The Golden State Warriors led by Stephen Curry beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 114-109, as Kevin Durant played huge in the first half before a scary ankle injury took him out. Russell Westbrook carried the torch, but it wasn’t enough on his inferior team.
Kevin Durant scored 16 points in the first quarter, and combined to score 25 points along with Russell Westbrook out of the Thunder’s 27 in the first. Durant ended up scoring 30 points in just under 19 minutes, making him the first since the NBA-ABA merger with 30 points in under 20 minutes. The Thunder scored 55 points in his 18:44 on the floor, and only 54 in the 29:16 when he wasn’t playing for them.
Westbrook put the Thunder one point ahead (105-104) with 2:45 left in the game, but the 11-2 run the Thunder were on couldn’t withstand the shooting of Stephen Curry in the final minutes, scoring eight of the final 10 points to help the Warriors pull away and get their five point win against an opponent that has gotten used to playing without one or even two of its best players. Westbrook scored 33 points but was only 11-of-30 from the field and turned the ball over six times.
Curry scored 34 points to go with 7 rebounds, 9 assists and 4 steals in a game that both teams seemed to be playing H.O.R.S.E with each other. The shots the mentioned trio were making weren’t as a result of great ball movement or team play. It was simply extraordinary shot making, the fool’s gold of the NBA, and something that Steve Kerr has been trying to change about his team, while Scott Brooks knows is his only advantage over others.
Curry scored 28 of his points on half court sets and was 6-of-14 on contested shots. Compared to missing all of those nine attempts in the loss to the Grizzlies, it was a very successful night. He finished with 11 points in the fourth quarter, hitting five 3-pointers along the way in the entire game. This game was always going to be about superstars going at each other and while we never got to see an ending with Durant, Curry more than held his own against a point guard most usually refer to as his superior.
This was only the second time the Thunder lost a game this season in which Durant played, and are now 7-2 since his return, their seven-game winning streak ending. According to reports, he is on a day-to-day so there isn’t too much to worry about. Like other teams in this league but probably more than anyone else and especially unlike the very deep and solid all-around Warriors, the Thunder are very fragile when it comes to an injury to one of their stars.
They already have a lot of wins and games to make up because of what he and Westbrook have missed. This injury and loss only sets them back even further. For the Warriors, it shows that defense will continue to be an issue as long as Bogut isn’t playing, but their bench and the incredible development of Draymond Green is just another thing to keep in mind when watching their advancment. It also never hurts to have Stephen Curry reaching superstar levels on almost an nightly basis.