Notebook: Warriors 104, Thunder 99



Posted Jan 24, 2013 2:16 AM

Geoff Lepper, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Golden State point guard Stephen Curry capped the first half of his season with an All-Star caliber performance, dropping 31 points and securing a critical steal in the closing seconds as the Warriors held off the league-leading Oklahoma City Thunder 104-99 Wednesday.

Deserted by his usually reliable 3-point stroke, Curry went 8-for-13 from inside the arc, adding seven assists as the Warriors moved to 26-15 at the halfway point of their season. That's the franchise's best first-half record since 1991-92, a run capped by home wins against the Clippers and Thunder -- owners of two of the league's top three records.

David Lee, Golden State's other contender for inclusion among the Western Conference All-Star reserves, provided 22 points and 12 rebounds for his league-leading 17th game of at least 20 and 10 in those categories.

Kevin Durant finished with 33 points and nine assists, but his impact was blunted by six turnovers, part of 19 on the night for the Thunder, who had won their last five games against the Warriors. Point guard Russell Westbrook also coughed the ball up six times, and compounded that with a 3-for-16 shooting night, leading to a season-low-tying 10 points.

QUOTABLE: "It's been a huge week for us so far. Tonight being the halfway point, it puts a lot of things in perspective. We've come a long way as a team. We've proven that we can play with anybody. Now we need to go continue to take care of business."
-- David Lee

THE STAT: In addition to knocking off the Western Conference's top two teams in the span of three days, the Warriors are the first team this year to beat the Thunder, Clippers and Heat -- marking them as a potentially dangerous playoff opponent. Although, as Lee pointed out, "I think we're probably the only team that's lost twice to Sacramento and Orlando, too."

TURNING POINT: With Golden State doubling Durant on inbounds plays down the stretch, Oklahoma City thought they'd burn the Warriors -- only to see Curry turn the situation on its head. Trailing 101-99 with 17.5 seconds remaining, the Thunder looked for Durant coming to the right wing for the initial pass. Golden State rookies Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green both collapsed on Durant, who tried to whip a pass to center Kendrick Perkins for an easy dribble-and-dunk through the vacated lane. But Westbrook floated too high after dragging from the baseline to the top of the key, allowing Curry to sag off of him and duck in to swipe Durant's pass. Curry then drained a pair of free throws to put the Warriors up by four points with 12.4 seconds left.

QUOTABLE II: "It's just a great read by Steph, because Westbrook is a little further out. Steph anticipated the play, got back in the picture, and that's what we're talking about by multiple-effort plays; he was on Westbrook initially, got back into the play. That's what the good defensive teams do. That's what the good defensive individuals do -- they make multiple-effort plays and make sure they're in the mix."
-- Warriors coach Mark Jackson

HOT: Durant was simply unguardable for much of the first half, going 6-for-8 from the floor, knocking down both of his 3-point attempts and doling out eight assists in a magisterial performance.

NOT: Westbrook was at the opposite pole from his running mate, sluggish from the outset and never in sync with his teammates. That Oklahoma City still managed 57 points in the first half despite Westbrook's four turnovers and 1-for-6 shooting was a minor miracle.

GOOD MOVE: Part of Westbrook's struggles might have been caused by the Warriors' crossmatching of shooting guard Klay Thompson onto him defensively. With Curry taking the less taking assignment of Thabo Sefolosha, Thompson was able to put his length to work frustrating Westbrook with solid positional D. Once Westbrook was clearly neutralized, the Warriors even moved Thompson onto Durant -- although that backfired in that it led to Thompson fouling out with 2:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Warriors forward Carl Landry, who has been relatively quiet of late, came back with 20 points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes. It was his first 20-point night since Nov. 10, and included eight points and five boards in the fourth quarter alone.

NOTABLE: This was Oklahoma City's first loss in 30 games when the Thunder led after three quarters. . . . Thompson finished with 19 points, 15 in the first half. . . . Kevin Martin had 16 points and four steals for the Thunder. . . . The game was tight throughout, with 19 lead changes, 16 ties and no leads above eight points. . . . Golden State enjoyed its 11th consecutive sellout.

UP NEXT: For the Thunder, Friday @ Sacramento, Sunday @ L.A. Lakers, Thursday vs. Memphis. For the Warriors, Friday @ Chicago, Saturday @ Milwaukee, Monday @ Toronto.