Game 1: Santa Cruz 121, Oklahoma City 120 | Wednesday 4/5 | Box Score
Game 2: Oklahoma City 131, Santa Cruz 117 | Saturday 4/8 | Box Score
Game 3: Oklahoma City 124, Santa Cruz 104 | Monday 4/10 | Box Score
Player of the Game: Daniel Hamilton — 30 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists
Player of the Game: Blue C Dakari Johnson — 29 points, 11 rebounds
Play of the Game: Blue C Dakari Johnson throws down fastbreak alley-oop
Player of the Game: Warriors G Jabari Brown — 36 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals
Play of the Game: Warriors G Jabari Brown beats 3rd Q buzzer from way downtown
Year 3 in Oklahoma City has been wildly successful for the Blue, who used three separate winning streaks of five games or more to surge to the top of the West. As always, the team’s close ties to the Thunder have fueled its success: head coach Mark Daigneault was an assistant under Billy Donovan at Florida, Thunder draft pick Dakari Johnson put together an MVP-caliber year in his sophomore season, and Thunder rookie Daniel Hamilton also impressed while spending the entire season with the Blue.
In Santa Cruz, the Warriors returned to their winning ways to make their fourth playoff appearance in five years since moving to the Bay Area. Hovering around .500, Santa Cruz shifted into gear after the All-Star break, reeling off 12 wins in 14 games to close the season. Late-season additions Jabari Brown, Cleanthony Early and James Southerland sparked the run, while point guard Phil Pressey and sharpshooter Scott Wood have shined all season.
Golden State first-round draft pick Damian Jones has developed rapidly for Santa Cruz and could be the X-factor if he remains on assignment.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
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MEET THE BLUE
NBA Affiliate: Oklahoma City Thunder
Regular Season Record: 34-16
Key Stat(s): The Blue posted the best Defensive Rating (100.3) and Net Rating (4.8) in the Western Conference during the regular season.
MEET THE WARRIORS
NBA Affiliate: Golden State Warriors
Regular Season Record: 31-19
Key Stat(s): Steve Kerr’s ball movement-based offense has been instilled in Santa Cruz, as well: The D-League Warriors led the league in assist percentage for the third straight season.