Ball-Security Quickly Forgotten Lifeblood of Golden State Warriors Win Over Thunder
Andre Iguodala is certainly the hero on Thursday night in the NBA and for the Golden State Warriors as his last-second fade-away jumper lifted his team to a 116-115 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in thrilling fashion. There’s no doubt that he deserves a ton of credit for the shot and the backdoor cut to get to the baseline to make the jumper on an improvised inbounds play.
For the entirety of the game, though, the Warriors were their usual selves, namely scoring a lot of points. However, they fell relatively silent late in the fourth quarter until they forced a big turnover that led to a Klay Thompson and-one swung the momentum back in the Warriors favor leading up to the tight finish.
That single turnover obviously played a huge part in the way things turned out in this contest, but turnovers as a whole played a big role in this game as well. In a game where the Warriors defense, which ranked third in the league in terms of points per 100 possession coming into the matchup, wasn’t exactly up to par, they were still able to force the Thunder to commit 19 turnovers. More importantly, though, the Warriors showed terrific ball-security, committing only seven turnovers of their own.
Obviously the Warriors play at an extremely fast pace which is one of the reasons, in addition to their stellar three-point shooting, that they’re able to put up the scoring numbers that they do. Having said that, their style of play leads to a ton of turnovers. Prior to this game with the Thunder, the Warriors were last in the league in turnovers per game, committing an average of 20.3 per night.
The fact that Golden State held onto the ball so well in this game so well is huge for a couple of reasons. For one, their ball-security allowed them to limit the Thunder’s transition opportunities, a situation that they’ve proved to be lethal in over the years and this year as well. More than that, though, it made Iguodala’s buzzer-beater possible. Had the Warriors squandered possessions at their normal rate throughout the night, there’s no way this game would have been as close as it was leading up to the final buzzer.
Iguodala deserves any credit and praise that he gets after this game because that game-winning shot was big time. However, the Warriors’ ability to hold onto the basketball on Thursday night can’t be dismissed in the game. Quite simply, if Golden State hadn’t shown the ball-security that they did on Thursday night against OKC, they aren’t walking out of ORACLE with a win.