Regular Season Recap: Thunder at Warriors

THUNDER 120

WARRIORS 109
7 Steals by Russell Westbrook, one shy of his career high.

8 Offensive rebounds for Serge Ibaka, tying his career high.

11 Assists by Russell Westbrook, his season high.

14 Rebounds by Kevin Durant, part of a 53-rebound effort by the Thunder.

+19 Rebounding advantage by the Thunder, its largest advantage of the season.

20 Points by Serge Ibaka, his season high.

32-for-37 The free-throw shooting numbers by the Thunder, which ended up with 17 more points from the line than the Warriors.

37 Total points by Kevin Durant on 12-for-24 shooting, his season high.

The Thunder will continue its road trip on Monday when it plays the Clippers in Los Angeles. Game time is 9:30 p.m. Central and will air live on Fox Sports Oklahoma and the Thunder Radio Network.

The Thunder keeps moving forward in its stretch of eight of nine games on the road. After the game against the Clippers, the Thunder heads Dallas to play the Mavericks on Wednesday night before returning home to host the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.

GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
In a game that at times was played at a fever pitch, the Thunder found itself to be playing the role of the mature, veteran group despite the fact that its rotation features six players 24 years old or younger. By out-rebounding the Golden State Warriors by 19 and executing down the stretch, the Thunder was able to come away from Oracle Arena with a 120-109 victory that brought a smile to Head Coach Scott Brooks' face.

"I'm very pleased," Brooks said. "We did a good job on the boards. That's one of the things that we've talked about all season long. We haven't done a great job with that, but tonight we did a great job. Kevin (Durant) and Serge (Ibaka) with all the offensive rebounds that he gave us, I thought we played good basketball."

Durant finished with 14 rebounds in addition to his season-high 37 points, while Ibaka wrangled in 12 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end to match his career high. Russell Westbrook had a season-high 11 assists to go with his 28 points, while James Harden finished with 19 points on 10 shots.

"It's always tough to win on the road," Brooks said. "It's a tough place to play. I thought our guys did a good job. Obviously, James, Kevin and Russell really did a good job of attacking and scoring and making shots for us, but Serge was big with all of the offensive rebounds and baskets around the paint."

The Thunder stayed in front for most of the night until the Warriors cut the Thunder lead to one possession in the middle of the fourth quarter. A 14-3 run sprung the Thunder to victory, and it was keyed by sharpshooting from Durant and tough rebounding from Ibaka. The moment that epitomized Ibaka's night came with only 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter when he extended an 81-74 Thunder lead to 83-74 when he went up high to snare a missed 3-pointer by Reggie Jackson and put it back for two points with a layup. Later, during the Thunder's essential fourth-quarter run, Ibaka slammed home a dunk after nice triangle passing from Westbrook and Nick Collison.

"It was big for us, we needed (Ibaka's rebounding)," Durant said. "For (Serge) to get a rebound and dunk and ignite us a little bit (was big). He played well tonight, I think he was the player of the game just with his energy, keeping the basketball alive and the way that he protected the paint as well."

As is typical for this Thunder team, it seemed that every player was involved in positive plays during the crucial fourth quarter stretch where the Thunder pulled away. Whether it was Collison setting perfect picks, Westbrook somehow slipping passes through defenders to find his teammates or Harden lofting a transition alley-oop to Durant, it was a total team victory.

"I liked the fact that everybody participated, everybody was attacking," Brooks said. "I thought Nick (Collison) did a great job of setting screens and rolling hard to the basket. Russell made some big plays, Kevin made some big plays and James (too). That's what they do, and we want to put them in positions that they continue to make big plays. They don't always have to be the guy who scores, but their ability to attack, it puts a lot of pressure on the defense."

TURNING POINT:
The Warriors hadn't led in the game since early in the first quarter, but it was neck-and-neck until mid-way through the fourth quarter, when the Thunder offense got hot and the defense locked down the Warriors. It was 88-85 Thunder when, with 7:26 to go, Kevin Durant hit a fadeaway jump shot, and with that look in his eye, proceeded to score 13 more points during the final quarter. Serge Ibaka followed up Durant's mid-range shot with a dunk off of a Nick Collison assist and Durant made a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 97-86 Thunder advantage. In the blink of an eye, Collison then grabbed a defensive rebound, threw the outlet pass to Russell Westbrook, who threw a beautiful one-handed bounce pass to James Harden, who found Durant for an alley-oop. The Thunder didn't stop its 14-3 run until it was 102-88 with 4:15 remaining in the game.

"Coach called a few plays for us that got us going and we were able to cruise from there," Durant said. "They're a good team, especially in this building. It's tough to win here and I think we kept our composure and played well."

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Russell Westbrook sticking with tipped rebounds on the defensive and offensive ends… The Thunder forcing two travels by the Warriors in their first two possessions… Kendrick Perkins sending a full-court pass to Thabo Sefolosha for an easy transition layup… Sefolosha getting all the way back in transition to stop a sure dunk… Westbrook stepping in front of a pass then finding Sefolosha with a nice bounce pass on the fast break… Wonderful vision by a driving Sefolosha to find Kevin Durant under the rim… Westbrook getting from behind halfcourt to the rim in the blink of an eye with a finger-roll finish… Harden finishing with precision among the trees… Nazr Mohammed fighting for a defensive board, then Nick Collison seeing Durant under the basket for a lay-in… Mohammed powering through a double team for a lay-up… Reggie Jackson breaking down the defense and lofting a floater… Westbrook recognizing his matchup and drawing Stephen Curry’s third foul midway through the second quarter… A perfectly executed in-bounds pass from Sefolosha to Durant for a dunk… Harden continuing his knack for drawing contact for an “and-one”… Westbrook and Harden combining to pick Monta Ellis’ pocket.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Good team defense, rotating and switching on screens... Durant finding room in the lane and pulling up for a runner... Serge Ibaka with a reaching offensive rebound then a put-back... Triangle passing from Westbrook to Nick Collison to Harden for a 3-pointer... Durant spinning baseline to dunk and complete an old-fashioned three-point play... Reggie Jackson and Westbrook playing at the same time, with Westbrook rebounding a Jackson miss for a short bucket... Durant to Jackson to Westbrook for a bank-shot jumper. Great ball movement by the Thunder... Westbrook and Collison working the pick and roll, with Collison driving right to the hoop to draw a foul... Jackson forces a missed dunk by getting back in transition defense to stop a 3-on-1... Collison working to tip an offensive rebound off a Warrior's player's foot to get the Thunder another possession... Durant getting an offensive rebound then isolating and finishing with a turnaround jump shot... Incredible interior passing from Westbrook to Collison to Ibaka for a slam dunk... Ibaka working extremely hard down low to keep giving the Thunder more possessions... Durant hits a 3-pointer from the top of the key, then Collison grabs a defensive board, outlets to Westbrook who throws a one-handed cross-court bounce pass to Harden, who sets up a Durant alley-oop... Collison then draws a charge on the Warriors' next trip down floor... Westbrook blows by the entire Warriors defense to finish a 3-point play... Collison comes over in helpside defense to block Curry, then tips in a Durant miss on the other end... Incredible one-handed pass from Westbrook to Collison to needle it through the lane... Westbrook with a transition steal to set up an Ibaka dunk...