Thunder final score: Thunder beat Warriors, take control of West, 116-97.

W. Bennet Better

OKC moves 1/2 game ahead of the Spurs behind Durant's 31 point night.

Box Score

Kevin Durant had 31 and Kevin Martin scored 23 as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Golden State Warriors 116-97.

The game puts the Thunder a 1/2 game ahead of the Spurs with 3 remaining, and all but seals the Northwest division for OKC.

After a closely contested first half, the Thunder went on a run to end the second quarter capped by a Thabo Sefalosha then drained a 3 at the buzzer to take a 6 point lead at the half. The Thunder then pulled away in the third quarter, holding the Warriors to 39% FG while shooting 61%, expanding the lead to 96-77 entering the final quarter.

Westbrook added 18 points and 9 assists, and Serge Ibaka had 17 for Oklahoma City. The Warriors were led by Stephen Curry with 22, and Jarrett Jack with 19.

What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?

The Thunder rolled past the Warriors in the second half, creating a highlight reel in the process. Westbrook and Durant teamed up for a block and dunk (video below), and Kevin Martin had a dunk that I wasn't even sure he was capable of until tonight.


From a game standpoint, OKC was able to frustrate the Warriors defensively, and Golden State simple had no answers for the Thunder, allowing 5 OKC players in double figures, 4 of them to shoot over 50%

However, not all is lost for Warriors' fans. Oakland may have found a new QB/WR combo in Jarrett Jack and a random fan.

Jackheave_medium

What does this game tell us about the playoffs?

The Thunder might face the Warriors in a potential first round match-up. This would probably be the most preference match up for the Thunder out of the possibilities that still remain. David Lee could not defend Serge Ibaka, Klay Thompson was slowed down defensively, and Kevin Durant would've gotten a triple double had the game been any closer.

The Warriors run a similar defense to Memphis against the Thunder, with the high traps and double teams. Despite the Thunder's performance tonight, they weren't able to deal with trap particularly well, often settling for a contested shot, rather than finding the open man. If OKC faces the Warriors in the playoffs this will be something OKC has to improve upon.

What does this game mean to the Thunder tonight and going forward?

The Thunder can clinch the division with a win over Portland tomorrow or a Denver loss tomorrow. OKC pretty much has the division locked up and it would take a monumental collapse to lose it. More importantly, tonight means the Thunder are a 1/2 game up ahead of the Spurs for homecourt in the Western conference. Tomorrow night both teams are in action, which will tell us a lot going forward.




***

Dara's Awards

Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, 31 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists.

Thunder Down Under: Serge Ibaka 17 points, 7 rebounds.

Thunder Blunder: none

Thunder Plunderer: Stephen Curry, 22 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds.

***

Next game: @ Portland Trail Blazers, on Friday, April 12 @ 9:00 pm CT

If you are looking for tickets to upcoming games, you can find Oklahoma City Thunder tickets here.

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