Durant scores 34 to help Warriors top Thunder
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) The standings indicated Golden State had nothing to play for Tuesday night.
The Warriors‘ effort and performance said otherwise.
The Warriors entered the night locked into the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference standings, but they still wanted to beat a rival that had taken two of the first three meetings this season. Golden State won despite guard Stephen Curry missing his sixth straight game with a left MCL sprain. Guard Andre Iguodala missed the game with left knee soreness and Shaun Livingston was out for personal reasons.
”It was a great win, short-handed and on the road against a good team fighting for playoff position,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ”It’s a hell of a win, especially without all our guards.”
Russell Westbrook had 44 points and 16 rebounds. He made 15 of 26 field goals and 11 of 12 free throws and had six assists. The Thunder were disappointed that they couldn’t support Westbrook’s dynamic performance.
”He was great,” said Paul George, who scored 20 points. ”He was great. He took it to another level – a level that those guys didn’t have an answer for. Again, it’s frustrating when we see that, we notice that and we can’t help him by making shots and putting the ball in the basket.”
Klay Thompson scored 20 points for the Warriors and the bench scored 38 points on 18-for-26 shooting. They helped make up for Durant’s 2-for-13 shooting in the second half.
”Just was trying to win,”’ Durant said. ”I know my shot wasn’t falling and I was definitely frustrated by that, but just had to keep playing and just keep trying to run basketball plays each possession and cheer my guys on and encourage the team.”
Oklahoma City fell to sixth in the Western Conference standings.
”We’re not worried about that,” Westbrook said. ”We’re just going to take one game at a time. We’ll be here in the postseason, ready to go.”
Golden State led 107-103 when a steal by Westbrook led to a dunk by Corey Brewer with 20 seconds left. Quinn Cook made two free throws at the other end with 18 seconds to play.
Westbrook quickly scored a layup to cut Golden State’s lead to 109-107, but Draymond Green went to the line with 10 seconds left and made two free throws for the Warriors to put the game out of reach.
Durant scored 15 points in the first quarter, then added nine in the second to help the Warriors take a 57-47 advantage at the break. Westbrook scored 18 in the first half to help the Thunder stay in the game.
Oklahoma City closed the gap, and a mid-range jumper by Westbrook tied the score at 76. A 3-pointer by Westbrook put the Thunder up 81-80. Westbrook scored 17 points in the third, but the Warriors rallied and took an 84-81 lead into the fourth.
Warriors: Shot 54 percent in the first half. … Made just 8 of 29 3-pointers. … Green scored just 5 points and was 0 for 4 from the field.
Thunder: The crowd recognized assistant coach Maurice Cheeks for being chosen for entry into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. … C Steven Adams was issued a technical foul for arguing a travel early in the third quarter. … Outrebounded the Warriors 58-40. … F Carmelo Anthony scored 12 points on 4 for 16 shooting. … Brewer had five steals.
AS GEORGE GOES
George is a combined 6 for 33 from the field in his last two games against the Warriors, both losses. He made 19 of 42 shots in Oklahoma City’s two wins over the Warriors.
In this game, George was 3 for 5 in the first quarter and 2 for 14 the rest of the way.
”I don’t know what it is,” he said. ”It feels funny. Shooting the ball feels funny. So I’m going to work with our trainers and try to figure that out. But I don’t feel myself shooting the ball right now.”
Warriors play at the Indiana Pacers on Thursday.
Thunder play at the Houston Rockets on Saturday.
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