The Oklahoma City Thunder ran out to an early 9-0 lead against the Golden State Warriors before a huge run by the defending champions saw the Thunder down by as much as 20 points in the first half. OKC eventually tied the game up late in a furious comeback effort but wound up coming up short 116-108 in a great game.
The Thunder were the last of NBA’s elite teams to face the Warriors on their chase of history, and this game had all the hype surrounding it imaginable for a mid-February game. Steph Curry had publicly predicted a win for the Warriors a week prior, and Russell Westbrook downplayed the significance of the game even before tip-off.
Basketball-wise, it was a back-and-forth game between the two clubs. OKC raced out to the early lead, then fell behind big still in the first half, and had their comeback effort cut short by some solid Warriors execution in the closing minutes coupled with questionable Thunder shot attempts.
Kevin Durant had a great game for the Thunder scoring a solid 40 points on just 25 shots and coupling that with 14 rebounds. Russell Westbrook also played well going off for 27 points and 12 assists while keeping Stephen Curry in check.
Curry would finish with 26 points and 10 assists, but he struggled with efficiency shooting just 10-26 on the night.
Enes Kanter was a big topic of discussion prior to the game as many questioned his “playability” in this game due to the Warriors small-ball tendencies. Kanter put those questions to bed as he was great in his 20 minutes of court action. Kanter piled up 14 points and 15 rebounds and while he struggled defensively in the first half and versus the Warriors “Death Star” lineup in the fourth, Donovan seemed to find a defensive fit with him guarding either Shaun Livingston or Andre Iguodala at times.
A key matchup that went the Warriors way in large was the four spot. Draymond Green dominated Ibaka on the glass (14 rebounds to three) and rendered him an extra man on offense. Because of Green’s defensive ability Westbrook was forced to run pick and rolls with only OKC’s other bigs as Ibaka remained on the other side in a spot-up position.
The loss puts the Thunder at 38-14 on the season and they will next play Monday versus the Phoenix Suns. OKC’s next matchup with the Warriors will come at home on February the 27th.
- Cameron Payne struggled mightily in this one scoring just 3 points on 1-7 shooting
- Andre Roberson remains out with injury and Dion Waiters again was the stating shooting guard
- OKC defended the three point line very well as the Warriors shot 27% from distance and only scored 7 threes