Thunder 119, Warriors 109Player of the game: Kevin Durant had a triple-double with 25 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists and Oklahoma City stayed comfortably ahead for most of the second half.Key stretch: The Thunder was in control most of the night, and always strung a few buckets together when it needed to. The last time Oklahoma City did that was in the fourth quarter after the Warriors had come back to within 105-98.But the Thunder (8-3) scored on four of their next five possessions, and next thing you know OKC was back up 115-102 with three minutes remaining.Durant had a couple of 3-pointers in that stretch to keep Oklahoma City in charge.Where Warriors are: The loss, Golden States seventh in a row in Oklahoma City, dropped the Warriors to 5-5 on the season overall, and theyre 1-1 on their current three-game road trip. The trip ends on Monday in Dallas.The Warriors beat the Timberwolves in Minnesota on Friday.Curry-Westbrook matchup: In a point guard matchup between young and upcoming players, Stephen Curry struggled against Westbrook.Curry was 2-for-8 from the field in the first half, while Westbrook made 7-of-13.Curry did have a nice stretch in the fourth quarter, helping the Warriors during a run, but Westbrook was the more consistent player for nearly all of the game. Westbrook finished with 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting seven assists, five steals and just one turnover.Curry had 22 points on 9-for-17 from the field and six assists and two turnovers. Its not that Curry played badly. He didnt. Its just that Westbrook was the more impactful player.Hung in early: The Warriors got down seven a few times in the first quarter, once when they were trailing 20-13. But from then on, and into the midway part of the second quarter, the Warriors were right there with the Thunder.But after the Warriors pulled within two at 38-36, Oklahoma City went on a 12-2 run, with buckets from multiple players, to take control.The Thunder went into halftime up 59-46. Westbrook, Durant and Martin, who finished with 23 points in 31 minutes, carried Oklahoma City in the first half. Westbrook had 16 points, four assists and three steals, and had Stephen Curry on his heels most of the half.Curry was 2-for-8 at halftime, for five points, two turnovers and an assist.Durant had 13 points in the half and Martin 12 at halftime. The Warriors starters struggled against the Thunders starters, but rookies Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green did some nice things.
After sending four players to the NBA All-Star Game last season in New Orleans, the Warriors are halfway to repeating the feat this season.
Point guard Stephen Curry and small forward Kevin Durant were voted in as Western Conference starters for the game scheduled for Feb. 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the NBA announced on Thursday.
Though Curry has missed 15 games -- nearly one-third of the season -- it has not hurt his popularity; His No. 30 is the NBA’s best-selling jersey for the third straight season. He is averaging team-leading 27.7 points, 6.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds, and 1.65 steals per game.
Curry is the first member of the Warriors to be named a starter for five consecutive All-Star games. As the player with the most fan votes, Curry becomes a captain and is in position to select the members of his team.
Durant, who has missed eight games this season, was named as a starter for the sixth time, the first four coming when he was a member of the Thunder.
Durant is averaging 26.2 points (fifth in the league) 6.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.05 blocks (fourth in the league) per game.
The Golden State Warriors celebrated their first championship in 40 years by being condemned as “lucky” because they stayed healthy when most of their competitors did not. They missed 34 man-games to injury and/or rest, fewer than any other contender by a significant amount, and this was cited as one of the ways that the Warriors didn’t actually win the title as the other training rooms lost them.
This is, of course, idiocy of the first magnitude, As we have lectured before, “luck” of this kind is like any other form of luck – it is to be welcomed, no matter how much it may offend people who prefer their sports to be conceptual rather than real.
Put another way, there are no asterisks on the trophy in Joe Lacob’s foyer.
That argument cannot be made this year – well, it can, but not if you want to be correct.
Jordan Bell’s ankle issue is the latest annoyance in a season of them, and the Warriors’ core rotational players have missed a higher percentage of games this year than in any of the other three (15 percent, rather than five in 2015, eight in 2016 and 10 in 2017).
What this means is that their superior depth is being challenged as never before, but that’s really all it means. They endure the loss of one of their main players quite well, in fact. Without Stephen Curry, they are 12-3, 14-4 over the past two seasons and 20-6 through three; without Kevin Durant, 7-1 this year 25-5 over the last two; without Draymond Green, 7-0, 12-1. Only Klay Thompson (0-1 this year, 1-3 last year, 6-6 since 2015) seems to bother them.
That’s 52-16 without at least one member of the Gang of Four.
But it does mean few minutes and games off for Andre Iguodala and David West and Shaun Livingston, and more minutes than ever for Kevon Looney. It plays a bit of mischief with Steve Kerr’s rotations, but he’s an adult and has an army of fellow thinkers to make any required adjustments.
In short, waste no worry, pity or scorn on them. They remain relentlessly unmoved by misfortune or pain.
But at least this year, they’re having some of each, if only to silence those who still want to think, if only for their own amusement, that things have been improperly easy for them.