* * *
Biggest takeaway from Tuesday night’s Thunder-Warriors Round 2?
* * *
David Aldridge: Paul George is a problem — a vital one — for a Warriors. Over 7 games, Warriors manager Steve Kerr might find a lineup that works opposite a Thunder, yet for now, he doesn’t have any answer for PG13. Golden State’s whole Raison d’etre is liquid round transformation heading to soul-sapping 3-pointers and dunks. George wrecked that all by himself, as he’s finished via a deteriorate in a challenging Kia Defensive Player of a Year campaign. On a ball, off a ball, helping, recuperating — George seemed to be everywhere wreaking defensive havoc, while scoring, somehow, a still 38. George and Steven Adams are only a harmful halfcourt twin defensively. I’m by no means observant a Thunder will unequivocally kick a Warriors in a playoffs. But a template is there. (Which, he records parenthetically, is not good news for a Los Angeles Lakers or LA Clippers.)
Steve Aschburner: Good for a Thunder, ho-hum for a Warriors. OKC indispensable to stop a Oakland losing streak, finish a four-game movement and feel improved about itself given losing defensive-minded ensure Andre Roberson. This one frequency valid a Thunder are behind to their aged miserly selves, yet a third entertain was a start. For Golden State, I’m presumption it’s some-more of a teachable impulse that manager Steve Kerr and his staff craved to get their guys’ attention. Might not have it in undivided form compartment after a All-Star break, during that indicate this form of opening will turn some-more concerning.
Tas Melas: Draymond Green is commencement to acquire himself repute techs. As studious as a referees have been with Green, it might have reached a tipping point. That second tech when he kindly lobbed a round during a ref was clearly a: “We’ve had adequate and will alarm we on any emergence of violation a rules.” He has to be wakeful of this fact in playoffs Round 2, or 3, or 4
Shaun Powell: The peace between Russell Westbrook and Paul George is championship-contender quality. They play good off any other and it shows roughly nightly; this is a chemistry that could remonstrate George to stay in OKC, nonetheless a rest of a bar isn’t so low or gifted or intriguing. Also, a Warriors (and generally Draymond Green) unequivocally need to get a hold on their function towards referees. But we knew that.
John Schuhmann: Turnovers were substantially a bigger emanate on Tuesday, yet on a some-more macro scale, it’s notable that a Warriors’ invulnerability has mislaid a edge. They positively aren’t where a Cavs are, yet the champs arrange 26th defensively given late December, with their biggest issues being 3-point invulnerability (29th over that stretch) and forcing turnovers (28th). This is a group that, notwithstanding all a talent, has never only relied on a historically fit offense to get by and never had to find “the switch,” since they’ve built good defensive habits from Day 1 of training camp. On Tuesday, they let a Paul George and Russell Westbrook travel into a lot of gentle jumpers and build a stroke early. It’s substantially only an appetite emanate that will solve itself after a All-Star mangle (and it wouldn’t be a initial time where we’ve seen defensive slippage from a group that has left to The Finals any of a final 3 years), yet this is a Warriors’ misfortune defensive widen in their 4 seasons underneath Steve Kerr and it has authorised a Houston Rockets to stand into a tie in a detriment mainstay for a No. 1 seed in a West (with Houston holding a tiebreaker).
Sekou Smith: The Thunder sojourn a loyal furious label for me in a whole playoff field. For all of a issues they have had and continue to understanding with, they’ve shown themselves some-more than able opposite the Western Conference’s tip dual teams. They can grub divided during both a Warriors and Houston Rockets in ways that no other group in a joining can. Russell Westbrook and Paul George lead a approach and Steven Adams and a rest of that long, jaunty (and much-improved from progressing in a season) supporting expel following along. You watch these unchanging deteriorate matter games to see if there are any clues as to what could interpret into a intensity postseason matchup. The Warriors (and Rockets) should positively take this Thunder team as a critical threat. And once again, a Warriors can get divided with personification quick and lax with a round opposite a outrageous cube of a league. But turnovers and losing your restraint opposite a group like a Thunder — a group that has your design adult on a dart house each day — is a recipe for disaster.