The Golden State Warriors blew the Oklahoma City Thunder out 121-100 behind Kevin Durant’s season-high 40 points.
Before the game, Kevin Durant admitted that the matchups against the Oklahoma City Thunder will always be emotional. His season-high in points came in their first matchup of the year, when he dropped 39 points against his former team. Durant topped that tonight.
He scored 40 points effortlessly. He made 13/16 shots and 4/5 from beyond the arc. Two of his misses were a wide open dunk and a half court heave at the end of the half. It was an extremely efficient night for one of the league’s best scorers.
His night didn’t start off well as his first two passes were picked off by the Thunder. He settled down and took care of the ball from that point forward. He finished with just two turnovers.
His former All-Star teammate wasn’t able to take care of the ball as well as Durant did. Russell Westbrook finished with a quadruple-double…sort of. He had 27 points, 15 rebounds, and 13 assists. He also had 10 turnovers and shot 34 percent from the field and 16 percent from three.
The battle between Durant and Westbrook was and always will be the storyline when they play each other. In the third quarter, they gave us a little of what we wanted. The two stars went back-and-forth for a few possessions, trying to outdo each other.
At one point, Westbrook threw down a huge dunk and Durant answered with a beautiful pull up three. They matched up with each other a few times, but rarely attacked each other. Durant did once and crossed his old running mate over and drew a foul when the help came. Following that, the two exchanged words as Durant walked to the free throw ine.
Durant chose to leave that MVP candidate for the two-time MVP who continued his stretch of good play tonight. Steph Curry had 24 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals. He picked his spots and picked the Thunder defense apart with some nifty finishes around the rim.
The Thunder hung around early on. They led after the first quarter and were tied with Golden State at the half. Ultimately, the Warriors’ talent proved to be too much for Oklahoma City. Durant and co. scored 37 in the third quarter and blew the game open en route to a 121-100 victory.
There was some drama, as there always seems to be in Warriors games these days. With time winding down at the end of the second quarter, Westbrook looked to hold the ball for the last shot. Enes Kanter stepped up to set a screen. Zaza Pachulia tried to block the point guard’s path, but came in a little too hot and hit Westbrook pretty hard.
The Thunder star laid on the ground (near where LeBron James did a few days earlier) as the officials took a look at it. Pachulia was assessed a flagrant foul, the Warriors’ second in as many games. Pachulia seemed to be fine with the contact as he stood over Westbrook’s body and stared down at him, almost like the late great Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston.
Golden State didn’t seem all that engaged early on. When they play inferior teams, they often get lazy and play down to their level. Lucky for them, they can turn it on almost at will and put it on OKC in the second half.
The Warriors will be tested on Friday as they travel to Houston to take on James Harden and the Rockets. Golden State lost to them in double overtime in Oracle Arena earlier in the season. Houston might be their scariest Western Conference opponent and they’ll look to avenge their loss.