OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The Santa Cruz Warriors fell to the Oklahoma City Blue 124-104 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals Monday night at Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. With the loss, Santa Cruz was eliminated from the postseason after dropping the best-of-three series 2-1 to the top-seeded Blue.
The Warriors were led by Jabari Brown, who scored a game-high-tying 30 points off the bench on 12-of-20 (.600) shooting from the floor. James Southerland and Golden State Warriors assignee Damian Jones each notched double-doubles, with Southerland tallying 21 points and 11 rebounds and Jones posting 17 points and a game-high-tying 12 boards.
Daniel Hamilton recorded 30 points, 12 rebounds and six assists to pace the Blue, while Dakari Johnson also notched a double-double for Oklahoma City with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Dez Wells scored 21 points off the bench, while Oklahoma City Thunder assignee Josh Huestis added 20 points in a starting role.
The Warriors hit 10 of their first 11 shots and took a 27-11 lead with 5:43 remaining in the first quarter, finishing the frame leading 40-29 after Mychel Thompson hit a three-pointer to beat the buzzer. Santa Cruz led by as many as 14 points in the second frame, but the Blue ended the half on a 17-2 run to take a 64-60 lead at intermission. The game was tied 96-96 with 7:04 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Oklahoma City outscored Santa Cruz 28-8 in the remaining minutes to earn the victory.
The Blue outshot the Warriors 54.9 percent to 43.0 percent from the field, while also outrebounding the Warriors 47-44 and amassing more steals (11-10). Santa Cruz out-assisted the Blue 27-24, while each team blocked six shots.
The Warriors wrapped up their fifth season in Santa Cruz with a 31-19 (.620) regular-season record, earning their fourth playoff appearance. Santa Cruz helped develop Golden State assignment players Damian Jones, Kevon Looney and Patrick McCaw over the course of the season, while Dennis Clifford was named an NBA D-League All-Star. Jones earned Player of the Month honors and Head Coach Casey Hill was named Coach of the Month, and Missouri teammates Phil Pressey and Jabari Brown each earned D-League Performer of the Week honors throughout the season.