There’s just something about Chris Paul that makes the Warriors fans blood boil.
He’s no longer in a Clippers or Rockets uniform, and this isn’t a matchup of Western Conference contenders anymore. But that didn’t stop the Chase Center crowd from raining down boos every time Paul touched the ball in a random November game between two teams with a combined eight wins.
That hate didn’t dissipate either, as Paul led a furious Oklahoma City Thunder comeback to shock the Warriors 100-97 Monday night.
The Thunder (6-10) scored the final 13 points of the game to eke out a victory in front of angry Bay Area fans.
Steve Kerr said it was tough to watch towards the end, especially since they had so much success early:
“Chaotic, we couldn’t handle their defensive pressure, they turned it up and forced turnovers, and we didn’t really get good looks. It was frustrating because we had the game right in our grasp and we couldn’t finish it off.”
It’s not just the fans Paul inspires emotionally though; it seems like he has that same effect on Warriors point guards.
Bowman poured in a career-high 24 points and was joined by Glenn Robinson III who also had a career-high with 25.
Robinson has been filling up the score sheets lately, topping 20 twice in the last four games, and averaging 16.7 as a whole over that span.
Kerr said it’s all about him getting a consistent chance that’s let Robinson shine:
“He’s just a good player. It’s really the first time he’s gotten a lot of playing time and minutes where he doesn’t have to worry about missing shots and coming out. So, he’s going to be able to play consistent minutes night in and night out and that allows you to relax and be comfortable.”
Add in Eric Paschall’s 13 and that trio combined to shoot 24-of-40, and led a potent offensive attack—for most of the game.
Then the wheels started to fall off.
Alec Burks went a frosty 3-of-17 from the field, but continued to jack up contested fadeaways as the hot hands languished around the arc.
It wasn’t just Burks though; Jordan Poole was guilty of the same thing. He looked to break out of his season-long slump with back-to-back 3’s and graciously threw his arms in the air after each one dropped through the net.
But then followed that up with a handful of heatcheck shots and drives usually reserved for someone shooting better than 3-of-13 in the game.
Robinson said it was the decision making that sunk the team late, that they got away from what worked when they piled up the lead:
“Being a young team, I don’t think it’s an excuse for the last four minutes of basketball that we played. We got to find some way to pull out that W, especially with the record the way things are going this season for us, up 10 down the stretch, we got to find a way to bring that home.”
And yet, just like almost every game this season, the Warriors had a chance to win.
Unfortunately, or actually fortunately for the tankathon of a season, they weren’t able to even get a shot up on their last possession.
But the effort still left all of Chase Center satisfied, except for the whole Chris Paul part.
The Warriors take the court again Wednesday as the Chicago Bulls, a team in utter disarray, comes to Chase. It’ll be one of the best chances for Golden State to secure a win on their home court, especially if Draymond Green returns to the court, which Kerr said he expected to happen a few days ago.
The Warriors actually had more inactive bodies on the bench Monday then active ones. They had the league minimum eight players available, but they were joined by Curry, Klay Thompson, D’Angelo Russell, Kevon Looney and Alen Smailagic.