Notebook: Thunder 116, Warriors 97

Posted Apr 12, 2013 2:04 AM

Geoff Lepper, for

THE FACTS: Kevin Durant dropped 31 points in less than 35 minutes and nearly put together his fourth triple-double of the season in leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 116-97 romp against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

Durant, who hung a triple-double on the Warriors back in November, had 10 rebounds but just eight assists this time around. Kevin Martin had 23 points off the bench before leaving due to tightness in his right lower back.

Oklahoma City (58-21) moved a half-game clear of San Antonio (57-21) atop the Western Conference, although the Thunder hold the tiebreakers in the event of a head-to-head deadlock between those two clubs.

Golden State (45-34) saw their lead over Houston (44-34) shrink to a half-game in the race for the West's No. 6 seed despite 22 points and seven assists from Stephen Curry.

QUOTABLE: "Going into this streak, we knew that we were going to have to play much better. . . . Our approach to embrace the challenge, and I think our guys have done a good job with that."
-- Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks, whose club finished a six-game stretch against playoff contenders with a 5-1 mark.

THE STAT: Oklahoma City came into the game ranked 27th in the league in terms of assisted baskets, getting help on 56.3 percent of their field goals this season. But the Thunder's ball movement simply slaughtered Golden State on Thursday. Oklahoma City recorded 30 assists -- one off their season high -- on 42 buckets.

TURNING POINT: Golden State did well to stay within six points at the half, but Oklahoma City wasted no time in blowing things open to start the third quarter. A 9-2 run, capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from Thabo Sefolosha, built a 69-56 lead for the visitors, and they would go on to outscore the Warriors 36-23 for the quarter.

GOOD MOVE: Brooks wasn't afraid to switch up his primary assignment on Curry until he found something that worked. Russell Westbrook, who opened the game on Curry but handed off duties early on to Sefolosha, eventually won the job back -- just in time to impressively swat away Curry a pair of floaters with unbelievable recovery speed.

INSIDE THE ARENA: Westbrook's first block of Curry led to a coast-to-coast dash and massive, cloud-scraping dunk from Durant, who celebrated with a throat-slashing gesture and then clasped hands.

QUOTABLE II: "Kill 'em and pray for 'em after the game."
-- Durant, describing his celebration.

HOT, DEFENSIVELY: Westbrook's rejections were part of a pattern for the Thunder, who clamped down in the second half, allowing the Warriors to shoot only 38.5 percent from the floor, 28.6 percent on 3-pointers. All told, Oklahoma City had 10 blocks, 10 steals and 36 defensive rebounds -- while Golden State could only manage seven offensive boards.

HOT, OFFENSIVELY: Serge Ibaka went 6-for-7 in a 15-point first half, hammering down a couple of dunks and generally creating havoc against a Warriors defense that desperately missed the presence of center Andrew Bogut.

NOT: The Warriors had to make do without Bogut for much of the night. Bogut, who has been limited all season while recovering from off-season microfracture surgery in his left ankle, played just 9:05 in the first quarter before heading back to Golden State's locker room. The Warriors announced at halftime that Bogut had stuffered a sprained left ankle and would not return. A Twitter report by Warriors beat writer Marcus Thompson II said Bogut initially sprained the ankle Tuesday in the Warriors' playoff-clinching victory against Minnesota but played through it. The ankle was originally broken in January 2012 and required further surgery in April 2012, after Golden State acquired him from Milwaukee. The Warriors said no X-rays were taken because they were deemed unnecessary.

QUOTABLE III: "We don't think it's too much. We will find out. We'll rest it, treat it and see how he responds. We are not too concerned about it."
-- Jackson on Bogut.

NOT, PART II: The Thunder also lost their starting center when Kendrick Perkins left 69 seconds into the third quarter with what the team called right hamstring tightness. He did not return, and his status for Oklahoma City's game in Portland on Friday is in question.

NOTABLE: The Thunder are now 26-3 when at least five players reach double figures in scoring. In addition to Durant, Martin and Ibaka, Westbrook had 18 points and Sefolosha 10. . . . Curry became the youngest player to hit for 250 3-pointers in a season. He now has 252, and needs 18 over his last three games to unseat record-holder Ray Allen. . . . David Lee had his league-leading 54th double-double, but it was an empty 13 points and 11 rebounds. . . . With Bogut out, seldom-used Warriors center Andris Biedrins saw his first game action since March 15, breaking a string of 11 games' worth of non-activity.

UP NEXT: For the Thunder, Friday @ Portland, Monday vs. Sacramento, Wednesday vs. Milwaukee. For the Warriors, Friday @ Lakers, Monday vs. San Antonio, Wednesday @ Portland