The Rundown: Thunder disrupt Warriors, Leonard goes for 41

Published December 9, 2023, 7:00 PMPolo Bustamante

The Thunder beat the Warriors behind Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kawhi Leonard erupted for 41 points in the Clippers’ win over the Jazz.


Hornets 119, Raptors 116

Magic 123, Pistons 91

76ers 125, Hawks 114

Nets 124, Wizards 97

Celtics 133, Knicks 123

Cavaliers 111, Heat 99

Timberwolves 127, Grizzlies 103

Thunder 128, Warriors 136

Bulls 121, Spurs 112

Rockets 114, Nuggets 106

Kings 114, Suns 106

Clippers 117, Jazz 103

Mavericks 125, Trail Blazers 112

What went down

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice. But Thunder apparently does.

In their last meeting, the Oklahoma City Thunder edged out the Golden State Warriors in OT. The Thunder repeated the result in their matchup against the Warriors today.

Early in the game it seemed like the Warriors didn’t want this game to get as close as their last one against the Thunder. The Warriors teamed up to pull ahead by nine points, limiting the Thunder to just 19 points in the first quarter. Slowly but surely the Thunder chipped away at that deficit, turning the game into a back-and-forth affair in the second half.

Steph Curry was poised to be the hero near the end of the game after hitting a 3-pointer to give the Warriors a three-point lead with 19 seconds left. After that, the Thunder ran a sideline out of bounds play that got the ball into Chet Holmgren near the top of the key. Draymond Green was caught with his hand in the cookie jar as Holmgren was launching a 3. The young big man nailed all three freebies to send the game into overtime.

In the extra period, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander took over nailing two straight middies and assisted on a 3-pointer by Holmgren to give the Thunder a seven-point lead. That was enough of a cushion to survive a final flurry by Curry.

Big-time baller

Kawhi Leonard is averaging 21.6 points heading into today’s game. In his last three games, he’s only been able to put up 17, 20, and 23. These are numbers far from what we’re used to from the Klaw. 

The Clippers needed a big game from Leonard. But more importantly, Leonard needed a big game for himself. Against the Jazz he delivered just that. He was unstoppable today, erupting for 41 points on 60.9 percent shooting. He nailed six of his eight triples and all of his seven free throws. He added five boards, five assists, and a block to round out his line.

Was this the game that snapped Leonard out of his funk?

What he said

After dropping 21 points and 20 rebounds on the Chicago Bulls, Victor Wembenyama was asked about joining Dwight Howard as the only teens in NBA history with 20-20 games.

There’s no doubt Wemby is special. Pretty soon these 20-20 games will come during wins.

Did you see that?

It was a tough day for the New York Knicks. They lost by double digits to the Boston Celtics, but to make matters worse, Jalen Brunson got injured with only 21 seconds left in the blowout loss.


Extra Pass

The LA Lakers and the Indiana Pacers face off in the first NBA In-Season Tournament Finals. The team that wins the crown gets bragging rights as the first to do it, plus they get a nice cash prize to boot.

The most interesting thing to watch out for in this game is who sets the tone better, Tyrese Haliburton or LeBron James? Whoever can run their team better will most likely win the championship. Also, given that they’ve been the two best players in the entire tournament, whoever wins the crown will also win the MVP.

Haliburton will look to run and create opportunities for the Pacers before the Lakers can set up their defense. That’s been the play style of the Pacers all series long. They’re banking that their high-octane offense can put up more points than their opponents.

As for the Lakers, James will opt to run a more deliberate style of play and grind down the Pacers in the post. They have the size and length advantage. Expect James to continuously milk that advantage until this young Indiana team has no fight left in them.

The In-Season Tournament Finals is live at 9:30 AM on One Sports and NBA League Pass.