What we learned as Wiggins’ heroics wasted in Warriors’ OT loss to OKC originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
SAN FRANCISCO – Steph Curry’s Warriors return looked like the perfect recipe to snap a five-game losing streak. Chet Holmgren, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Oklahoma City Thunder had other thoughts.
Holmgren hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send the game to overtime, and the Warriors dropped their sixth straight, 130-123.
Moments earlier, Andrew Wiggins hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds remaining, but Holmgren made sure the Warriors’ All-Star forward wasn’t the hero on this night.
Gilgeous-Alexander’s 40 points led all scorers, and his rookie teammate, Holmgren, was right behind with 36.
Curry being back after missing the previous two games (right knee) was the story, but the night for the Warriors belonged to Andrew Wiggins. The veteran forward had his breakout performance of the season, scoring 31 points. Wiggins hadn’t scored 30 or more points in a game since Dec. 3, 2022.
Each team had five players score in double-figures, though the Thunder’s young stars shined brightest when it mattered most. The Warriors were outscored 13-6 in overtime.
Here are three takeaways from the Warriors falling to 6-8 on the season.
Welcome Back, 30
Curry didn’t miss a beat in his first contest back from a two-game absence to right knee soreness. He didn’t need to ease his way in. Instead, Curry came back right where he left off.
And yes, that includes the pettiness to his opposition.
Curry now has played 12 games this season, and he has made at least four 3-pointers in all 12, splashing five against Oklahoma City. Curry has scored 20 or more points every single game he has played in, too. The sharpshooter scored five points in the first quarter, seven in the second, five in the third and then five in the fourth to bring him to 22 entering overtime.
But Curry only got two shots up in overtime, making one 3-pointer, and his 25 points weren’t enough. Everything is easier having him back on the court and the offensive balance finally showed up. The final result still was a Warriors loss.
Klay, Wiggins Find Their Offense
The Warriors all season long have been waiting and searching for Thompson and Wiggins’ offense to show up. On Saturday night in Curry’s first game back, Golden State’s secondary scorers had their best half of offense this entire season.
Thompson’s six first-quarter points were more than the five he had the whole previous game. He and Wiggins each scored 12 points on a combined 8-of-12 shooting in the first half. Wiggins finally found his mid-range jumper and both had success from long distance.
Wiggins’ cutting and ability to attack the rim was key. It seemed like he settled early, but Wiggins kept going at the hoop and the Warriors benefited. The game wasn’t even halfway through the third quarter and Wiggins already had scored a season-high 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
The former All-Star finished with 31 points on 12-of-19 shooting, hitting a handful of big shots down the stretch. Saturday marked the first time Wiggins scored at least 20 points this season, and his first game making multiple threes, going 5 of 8 beyond the arc.
Then there’s Thompson. This also was the first time he and Wiggins scored at least 15 points in the same game in two weeks. Unfortunately for the Warriors, Thompson’s shot petered off in the end. He was 5 of 7 from the field through three quarter and then missed his next six shots to end the game.
Kuminga, Moody Contributions
Following a season-high 21 points in his first start of the season, Jonathan Kuminga was sent back to the bench Saturday night. Kuminga’s impact then immediately was felt the first time he came off the sidelines. Kuminga in the first quarter scored seven points and came down with three rebounds.
Kuminga right away displayed the kind of controlled aggressiveness the coaching staff needs from him offensively, and Steve Kerr was all smiles watching the young forward go to work.
Whenever a smaller player like Thunder rookie Cason Wallace was on him, Kuminga recognized his mismatch and went to work. Kuminga played 20 minutes off the bench and totaled 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting, along with adding five rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal.
Moody didn’t play at all in the first quarter of Thursday night’s loss before giving the Warriors a big boost in the second. Kerr rewarded him with early minutes Saturday, and Moody’s effect on the game went past the stats as it often does. Moody didn’t have his shot (1 of 4 overall and 0 of 3 from deep), but his two steals on a night where the Warriors didn’t have Gary Payton II were big, and Moody made all four of his free throw attempts.
How Moody and Kuminga’s minutes and numbers fluctuate will be something to watch as the season continues.
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