Stephen Curry scored 31 and David Lee had a double double as the Golden State Warriors defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-99. Both teams came into this game hot off a win against the Clippers, but it was the Warriors who squeaked by with a victory tonight, granting them the title of beating the NBA's two best teams in back to back games.
In a game that featured 16 ties and 19 lead changes, neither team was able to pull away, as the largest lead of the game was 8. The Thunder gave away the lead late in the game, but still had the opportunity to tie the game with 13 seconds left. In a play that perfectly illustrates how out of sync the Thunder were, Curry intercepted a Kevin Durant pass to a wide open Kendrick Perkins, sealing OKC's fate.
The Thunder, led by Kevin Durant with 33, become the last team in the NBA to 10 losses, still sit atop the West.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
Tonight was suppose to feature a battle between Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook, but only one of them appeared to show up tonight. Westbrook couldn't make a shot and Curry was scoring on him at will. As bad as the Thunder played as a whole, Westbrook appeared to anchor the team down and prevented any sort of momentum to build up. Russell finished the night shooting 3-16 from the field, but even that doesn't complete tell the story. At key points late in the game, Westbrook airballed a couple of shots, thre away a few passes, and even dribbled off his own foot.
Almost all of the Warriors offensive output came from 4 players, Curry, Lee, Klay Thompson(19), and Carl Landry (20). Combined they accounted for 91 of the Warriors 104 points, and 50 of their 52 second half points. Which is slowly becoming an issue for the Thunder, they're simply not able to stop their opponents best scorers from having great nights.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder lost?
Part of me wants to chalk this loss up to it being a second night in a tough back to back. The Thunder gave it all it could last night to defeat the Clippers, and seemingly didn't have anything in the tank left in the second half, which seemed to accumulate into a 20 point 4th quarter for the Thunder.
Another part of me wants to blame Westbrook. I seemingly point this out every time it occurs, but Kendrick Perkins had more points (12) than Westbrook. That should never happen. As much as I understand other players picking up the slack for when another player has an off night, if Perkins is the one that has to pick up the slack, OKC is in trouble.
What was a key statistic to understanding the game?
The Thunder shot 56% from the floor and 4-7 from 3 in the first half, compared to only 36% FG and 1-9 from beyond the arch in the second. A perfect illustration of how the Thunder may have just ran out of gas in the second half.
The Warriors also scored the Thunder on the fast break, 26-21. Which seems to indicate that the Thunder chose to pull up on some possession, again, perhaps due to fatigue.
What does this game mean to the Thunder tonight and going forward?
The Thunder have been able to bounce back extremely well this season. They are 8-1 on the year coming off a loss with an average margin of victory of over 11 points. While everyone knew this 6 game road trip was going to be tough, a 2-2 record so far has left a lot of people with a bitter taste in their mouth. If the Thunder are able to bounce back and come home with 2 victories, then I think we can call this road trip a success.
The Thunder get a night off before heading to Sacramento. With all the buzz surrounding the Kings moving to Seattle, all eyes will be focused on this soon-to-be rivalry.
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, 33 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds
Thunder Down Under: Kendrick Perkins, 12 points, 6 rebounds.
Thunder Blunder: Russell Westbrook, 10 points, 3-15 FGs, 0-4 3pt, 6 TOs
Thunder Plunderer: Stephen Curry, 29 points.
Next game: @ Sacramento Kings, on Friday Jan. 23 @ 9 pm CDT
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