No team in the NBA has had more success at home this season than the Golden State Warriors, a reality the Oklahoma City Thunder have already experienced firsthand.
Looking to continue their remarkable offensive output of late, the Warriors try for a third win in as many tries against the Thunder on Monday night.
After dropping consecutive games to the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, the Warriors (26-5) have returned to Oakland to win three straight. They are a league-best 13-1 at home, most recently knocking off Toronto 126-105 on Friday to make it 11 straight at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors have topped the 120-point mark in three of their last four at home, where they’re averaging 113.4 points.
"Our confidence is hot no matter who we play," Stephen Curry said following Friday’s victory. "Even the last two games, handling (Minnesota and Philadelphia), doing the things we’re supposed to do and winning the games we’re supposed to win, it sends the same message. We’re serious about winning and we’re serious about getting better every night."
Curry hit 10 of 18 shots for 32 points against Toronto, and has shot 50 percent or better from the field in each of Golden State’s last three wins. He’s paced an offense that has shot 41.7 percent from 3-point range and outscored its three opponents by an average of 24.7 points since the Christmas loss to the Clippers.
Marreese Speights had 23 off the bench against the 76ers and 26 against the Raptors, and he was even better in the Warriors’ first meeting with Oklahoma City (17-17). Speights had a season-high 28 in that one, helping Golden State overcome 11-for-36 shooting from Curry and Klay Thompson in a 91-86 road win Nov. 23.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook weren’t healthy for that meeting, but they were back in the lineup Dec. 18 at Oracle. Durant had 30 points on 10-of-13 shooting in fewer than 19 minutes before leaving with a sprained ankle – that injury cost him six additional games – and Golden State rallied for a 114-109 victory behind Curry’s 34 points and nine assists.
Since returning, Durant has been exceptional. He scored 44 in Wednesday’s victory over Phoenix and followed with 34 points in a 109-102 win Friday against Washington as the Thunder improved to 9-2 with Durant in the lineup.
”That’s what he does,” Westbrook said. ”Nobody’s surprised. He’s not surprising himself. He prepared himself well to get back to where he is, and back to where he left off.”
Durant has picked up the slack while Westbrook has shot just 32.2 percent over his last three games, but the Thunder were left pointing to their defensive effort at the end against the Wizards. After giving up at least 29 in all four regulation periods against the Suns and 57 in the first half against Washington, Oklahoma City picked it up in the final 12 minutes Friday.
"We held them to 20 points scored in the fourth," Durant told the Thunder’s official website. "That’s what we want to do. That’s an ideal quarter for us as far as defense is concerned, then we made plays down the stretch offensively."
The last time Durant made it through a 48-minute game against Golden State, it was his offense that was the story. He had a career-high 54 points in a 127-121 home win Jan. 17 with Westbrook out.