Warriors takeaways: What we learned in awful 120-92 loss to Thunder

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in awful 120-92 loss to Thunder


OKLAHOMA CITY -- If you needed a reminder of how far the Warriors have fallen, Sunday's 120-92 loss to the Thunder was the biggest example yet. 

In the blowout, the Warriors were outplayed, outcoached and outclassed in their second straight loss to start the season. 

With Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley Stein injured, the Thunder outscored the Warriors 46-40 in the paint as Golden State continued to search for a formidable big man. 

For years, the Warriors-Thunder rivalry has been among the best in basketball. Now, with star power gone from both teams, the Thunder dominated on Sunday.

Here are the takeaways from the Warriors' lopsided loss. 

Another slow start

The Warriors started slowly once again Sunday. Through the first four minutes, they were outscored 15-3, allowing the Thunder to shoot 56 percent in the first half as they took a 70-37 lead into halftime. 

In two games this season, the Warriors have been outscored 135-91 in the first half. 

The Warriors, historically, have imposed their will on opponents early under coach Steve Kerr. They've either built big leads in the first half or pulled away with dominant third quarters. Now, with a new roster and a lack of star power, the Warriors' opponents are having their way. 

For the time being, it doesn't seem like the Warriors' play will get better anytime soon. With a depleted frontcourt, it's hard to imagine a better performance going forward. 

Bad shooting sinks Warriors

The Warriors started slowly, but they couldn't put the ball in the basket all night. Stephen Curry, Golden State's leading scorer with 23 points, shot just 7-of-18 from the field. The Warriors weren't much better as a team, making just 30 of their 92 shots. 

That included an 11-of-40 performance from the field in the first half and going 3-of-19 from beyond the arc. D'Angelo Russell -- who was ejected in the third quarter -- was just 3 of 10 from the field. 

The biggest symbol of Golden State's futility came in the second quarter when wide-open big man Omari Spellman hesitated underneath the basket and missed a point-blank layup. 

For a team that revolutionized scoring in the NBA, Sunday's game further emphasized the Warriors' fall from grace. While there's no way to replicate the loss of Kevin Durant or fill the void of an injured Klay Thompson, the team needs to find a way to get some semblance of offense back.  

[RELATED: Injured Dubs center Cauley-Stein working out in Santa Cruz]

Defensive woes continue

The Thunder got whatever they wanted offensively Sunday, adding to the Warriors' list of issues. New OKC guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stayed hot, scoring 19 points and compiling nine rebounds and four assists. 

Dennis Schroder was also effective, scoring 16 of his 22 points in the first half. The Thunder shot 55 percent for the game. 

Entering Sunday, the Warriors had the league's worst defense, posting a 133.0 defensive rating in Thursday's home opener.

For years, Golden State's defense has been the backbone of its contending teams. Now, the Warriors are hoping it can play well enough just to keep a deficit under double digits. 

Warriors coach Steve Kerr wishes 49ers well in Super Bowl 54 vs. Chiefs

Warriors coach Steve Kerr wishes 49ers well in Super Bowl 54 vs. Chiefs

Draymond Green might not be rooting for the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, but one other prominent member of the Warriors’ organization will be.

Coach Steve Kerr delivered a message via social media on Friday, wishing the Niners well as they prepare to take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium on Feb. 2.

"I just wanna say good luck to the 49ers," Kerr said. "Everybody's pulling for you guys, let's go."

[RELATED: How Dubs benefit from Cauley-Stein trade to Mavericks]

Draymond said after shootaround on Friday that he’ll be rooting for the Chiefs, whose roster features his close friend, defensive end Frank Clark.

Both Kerr and Green happen to know a thing or two about winning championships, but only one of them will be happy with the result from Miami.

How Warriors gain flexibility in Willie Cauley-Stein trade to Mavs

How Warriors gain flexibility in Willie Cauley-Stein trade to Mavs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Willie Cauley-Stein walked out of shootaround, down a long corridor that leads to the Warriors' locker room in Chase Center late Friday morning in preparation for a game scheduled hours later against the Indiana Pacers. The trek marked the big man's last as a member of Golden State.

By Saturday morning, Cauley-Stein officially was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the Utah Jazz's second-round draft pick in 2020, ending his short tenure in the Bay Area. Along the way, the Warriors set themselves up for future flexibility. 

In the immediate aftermath, the Warriors shed Cauley-Stein's current $2.17 million salary and his $2.8 million player option for the 2020-21 season, while freeing up an open roster spot for this season and beyond. From a financial perspective, it sank Golden State $2.57 million below the hard cap, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks. Additionally, the Warriors have enough salary space to convert the two-way deals of either Ky Bowman or Marquese Chriss. 

Six months ago, Cauley-Stein came to Warriors in search of career revitalization. After four years in Sacramento, he demanded that the Kings rescind his qualifying offer to make him a free agent last summer. After garnering more lucrative offers from other teams, he chose to sign a one-year contract with Golden State, which included the player option. With a new contract, the center hoped to keep the Warriors' postseason streak alive while earning a payday next summer. 

However, those wishes didn't come to fruition. A week before training camp, Cauley-Stein sprained his foot, causing the center to miss the first month of the season. His injury, coupled with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney missing significant time, led to a lost season for the big man.

Nonetheless, Cauley-Stein expressed a desire to stay with the Warriors long term, citing his relationship with coach Steve Kerr. 

"He wants to build a relationship with you," Cauley-Stein told NBC Sports Bay Area last month. "I think, in the past I hadn't had a relationship with my coach. [Former Kings coach Dave] Joerger, me and him had a pretty good rapport, pretty good, like cordial, but we never had like in-depth conversations about life and stuff like that, and the first couple of conversations I had with coach Kerr was real-life stuff and that hit home with me like, 'Damn, he really tried to get to know me.' "

[RELATED: Draymond not rooting for 49ers]

Unfortunately for Cauley-Stein, he won't get to continue that relationship with Kerr.

Now, with Dallas in need of a center with the loss of Dwight Powell, his hope to find a similar relationship with Rick Carlisle will immediately start in a Mavericks uniform.