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How Wiggins and Lee helped summon Golden State's secret power in win over Thunder
I have forgotten what losing even feels like.
If I told you that the undefeated Golden State Warriors would beat a winless Oklahoma City Thunder squad, you wouldn’t be surprised.
And if I told you that the Dubs did it behind Stephen Curry leading in scoring (21 points) and Draymond Green leading the team in rebounds (9), assists (8), and steals (3 - tied with Andrew Wiggins), that wouldn’t be a shocker.
But what if I told you Wiggins and Damion Lee saved the Warriors from a double-digit halftime deficit and reawakened the dynasty’s old superpower? Bahahaha!
Wiggins Island will not be submerged
I’m a staunch believer in positive impact of Andrew Wiggins as a Warrior; I’ve even become something like a property manager on the notorious Wiggins Island. The island recently suffered a torrential downpour of disgruntled comments from skeptical members of Dub Nation who wanted Wiggins to make more of an impact.
Tuna sandwich hahaha wow. Honestly, this recent missed layup didn’t exactly provide great optics for him.
And so with the team down double digits on the road in the 3rd quarter, deep in the heart of Oklahoma, Wiggins activated his downhill gear and did some things that max contract players are supposed to do. Like posterize dudes off the dribble with his offhand.
I’VE NEVER SEEN A TUNA SANDWICH DO ANYTHING LIKE THAT.
That jam fueled the Warriors uncorking a 33-17 3rd quarter beatdown that flipped the momentum their way and reminded the Thunder faithful that they will never be on this team’s level. More on this quarter later, but Wiggins finished out the game playing with a level of force that forced OKC to leave other Dubs to contest him…
Or give up the open deep bomb from a Finals MVP:
21 points on 52% shooting with 3 steals for Two-Way Wiggs. Is he underpaid?
3rd Quarter Super Powers are back
At halftime I was driving home in crazy traffic after work (I’m not taking BART in the rain lmao), with the game being recorded on VHS so I could watch it over some dinner and a glass of Henny.
I checked the score and saw OKC was trying to blow us out as payback for GSW completely annihilating their franchise’s dreams.
Look at that projected Win% of 77.4! Damn, the computers really thought OKC was hella close to winning. Knowing the top secret DNHQ private Slack has some stat addicts, I texted, “Warriors don’t even need to come out and play in the 2nd half, the computers know better”.
That’s when the Warriors reached up into the atmosphere and silenced the Thunder with a 33-17 run in the period.
FG%: Warriors 61%, Thunder 26%
3PT: Warriors 5-of-9 (55%), Thunder 2-of-10 (20%)
REB: Warriors 16, Thunder 8
AST: Warriors 10, Thunder 2
BLK: Warriors 4, Thunder 0
Draymond Green had more assists in the frame (4) than the entire Thunder team combined!
During the height of the Golden Empire, the Warriors used the third quarter as the canvas to paint spirit-breaking masterpieces with the sweat stained tears of their opponents. Remember when the New York times ran a 2018 piece entitled, “Why do the Warriors dominate the third quarter?” or when the Washington Post ran one called, “Why the Warriors are simply unstoppable in the third quarter”?
Wellp, apparently the Dubs decided it’s time to bring all that penultimate quarter devastation back. After crushing OKC in the 3rd last night, the Warriors are currently ranked third in 3rd quarter net rating. As the prodigy Joe Viray explained to drunken me, “net rating is your offensive rating minus defensive rating so what you get form that is how much you outscore opponents (or get outscored by opponents) per 100 possessions.” Cool!
So after a small four game sample size, the Dubs have a 3rd quarter NETRG of 21.2. For reference, here’s that stat over full regular seasons during their five straight NBA Finals trips of yesteryear:
By the way, the Warriors led the league all five of those seasons in 3rd quarter NETRG #BewareThe3rd.
But after all, it’s pretty easy for the Warriors to get scoring like that in the quarter when they’re led by a member of the Curry family!
Damion Lee is about to get a max
That’s right folks, it was Lee who led the 3rd quarter scoring for GSW, with 8 points carrying their hot streak. He finished the game with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field, 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. He was a team high +16 plus/minus in 26 minutes off the bench, and punished OKC for leaving him open. And if they didn’t leave him open, he moved until he got open.
I know a lotta folks wanted Nicolas Batum in the offseason; but isn’t Lee doing exactly what you’d want him to do, at the very least from an offensive standpoint?
This team is just an All-Star caliber shooting guard and a young athletic big man away from being unstoppable... But where in the world could they find those two players??? DAMN YOU GM BOB MYERS FOR WASTING STEPH CURRY’S PRIME, WHY WON’T YOU DO SOMETHING?! IF YOU HAD JUST SPENT THE MLE ON MARC GASOL THIS TEAM COULD BE UNDEFEATED RIGHT NOW AND—wait never mind.