Thunder-Warriors Preview

While there's two weeks of hype before the Super Bowl, more than a week of build-up for an NBA regular-season game is rare.

That's the unusual case Saturday night, because a relatively innocuous comment by MVP Stephen Curry has added some spice to the Golden State Warriors' first matchup of the season against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Curry and Russell Westbrook each turned in huge efforts before their first meeting of the season in the second-most anticipated sporting event in the Bay Area this weekend, with the Warriors seeking a 41st straight regular-season home win.

Golden State (45-4) matched the 40-game home streak in the regular season by Orlando from March 21, 1995-March 19, 1996 in its last home game, routing Dallas 127-107 on Jan. 27. The only longer such streak was 44 by Chicago from March 30, 1995-April 4, 1996.

The next day, the Charlotte-born Curry was asked about Super Bowl weekend in the Bay Area and if the huge Carolina Panthers fan planned to attend the game against the Denver Broncos one day after this contest. He said he would.

“It'll be a good 48 hours, a win and a win,” Curry said.

The day after that, reporters at Oklahoma City's practice asked the Thunder (38-13) for their reaction.

Westbrook rolled his eyes and said, “Anybody else got any other questions?”

Kevin Durant responded, “I don't pay attention to (stuff) like that.”

There will be even more intrigue for this game with rumors swirling that Durant might join Golden State as a free agent this summer.

“Who knows what will happen?” Curry said. “Where he'll ends up only Kevin knows that.”

These teams haven't played since Wednesday, when Curry, Westbrook and Durant showcased their star power.

Curry matched a career high with 11 3-pointers and scored 51 in Wednesday's 134-121 victory at Washington, one day before he and the Warriors met with President Obama.

Durant's 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left was the winner in a 117-114 home victory over the Magic. Westbrook posted his third straight triple-double and 27th of his career with 24 points, a career-high 19 rebounds and 14 assists.

Curry leads the NBA with 29.8 points per game with Durant third at 27.4. The Oklahoma City leading scorer has felt slighted with the attention showered on Golden State and San Antonio this season, although he insists his focus is on his club, which is in third place in the Western Conference.

“We've still got to play the games at the end of the day,” Durant said. “It's not like they're canceling our games, they're not talking about us in the media, we've still got to play our games.”

These teams go into the weekend ranking as the two best in points per 100 possessions, with Golden State at 113.2 and Oklahoma City at 110.0. The difference is while the Warriors average a league-best 20.7 assists per 100 possessions, the Thunder are at 16.5 due to the isolation talents of Durant and Westbrook.

That's a notion at which the Thunder bristle.

“My teammates and myself, we've been doing a great job of locking in on each other and how we can be better and areas we can improve in,” Durant said.

The Warriors are scoring 123.0 points during their eight-game win streak. Klay Thompson has averaged 33.8 points and 60.2 percent shooting in his last four.

The Thunder are also red hot as winners of 12 of 13. They're averaging 120.2 points in a five-game win streak.

This is the first of three meetings this season after Golden State took three of four in 2014-15.