Call it a post playoff-clinching hangover or whatever your theory may be, but the Golden State Warriors were blown out by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night–plain and simple.
Kevin Durant’s 31 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists led the Thunder to a 116-97 win. The other Kevin–Kevin Martin–had 23 points off the bench on 8-for-10 shooting.
The final score can be considered somewhat of a surprise because the Warriors didn’t start out struggling. They trailed the Thunder 31-27 after the first quarter, but they weren’t overwhelming over-matched. Andrew Bogut left at the nine minute mark with a sprained left ankle, which is partially why Serge Ibaka scored 13 points in the first quarter and 17 for the game.
Russell Westbrook slithered his way into the paint to score a quarter-ending layup. Still, he fired up nine first quarter shots and made only three of them. But his penetration, along with Kevin Durant’s penetration, created easy buckets for Ibaka, and eventually Martin.
The game remained close through the second quarter. Oklahoma outscored Golden State by just two points, 29-27, in the quarter despite ending the quarter on an 11-5 run thanks to Thabo Sefolosha’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer that was assisted by Durant.
The Thunder broke away at the very beginning of the third quarter. Sefolosha hit back-t0-back 3-pointers to fuel a 9-2 run, which raised the score to 69-56. Golden State battled back towards the end of the third quarter, but the Thunder squandered their temporary hopes of getting back into the game by mustering a 12-5 run that put them on top by 19 points after three quarters.
Durant’s 14 third quarter points combined with Martin’s seven points was enough for the Thunder to secure a win.
Despite turning the ball over 18 times, the Thunder seemed to have a step up on the Warriors. They scored six more points in transition, and their penetration proved to be the difference. Then, when Martin shoots 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, the Warriors couldn’t stop Oklahoma City.
– Bogut won’t get an X-ray on his left ankle. It should be noted that it’s the same ankle he had surgerically repaired.
– The Warriors now hold a mere half game lead over the Rockets for the No.6 seed in the Western Conference.