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Warriors wake up late against winless Thunder to stay unbeaten

Evan Webeck, The Mercury News on

Published in Basketball

OKLAHOMA CITY — Something clicked once Otto Porter Jr. subbed in for Andrew Wiggins late in the third quarter.

The Warriors had gone more than 33 minutes without leading the winless Thunder for a second, but in the 2:47 until the end-of-quarter buzzer sounded, Golden State pulled ahead by 5 and never looked back, buoyed by two big 3-pointers by Porter. With the 106-96 win, Golden State extended its unbeaten start to the season to four games.

Porter’s contributions helped key the comeback, but Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Damion Lee kept the Warriors in the game. Curry led Golden State with 23 points, followed by 21 from Wiggins and 20 from Lee.

A lackadaisical effort made it look like Golden State could be headed for its first loss.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr seemingly tried every lineup combination he could think of, but little was effective in slowing down the Thunder or warming up the Warriors until Porter’s infusion late in the third.

Curry shook his head as he waited to sub in late in the first half. Aleksej Pokusevski had just soared past a lackadaisical Warriors defense for an easy dunk that put the Thunder up, 48-33, what amounted to be their largest lead of the game.

 

Gary Payton II was the first player off the bench for the second straight game, but this time he spelled Curry midway through the first quarter, instead of Jordan Poole.

Soon after Chris Chiozza saw his first meaningful minutes of the season.

Kerr tried to spark a run at the end of the first half with a lineup that featured 6-foot-7 Wiggins as its tallest player. But this was no “death lineup.” Oklahoma City’s nine-point lead only grew to 11 with Wiggins, Curry, Andre Iguodala, Damion Lee and Draymond Green on the floor for the final 3:29 of the half.

Oklahoma City lost its first three games by a combined 66 points but didn’t trail for two full quarters and late into a third. The Thunder shot 54.5% from the field while scoring 59 first-half points, their most in a half of basketball this season.

Once Golden State took its first lead, 78-76 with 1:01 left in the third quarter, on Porter’s first 3-pointer, the Warriors didn’t relinquished it again.

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