SAN FRANCISCO – Seeing a vulnerable Oklahoma City Thunder team coming into their house, the Warriors took full advantage for all of about 45 minutes Monday night.
The last three minutes, however, were a mess. And it cost them.
Oklahoma City, which had not won a road game all season, came back from a double-digit deficit to hang a 100-97 defeat on the Warriors before disappointed sellout crowd at Chase Center.
Despite four players scoring in double figures, the Warriors fell for the 15th time in 18 games this season.
Here are three takeaways from a game that got away:
They flunked the toughest part
Whether it’s a young team, one without a certified star or one without much of a pedigree, the most difficult part of succeeding is learning how to finish.
Or, finding ways to not blow leads down the stretch.
Against the Thunder, a team with a core of players steeped in experience, including the playoffs – most notably Chris Paul – the Warriors failed miserably.
With a wide variety of empty possessions – ill-advised shots, turnovers, indecision – the Warriors were outscored 13-0 over the final three minutes.
It’s a tough lesson, and one they’ve heard before.
Going big pays off again
Warriors coach Steve Kerr continues to increase his use of big lineups, playing two big men simultaneously. It could only help against enormous Thunder center Steven Adams.
And, once again, there was a measure of success.
Playing a combined 75 minutes, the team’s big men – Willie Cauley-Stein, Marquese Chriss and Omari Spellman – as a group provided 17 points, 16 rebounds, nine assists and four blocks.
Cauley-Stein started at center and totaled four points and six rebounds. Spellman submitted seven points and five rebounds. Chriss six points, five rebounds and seven assists.
Though there were several occasions when they got caught napping on defense, giving up backdoor lobs, the overall performance was solid until the final minutes.
Robinson shines, right on time
Coaches love him. His teammates love him. Veteran forward Glenn Robinson III is a popular member of the team that on this night got a bit more popular.
Robinson had his best offensive game as a Warrior, scoring a career-high 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
This is the level of production the Warriors were hoping for from Robinson all along. It’s why he was in the starting lineup on opening night, and why he is the only Warrior to start every game.
It wasn’t quite enough, however, to lift the Warriors to victory.