The Oklahoma City Thunder meet the Golden State Warriors this Thursday (11/16/23). Get Thunder vs. Warriors moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors Prediction
Perhaps I am wearing rose-colored glasses, but the line being set at only 2.5 points is confusing to me. Oklahoma City should cruise to a road win.
Chris Paul and Klay Thompson were above average to elite defenders in their respective primes, but Father Time and injuries have stripped them of their athleticism. They struggle mightily to contain drivers now, frequently die on ball screens and can’t hang in isolation. Oklahoma City leads the NBA in drives per game and fields a superstar in the making: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (29.3 PPG). He’s an elite space creator that will constantly beat Golden State’s guards off the dribble and penetrate the paint. The Warriors cannot hide their weak defenders either, as Jalen Williams, Josh Giddey, and Chet Holmgren are all comfortable initiating the offense.
Golden State lacks a dominant help defender with Draymond Green out, so it could get ugly quickly. Who is rotating to contest? Kevon Looney? Dario Saric? Both players cannot protect the rim in the slightest against Gilgeous-Alexander or even their secondary pieces, and they will surrender open looks to Chet Holmgren (46.3 3PT%) or Jalen Williams (36.4 3PT%) if they do attempt to slide over. In fact, the drive-and-kick has been the Thunder’s bread and butter; they rank 5th in wide open three-point attempts per game and 4th in catch-and-shoot 3PT% (via NBA.com).
Meanwhile, the Warriors have given up the 7th most points per game to opposing centers. Holmgren’s role versatility, range, and length will be a massive problem for Golden State; he racked up 24 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 stocks in their previous matchup. In summation, Golden State’s porous perimeter defense and lackluster rim protection will haunt them. Oklahoma City’s offense should get to their spots with ease, place an enormous amount of stress on the rim and create wide open looks from deep.
On the other end, Golden State’s offense takes a cataclysmic hit with Steph Curry (30.7 PPG) out. When his attempts are removed, the Warriors as a team own dreadful 43/30/73 shooting splits. Draymond Green’s playmaking is crucial to Golden State’s motion offense too, so their total shot quality will be severely slashed due to his suspension.
To Chris Paul’s credit, he is creating plenty of open looks for teammates; however, the Warriors will be forced to run a pick-and-roll heavy offense with him at the helm. That greatly benefits Oklahoma City, who possess elite on-ball screen navigators and the perfect pick-and-roll defensive center.
Overall, Golden State can still create shots at a respectable rate with Chris Paul orchestrating the offense, but it will be extremely difficult for them to keep pace. Not only will they be at an efficiency disadvantage, but the Thunder should beat them in the shot quality battle. Take OKC to convincingly win this matchup. Not only am I backing their moneyline and spread, but sprinkling a little on Thunder -6.5 (+158 FD) is worth a look to me.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors Prediction: Thunder -2.5 & Moneyline
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Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors Best Odds
The Thunder are surprisingly only favored by 2.5 points here despite Stephen Curry and Draymond Green being out. Golden State needs to win this game roughly 43 percent of the time for their +132 moneyline to be profitable in the long run. If this is not the case, then their moneyline holds a negative expected value.
Oklahoma City Thunder Starting Lineup
Golden State Warriors Starting Lineup
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors Injuries
Stephen Curry (knee) and Draymond Green (suspension) are both sidelined for the Warriors tonight, while Oklahoma City’s injury report is completely clean.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors Key Matchups
Klay Thompson vs. Lu Dort
Klay Thompson is Golden State’s best scoring option, but he faces an extremely tough matchup. Lu Dort ranked 6th across the NBA last year in Basketball Index’s Off-Ball Chaser metric because of his strength, bend, and anticipation. Dort remains one of the top perimeter defenders in the NBA, and they also have the option of assigning him to Chris Paul if they want to cut the head off of the snake. Factor in Gilgeous-Alexander’s disruptive defense and Holmgren’s paint protection, and Golden State’s guards face an uphill climb here.
To say that Andrew Wiggins is struggling to start the year is an understatement. He’s averaging 10.4 points on horrific 39/15/50 shooting splits, including a 23.1 3PT% on wide open threes. Wiggins also owns a negative assist to turnover ratio, so he’s not compensating through playmaking either. With Curry and Draymond out, Golden State desperately needs Wiggins to find his shooting stroke and add some off-the-dribble creation. Otherwise, Chris Paul’s burden is simply too great.