Regular Season Recap: Thunder at Warriors

THUNDER 119

WARRIORS 116
4 Steals by James Harden, a season-high

5 3-pointers made by Daequan Cook, his season-high

8 Points by Nazr Mohammed, on five total shots

10 Rebounds by Kevin Durant, part of yet another double-double

17 Points for Daequan Cook, a season-high

21 Combined assists by Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden

52.4 Percentage that the Thunder shot from the field

64 Combined points scored by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook

The Thunder will continue its road trip on Thursday when it faces the Kings in Sacramento. Game time is 9:30 p.m. Central and will air live on Fox Sports Oklahoma and the Thunder Radio Network.

The Thunder then concludes its stretch of five straight road games as it heads to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Jazz on Friday night. The Thunder will then get a few days off before hosting the Jazz on Tuesday.

GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
The past two nights of Thunder basketball have been heart-pounding, last-second thrillers, and fortunately for Head Coach Scott Brooks and company, both games went the Thunder's way. The Thunder continued its road trip north from Portland to face Golden State and came away from Oakland with an 119-116 victory after an up-and-down, offensive explosion. The lead changed seven times on Tuesday night and it was tied on nine occasions throughout the game, but once again when it mattered most the Thunder pulled through. Ultimately, Kevin Durant knocked down a bank shot from the elbow to put the Thunder ahead off an inbounds pass and he and the rest of the defense played two lockdown defensive possessions to seal the game.

"We executed our plays at the end well," Brooks said. "Even the ones that we missed, they were good looks. That's what you want as a team, to keep growing, to have growth in all areas of the game. Some areas are going to be slower than others. But I did thought tonight we did execute down the stretch. We got good looks and made big shots, made big plays for each other on the offensive end."

While most of the talk after the game was about Durant's curl from the right side of the lane over to the left side where he rose up and fired a bank shot that put the Thunder ahead by one with 14 seconds remaining. As the Warriors' Monta Ellis rose up to attempt what would have been a game-winning 3-pointer, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook was right in front of him, getting a hand in his face and forcing a miss. Thunder guard James Harden did a masterful job of concentrating in a critical moment as he boxed out and forced the Warriors to knock the ball out of bounds. After two made Thunder free throws, Durant blocked a would-be game-tying 3-pointer to end the contest.

"We're really good at situational deals," Durant said. "Tonight was one of those nights where you practice them a lot in practice. Knowing what we had to do, switching those screens. 1.1 seconds left, make sure we don't foul and contesting shots. I think we did a good job of that."

While Durant and the rest of the crunch time rotation guys really honed in during that final flurry of activity that can be described as "winning time", there were also some other very valuable portions of the game that helped the Thunder either take a firm lead or get back into the game. One such stretch was a 19-6 run that the Thunder bench embarked upon starting with 3.2 seconds remaining in the first quarter through midway through the second quarter. While Nazr Mohammed was important with his eight points and strong defense, it was Daequan Cook's 3-point shooting that kept the Thunder in this one early on. The fifth-year man had a season-high 17 points and five made 3-pointers. Quite a bit of his work occurred during those moments where it was up to the bench to wrestle control of the game away from Golden State.

"Thats the most important thing," Cook agreed. "The second unit is supposed to come in and give that first unit a boost. It's kind of tough for us to come in and change the momentum of the game, but that's what we did tonight."

The Thunder found itself in what may have seemed like dire straits during multiple portions of the game, but Brooks and crew can compartmentalize and forget about everything that happened earlier in the game and earlier in the season and just focus on the task at hand. As a result, the Thunder was able to take it one possession at a time against Golden State, chip into an Ellis-fueled lead, and eventally gave itself a chance to win in the final minutes.

"We somehow fought back and continued to believe in each other and got enough stops towards the end of the game to make a difference," Brooks concluded.

TURNING POINT:
The Thunder's bench provided a major spark late in the first quarter and start of the second quarter as it went on a 16-2 run that turned a nine point deficit into a 5 point lead. It all started when the Thunder fell behind by nine points with 3.2 seconds remaining in the first quarter. A perfectly executed buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Kevin Durant off a Russell Westbrook sprint and pass made it a six-point deficit. The Thunder, behind James Harden and Nazr Mohammed, then went on to score 13 of the game's next 15 points. Harden had seven points during the run and Mohammed had six as the Thunder made it a 42-37 advantage with 9:33 remaining in the half and ultimately took a 53-43 lead with 4:21 remaining in the half to cap a 27-8 run.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Tough box out from Kendrick Perkins on the offensive boards to draw a foul... Russell Westbrook taking over. First he drives to the basket for an and-one, then he finds Daequan Cook for an open 3-pointer, then he completes another 3-point play... Beautiful drive and dish from Kevin Durant to Serge Ibaka then Ibaka cleans up his own miss with a 3-point play of his own... The Thunder showing a full-court press to raise their defensive intensity... Incredible job by James Harden to get back on disrupt an alley-oop attempt... Slick pass from Perkins to Durant in the lane... Westbrook continuing to exude the most effort on both ends of the court... Nice dish from Harden to Nazr Mohammed for a short-corner jumper... Great job to just stand up straight by Mohammed and get a block... A perfectly executed end of quarter play with only 3.2 seconds left. Westbrook drove up the right sideline, Collison set a screen for Durant and Westbrook hit him for an open 3-pointer... Precise positioning by Collison to draw a charge and stop a Warriors score... Heads up play by Mohammed to knock away a backdoor screen then a nice drop off pass from Reggie Jackson to Mohammed for a jumper... Well-executed cross-court pass from Harden to Cook for a 3-pointer to answer one from Monta Ellis... Smothering defense by the Thunder out top which leads to a Durant-to-Harden run-out dunk... Thunder's defense leading to fast break opportunities like the Westbrook-to-Durant 2-on-1 dunk... Really quick play by Westbrook to tip a loose bal to himself, then a strong defensive board by Serge Ibaka... Nice job of rotating by Perkins to contest an Ellis shot... Good awareness by Westbrook to see Durant for an alley-oop.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Smart move by Daequan Cook to wrap up Monta Ellis to prevent him from scoring an easy transition bucket... Well-executed off-the-ball pick and roll and dish from Durant to Ibaka to draw a foul... Good box out by Ibaka on one end then great hustle by Westbrook to steal the ball back... Patient drive and dish from Durant to Ibaka for a slam dunk... A high-arcing 3-point shot by Cook that seemed to hang in the air forever... a lightning quick move by Westbrook to get to the cup for a lay-up... Much-needed sequence from Harden, who hit a 3-pointer, stole the ball and hit another 3-pointer... Nice work to stick with offensive rebounds by Collison and Westbrook to give the Thunder three extra shots... Incredible job by Durant to square his shoulders and convert an three-point play... Heads up play by Cook to anticipate an air ball and bring it down... Tough offensive board by Collison to give the Thunder another look, and Durant a leaner in the lane to tie it up... A violent dunk by Durant to respond to a nice Ellis reverse lay-in... Then an acrobatic play by Durant to hit a floater in the lane... Good defensive positioning and rebounding by Cook to stop Ellis then get the board... Quick hands by Westbrook to steal an Ellis attempted pass... Unbelievable body control by Westbrook on a floater, then a great job of sticking with a tipped pass by Cook for an open jumper... Heads up play by Harden to tip away a pass at the top of the key and then strip David Lee... Really important offensive rebound by Ibaka, and Westbrook made it count by hiting a jumper... A great dish from Westbrook to Durant for a dunk to give the Thunder a 3-point lead... Wonderful box-out by Ibaka, then on the next possession great hustle by Durant to grab a loose ball... Gutsy shot by Durant to go off the glass for a go-ahead jumper... In-your-face defense by Westbrook and a skying rebound by Harden in the final seconds... Lockdown defense by Durant on the final shot attempt to seal the win.