In an electric back-and-forth matchup between two of the top teams in the West, the Golden State Warriors outlasted the Thunder to win 104-99. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, two of the league's best scorers, went head-to-head with both players scoring over 30 points. Curry finished with 31 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 steals, with 13 points coming in the 3rd quarter. David Lee added 22 points, 12 rebounds, giving him his 26th double-double of the year as well as his league-leading 17th 20-point, 10 rebound game. Klay Thompson had 19 points and Carl Landry came off the bench to add 20 points and 7 rebounds, his fourth such game. Kevin Durant, who leads the league in scoring, had 33 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 blocks on the night. The Warriors are now 26-15 on the season, and is the only team in the league to have beaten the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Clippers this season. After defeating two of the top three teams in the league, the Warriors head out on a four-game road trip, starting in Chicago on Friday night.
On tonight's game:
"That’s a pretty good basketball team with some big time weapons. We made adjustments and at times we tried to get the ball out of KDs (Kevin Durant) hands. They missed some shots as well, but just a great effort by us. I thought we battled, made multiple effort plays and made the adjustments. In a situation like in the first half we were asking Festus Ezeli to make professional reads. Sometimes you forget that this is just his 41st game of the year – it’s an adjustment, but I thought he played great. I think overall our defense responded in the second half. They shot 56 percent in the first half and then they shot 36 percent in the second half. Part of that is they missed shots, but also part of that is that we defended at a high level."
On if it's meaningful to beat the Clippers and Thunder back-to-back:
"No, and I humbly submit that. Those are two very good basketball teams. We’ve said all along we are not going anywhere and this was not going to be a measuring stick because we know who we are – exactly who we are. We aren’t going to rest on this. Every game whether it’s the Clippers or the Thunder or the games coming up, we have to be prepared, we have to be ready and we have to be focused. That will give us the chance to beat anybody."
On Stephen Curry's late steal:
"At that time we wanted to get the ball out of (Kevin) Durant’s hands or at least make him take a tough shot so we committed two guys to him. Actually I just watched it again and it was a great read by Steph (Stephen Curry) because (Russell) Westbrook is a little further out. Steph (Stephen Curry) anticipated the play and got back in the picture, that’s what we talk about multiple effort plays, he was on (Russell) Westbrook initially but got back into the play. That’s what good defensive teams do and that’s what good defensive individuals do. They make multiple effort plays and make sure they are in the mix."
On his impressions of the team so far:
"We are a very good basketball team that is very young, committed, believe in each other and believe in the promise – led by two All-Stars. Whether anybody wants to acknowledge them or not we are claiming them that."
On David Lee and Carl Landry:
"They did a great job. David (Lee) had his 17th 20 point, ten rebound game of the season – leads everybody in basketball. I thought early on he missed some chippies, but he continued to grind, continued to battle and made plays. Showed why he deserved to be in Houston. As far as Carl (Landry) goes, 25 minutes and to put the numbers that he put up and to be a force in the paint, to rebound, to defend and set great screens – I thought those guys did a great job setting the tone for us. They took the pressure off of Steph (Stephen Curry) and our perimeter guys from carrying us all night long."
On what it would mean to him if he and David Lee were named All-Stars:
"You look around the arena and we have a lot of passionate and supportive fans. They’re there no matter if we have great years or bad years. I think it would be great for them to have representatives in Houston and to have two guys that led us to over .500. It’s definitely a big deal."
On the team's season so far:
"We’re continuing to get better. We’ve played hard basketball for about a week and a half and got through a tough part of our schedule. Tonight we came back and got another big win at home. We had a great crowd, and we decided to go out there and play and do what we do."
On his offensive performance:
"I just tried to be aggressive. I came out and tried to rebound the basketball and be aggressive offensively. Our guards got me involved really well tonight. I had a shaky first quarter, but came back in the second half and just decided to continue to attack and it worked out."
On what it would mean to him if he and Curry were named All-Stars:
"It would mean a lot. I think the reason we’d be All-Stars is because of our team’s resurgence. This team has been without an All-Star since 1997 and I think we’ve made great strides this year, so Steph Curry for All-Star."
On this win being symbolic:
"No question, when you have a great player like Steph [Curry] command a lot of attention, Carl [Landry] stepped up and got 20 points and seven rebounds, D-Lee [David] getting 22 points and 12 rebounds and Klay [Thompson] with 19 points; everyone pitching in and doing their part. I think that’s kind of the story this year. Every guy has had this type of night but regardless of that, guys have stepped up and contributed."
On figuring out how to close games out:
"I think we are still learning but we are doing a much better job of executing down the stretch. We have had some big games and winning in L.A. [Clippers] and at Miami and now winning this one at home. We have been able to execute down the stretch but we have to continue doing that and getting better."
BRING ON THE BEST
January has been a tough month schedule-wise, and perhaps the most challenging test will be this Wednesday. The Thunder will mark the fourth division-leading opponent for the Warriors in the past five games. And those four opponents - Miami, San Antonio, L.A. Clippers and Oklahoma City - currently own the four best records in the NBA. Wednesday night promises another electric atmosphere on Warriors Ground, and a limited number of tickets are still available for this Western Conference showdown.
LAST TIME OUT
It had to be exciting, didn't it? The Warriors' 106-99 win over the Clippers didn't lack for theatrics, as Stephen Curry helped erase a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit with four 3-pointers in the final frame. Curry finished with 28 points and six assists, while connecting on six of eight 3-point attempts - the 11th time in his career with six or more three's and the sixth time this year. He is now seven 3-pointers away from becoming the fifth player in franchise history with 500 career threes. Jarrett Jack - 18 points, 10 assists - logged his third-straight double-double, the first time he's achieved that feat in his career, and David Lee logged his 25th double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds. The Warriors' starting backcourt of Curry (28) and Klay Thompson (18) outscored the Clippers' Chris Paul (4) and Willie Green (5) by a count of 46-9. Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the field for the majority of the game, resulting in 15 lead changes and 11 ties. The Warriors finished the game shooting 52% from the field, 54.5% from three-point land, and 88.9% from the charity stripe. With the win, the Warriors took the season series from the division-leading Clippers 3-1.
TWO HEADED SNAKE
One advantage that the Warriors have over most opponents is that they have two players who are more than capable of being a starting point guard. Stephen Curry has had an All-Star type of season, and one can certainly make the case that Jarrett Jack has been the team's MVP through the first half of the season. While Jack comes off the bench, he often finds himself playing alongside of Curry for important stretches of the game, and on Monday the duo simply took over in the fourth quarter, combining for 26 of the team's 33 points in the final frame. Jack became the sixth reserve in the last 10 years to record consecutive games of at least 10 points and 10 assists, and he's logged three-straight double-doubles overall. Both Curry and Jack bring a different skillset to the Warriors, and opposing defenses are learning just how difficult it is to contain both players at the same time.
Richard Jefferson is the most experienced player on the Warriors roster. He has played in the NBA Finals and has been a part of NBA All-Star Weekend, but he hasn't been the impact player with the Warriors that he was earlier in his career with the Nets. That may be beginning to change. Over the last two games - both Warriors wins - Jefferson has provided tremendous contributions off the bench. He followed his 11-point, four-rebound performance on Saturday with seven points and three boards in 12 minutes of Monday's victory. Not only has he put up numbers, but he has proved that he still has some of the athleticism that he often displayed in his early NBA years. He's almost a lock to show up in an upcoming edition of the Warriors Playlist, a video series that showcases the team's best highlights of the season, but more importantly, he'll continue to show up in the team's lineup if he keeps up this level of play.
OKLAHOMA CITY SCOUTING REPORT
The Thunder have had the Warriors' number as of late, and that's not too surprising considering Oklahoma City is the reigning Western Conference champs. Kevin Durant, who figures to be in the MVP discussion for years to come, leads the NBA with 29.5 points per game, and he has a very capable sidekick in Russell Westbrook (23.0 ppg, 8.3 apg). The Thunder, owners of the NBA's best record, are the leading scoring team in the league (106.0 ppg) and they hold their opponents to the third lowest shooting percentage (.429). They recently saw a six-game winning streak come to an end and they will be playing on the back end of a back-to-back after visiting the Clippers on Tuesday.
GSW: Andrew Bogut (ankle rehab) and Brandon Rush (torn left ACL) are out.