see the new Oklahoma City Thunder team. In the offseason, the Thunder traded Carmelo Anthony to get Dennis Schroeder. One issue with OKC last season, was the lack of scoring coming off the bench. Schroeder could really help fix that coming off the bench at Point Guard. He will likely start on Tuesday night because of Russell Westbrook’s injury, but once Westbrook is back Schroeder should be coming in off the bench.
Last Season’s Meetings
The Thunder and Warriors met four times last season. Both teams earned two wins in the season series. Oklahoma City and Golden State’s matchups had a lot of fire in them as both teams clearly had an issue with each other. I expect to see another exciting game on Tuesday night.
Oklahoma City hosted the first game between these two teams last season. Russell Westbrook had 34 points. Paul George and Carmelo Anthony each had 20 plus points and the Thunder coasted to a 108-91 win. Oklahoma City dominated the Warriors on the glass, which really helped keep the Warriors at bay.
The second meeting of the season shifted back to Golden State. This time Kevin Durant dropped 33 points and Stephen Curry had 21 points, but it was still not enough. Paul George and Russell Westbrook each had over 30 points in the Thunder’s 125-105 win on the road.
The third meeting of the season was much different. No player on the Thunder could break 20 points, which just led to a dominate performance by Golden State. Durant had 28 points, while Curry put up 21. The Warriors finished with a 112-80 win.
The final meeting of the season was the closest in this season series. Westbrook put up great numbers with 44 points and 16 rebounds, but it was not quite enough. Durant finished with 34 points, while Thompson dropped another 20. Golden State won 111-107 on the road to end the season series.
The Thunder will start the season with some pretty major injuries in their lineup. Oklahoma City will be without Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson and Terrance Ferguson to begin the season. Roberson is the Thunder’s starting Shooting Guard and one of their best defenders. Ferguson played a big role off the bench. These are all players the Thunder do not want to be missing for any game, especially against the Warriors.
Golden State is just starting the season with one pretty big injury. DeMarcus Cousins will miss the season after tearing his Achilles last season. That puts a pretty big hole in the lineup because the Warriors don’t really have a set Center behind him. I believe the Thunder could exploit this mismatch with Steven Adams throughout the game.
Oklahoma City and Golden State see plenty of each other throughout the season. With this game being first on each team’s schedule, I imagine the pace to be a little slower in the first half as both teams try to get a feel for everything as the season begins. This could easily lead to a pretty close game in my opinion.
Last season the Thunder were really able to put up a fight against the Warriors. I do not expect that to change this season. Oklahoma City has something to prove in this first game and it is that they can compete in the West. Westbrook’s absence will hurt, but if Schroeder can have a big game, it could allow for the Thunder to pull off the upset.
BetOnline has the Thunder listed as +12 ½ against the spread. That is a lot of points to give in a rivalry game in the first matchup of the season. I believe that even without Westbrook, Oklahoma City has a chance to keep this close. I believe this makes the Thunder the best bet.