The Oklahoma City Thunder cemented their place at the top of the Western Conference with a win against their number one contender, carrying on with their California tour, arriving to play against the Golden State Warriors, starting to feel good about themselves again.
The best team in the NBA is only decided when the season is over and someone lifts that golden trophy over their heads, but as of now, the Thunder, with a 33-9 record, losing only once in their last 8 games and even that one came in overtime and by 3 points, are the team to beat out West.
Kevin Durant is leading the NBA in scoring with 29.5 points per game, scoring at least 32 points in six of his last seven games and averaging 36.7 points in them, including 52 points against the Dallas Mavericks. There isn’t anything new to the Thunder’s offense – same simple screens or iso moves, but they’re (along with Russell Westbrook) are just so talented and often unstoppable, that not having the most complicated of systems doesn’t matter. The addition of Kevin Martin, averaging 15 points per game this season, has been really helpful, along with the improvement of Serge Ibaka on the offensive end.
The Golden State Warriors are back on track after two wins, including the Clippers two days ago, 106-99. The big news is the excellent form Stephen Curry is in at the moment, averaging 24 points in both wins after missing two games and generally having a pretty big January, averaging 23.4 points and 7 assists per game.
The last time these two teams met was on November 8 in Oklahoma, with the Thunder winning 119 109. Durant, Westbrook and Martin combined to score 78 points, making 65% of their three point attempts.
Predictions – The Thunder are the better team with the better defense, where the real difference between this teams comes to light. If they can get over the miles and time away from home they’re carrying on this road trip, there should be enough offense to come through with a win. The Warriors need the kind of game and shooting night from both Curry, Thompson and Jarrett Jack to pull off the upset.