Oklahoma City used a second quarter point barrage to separate themselves from the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night. Russell Westbrook had 30 points, and Kevin Durant had his first triple-double of the season as Oklahoma City won 119-109. The Thunder improved to 8-3 on the season, while pushing their home record to 5-2.
The Thunder got off to a pretty good offensive start for the second straight game against the Golden State Warriors Sunday night, highlighted by Westbrook’s 12 first quarter points. It was refreshing to see him get off to a good start, as that has not been the case in most of this early season’s games.
The defense started great as well, forcing some turnovers and tough shots. The Warriors bench had an answer though, sending rookie Draymond Green right at Kevin Martin. Martin’s smaller size made it tough for him to stick Green, allowing him to rack up nine points early. Combine that with a slow offensive start for Martin and the Thunder only led by one at the end of the first, 26-25.
The second quarter was all Thunder. Westbrook slowed down a bit, but Kevin Durant and Martin picked it up. By the end of the half, Westbrook would have 16 while Durant and Martin had 13 and 12 respectively. The trio also combined for 13 assists and just two turnovers. Durant also raked in 10 first half rebounds, as he continues to crash the boards efficiently. The Thunder went on a 5-0 run to end the half that included a Durant three and a nasty Westbrook dunk over Steph Curry, and headed into the locker room with a 13-point lead at halftime, 59-46. Perhaps best of all is that the Thunder had 18 assists on 22 makes in the half, and only committed five turnovers.
The third quarter was more of the same for the Thunder, as Westbrook and Durant especially continued to put points on the board, combining for 19 in the quarter. The Thunder won this quarter 35-28 and went into the fourth with a 21-point lead.
This was one of those games where nobody expected to see Westbrook and Durant after the third, but Golden State had something to say about that. They started the fourth quarter hot, getting easy scoring inside and open threes from the likes of Jarrett Jack and Curry. Coach Scott Brooks was forced to bring Durant and Westbrook back in. Golden State continued to score well, cutting the lead to as little as eight, but the Thunder’s offensive trio was too much to handle. The Thunder would hold on and come away with a 119-109 victory.
The offense was as good as it’s been all season, with the bulk of the scoring coming from Westbrook (30), Durant (25), Martin (23) and Serge Ibaka (16). Durant also came away with his first career triple double, adding 13 rebounds and 10 assists. These guys are continuing to get it done night in and night out. Westbrook finished with good shooting numbers, going 12 for 22, and he also added seven assists and five steals.
The team shot well from three, going 13 for 20, and the free throw line, sinking 22 of 26. Perhaps the most refreshing overall stat though: 31 assists to just 10 turnovers. When the assist and turnover gap is this big, there’s no reason the Thunder shouldn’t score like they did.
However, while the Thunder scored 119 points, they also allowed 109 points. The main defensive problem was scoring inside, with the Warriors racking up 58 points in the paint, coming from everyone from Jack to David Lee. The Thunder only had 3 blocked shots, which Ibaka normally contributes on his own. The team has got to do a better job of keeping opposing players out of the paint.
Another problem defensively was Kendrick Perkins guarding Curry. He did this for multiple possessions in the third quarter, and it was not very successful. This probably won’t be a regular occurrence, but why it occurred in the first place is a complete mystery. Overall Golden State actually outshot the Thunder, 52 percent to 50 percent, but the Thunder’s threes and free throws made a significant difference.
Above all, this was a solid win for the Thunder. If the offense can click like this consistently, and the defense can make a few tweaks, this team can be as dangerous as ever.
Keys to the Game
As previously mentioned, the Thunder had just 10 turnovers, about seven below the season average. By limiting costly turnovers the team kept Golden State from getting out and transition too much. The Warriors finished with just 12 fast break points to the Thunder’s 26.
The Thunder were able to control the tempo for the bulk of this game, excluding the first half of the fourth quarter when they let the Warriors climb back into it. The Thunder’s ball movement and lack of turnovers definitely helped them control the flow of the game, and they were able to keep Golden State from getting out in the break too
Three Ball: A+
Threes were falling again for the Thunder tonight, and the team was able to knock down 13 of 20 attempts. Durant, Martin and Westbrook were a combined 10 of 14 from beyond the arc. K-Mart continues to float above 50 percent from three on the season, and it will really benefit this Thunder squad if he can keep that up.