Santa Cruz Warriors fall to Oklahoma City Blue in record setting night

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Updated: February 15, 2017

Though the Santa Cruz Warriors fell to the Oklahoma City Blue 105-96 on Sunday night, there was plenty to celebrate.

Oracle Arena, the home of the Golden State Warriors, was hit with a taste of the D-League Sunday in front of an NBADL record crowd of 17,497 fans. An incredible spectacle to say the least, It was different, yet familiar. The experience was that of an NBA game, with the fireworks and pageantry, but the names might have been different for just one night.

“It was awesome,” Santa Cruz Warriors head coach Casey Hill said of the atmosphere on Sunday, “It was just like a Golden State home game.”

It wasn’t the usual suspects. No Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, or Draymond Green. It was time for Cam Jones, LaDontae Henton, Terrence Drisdom, and Scott Wood to shine. It was their spotlight, if only for one night on the stage with the bright lights in front of a raucous crowd ready to cheer them on.

No Facebook Live for Santa Cruz (18-15) on this night, but Comcast Sports Net Bay Area, the home for Golden State’s games took over broadcasting duties.

This was not a D-League game dressed up as an NBA game though. This was the Warriors’ synergy at work. Everything¬†should¬†feel the same between both places. While the roar of the crowd might rate higher in the decibels, the passion remains the same between Surf City and Oakland.

Even the wild shots being made were in sync. Scott Wood, doing his best Steph Curry impression, hit a half-court buzzer beater to give Santa Cruz a 51-41 lead heading into the locker room at halftime. The Splash Brother from another mother finished with 12 points on the night, all by way three-pointers.

Wood, who is second in the D-League in made three-pointers this season, will participate in the D-League All-Star Three-Point Shootout in New Orleans this Saturday. How does one prepare for such an event?

“You don’t,” Wood smiled.

A lack of energy is where the Warriors faltered according to Hill, noting complacency coming out in the second half was the difference for Santa Cruz.

“It was very obvious we had played the night before,” Hill said, “It wasn’t very obvious (Oklahoma City) hadn’t played the night before.”

Southerland scored 18 points in the first half for Santa Cruz, 12 in the second quarter alone by way of four three-pointers. He finished the game with 20 points to pace the Warriors. Phil Pressey notched a double-double for the Warriors with 10 points and 10 assists in the loss.

It was a homecoming of sorts for Blue (25-11) guard, Reggie Williams. The 30-year old is all too familiar with Oracle Arena, having earned his first career NBA call-up from the D-League courtesy of Golden State during the 2009-10 season.

Williams led all scorers with 22 points while shooting 50% from the floor.

Meanwhile, Dakari Johnson helped the Blue outscore the Warriors in the paint 58-38.

A 40-point third quarter from the Blue put them right back in the game, however. They would end the third on a 9-2 run to take an 81-74 lead into the fourth quarter.

A late three-pointer from Henton pulled Santa Cruz within three points, but the Warriors could not capitalize as the Blue closed out late with an offensive rebound, forcing Santa Cruz to foul late.

Despite the missed opportunity to pull out the victory in front of a record crowd, the little team from Santa Cruz had the chance to shine, and let fans unfamiliar with the D-League, get a glimpse of life as G0lden State’s younger sibling.

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