He may be only two games in, but Golden State’s early struggles have clearly gotten to D’Angelo Russell.
Russell was ejected in the third quarter of the Warriors’ 120-92 blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday afternoon at Chesapeake Energy Arena after aggressively trying to advocate for a foul call despite draining a floater midway through the period.
With the Warriors down more than 30 points in the third quarter, Russell made a floater over Thunder guard Chris Paul in the lane. Though Paul made minimal contact, if any, Russell ended up falling to the floor as the ball went through the net.
Almost instantly, Russell got right up in referee James Williams’ face, upset a foul wasn’t called.
Williams quickly hit him with a technical foul, and then a second when Russell didn’t back down — ejecting him from the game.
Russell, who dropped 20 points in the Warriors’ season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, finished with just six points when he was ejected on Sunday.
Steve Kerr unbothered by the D’Angelo Russell ejection: “I can’t lecture anyone on keeping their composure.” pic.twitter.com/j68jO3S0MS— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 27, 2019
“There’s frustration all around,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, via Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “I get frustrated with officials. I can’t lecture anybody on keeping composure. That would be ironic. Stuff happens. We have another game tomorrow, and we’ll bounce back.”
The Thunder led the contest from the jump, mounting a massive 33-point lead at halftime — which marked Golden State’s largest halftime deficit since 1997. Fittingly, that deficit in 1997 was against the Seattle Supersonics, who became the Thunder upon moving to Oklahoma City in 2008.
The Warriors simply couldn’t get going on Sunday. They shot a measly 32.6 percent from the field and went just 5 of 33 from the 3-point line. Led by 22 points and eight rebounds off the bench from Dennis Schroder, the Thunder took full advantage, picking up their first win of the season. Danilo Gallinari was right behind Schroder with 21 points, shooting 4 of 9 from behind the arc, and Shai Gilgeous Alexander added 19 points and nine rebounds.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 23 points and eight rebounds. Draymond Green, Marquese Chriss and Eric Paschall each finished with 10 points, marking the only Golden State players to hit double figures.
If Russell’s reaction in the third quarter is any indication, it’s clear that frustration in the Bay Area is rising — fast.
While that’s understandable, given the immense success the Warriors have had in recent years, Kerr isn’t too concerned about their new struggles just yet.
“It’s two games into the season,” Kerr said. “As I said, we don’t have a sense of who we are as a team yet. We haven’t established much. We’re playing without centers, and we’re playing with nine new players. I realize I’m making plenty of excuses, but they’re real. We had just an incredible amount of roster turnover and lost guys who had years and years of service in this league and institutional knowledge. We have to build that back up with these young guys, and it takes time. This is not easy.”
Steve Kerr has been ramping down expectations and warning of what will likely be a jarring new reality for the rebuilding Warriors this season: “I realize I’m making plenty of excuses. But they’re real.” pic.twitter.com/04GpDXldNk— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 27, 2019
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