Hot shooting from the #SplashBrothers was not enough to keep up with Kevin Durant in the Warriors’ 127-121 loss on Friday night in Oklahoma City. Durant’s career-high 54 points overshadowed an otherwise brilliant game for Stephen Curry, who had 37 points and 11 assists for his fifth 30-point, 10-assist game of the season. Klay Thompson also had it going with 26 points, and the backcourt duo combined to shoot 12-for-19 on 3-pointers. David Lee had 13 points and nine rebounds and Jordan Crawford logged eight points on 3-for-4 shooting in his Warriors debut, but the Dubs couldn’t stop the Thunder in this shootout, as Oklahoma City shot 58.0 percent from the field. Now losers of two in a row, the Warriors will look to get back on track on Saturday in New Orleans.
On Kevin Durant and the Warriors' Defense:
“Well we’re a good enough defensive team to give a better effort and fight a little bit harder. He’s a special talent. He’s a superstar basketball player and an all-time great and he made shots. But at the end of the day, 121 points for us offensively is enough to win ball games. That’s the disappointing part about it.”
On how to fix the defense:
“We’ve got to get it back. We’ve got to play with the same edge that we played with before. Right now our team is a little bit too confident for the last two nights. We’ve got to get it back but the good news is there’s another one tomorrow.”
On playing again on Saturday:
“I mean this was a physically demanding basketball game so it takes its toll. I like the idea that if you’re made of something you want to play tomorrow because you want to make the wrongs right.”
On the team's defensive effort:
“Last game it seemed like everyone was in rhythm against us, tonight we let them get off to a hot start; when you let a guy like KD, who’s leading the league in scoring, start off the game as hot as he did regardless of how many minutes he plays he’s going to find a way to continue that. It was tough to start off the game like that and then try to get stops against a dynamic scorer like that especially when he’s hitting everything. We will figure it out, we scored 121 and 116 points the last two games and we’re 0-2.”
On bouncing back after the loss:
“We have to, you said we’ve done it before and hopefully we will find that consistency to not be in that situation, but right now were challenged to find that tomorrow against another good team at home in the Western Conference. It’s disappointing for sure, it was a big game against a team we’ve played well so far this year.”
On figuring out the team's defensive issues:
“We just have to do a better job on recognizing the team’s strengths and sticking to it by making the game as hard as possible for those guys. Tonight you have to give OKC a lot of credit they did a great job on playing to their strengths, getting the ball in the guy’s hands they wanted they wanted the ball in. We just couldn’t find a way to get a stop, Durant was attacking and he found Serge (Ibaka) a couple times on dump offs from the pick & rolls we were trapping and he made some shots that kind of made us nervous to trap him. Their bench guys came in and made some big shots for them. They’re a really good team they’ve been playing together for a while they execute everything if you take one thing away they have option two and three even if Kevin is option two, three or four they do a good job finding him.”
The Warriors-Thunder season series has been one of the most entertaining back-and-forths in the NBA this season, as each of the first two games between the two clubs has been decided by a last-second shot. Andre Iguodala delivered a game-winning buzzer beater at Oracle Arena on November 14, and the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook returned the favor two weeks later in Oklahoma City. This will be the final matchup between the two teams this season, and the Warriors will be looking for their first win in Oklahoma City in 10 tries.
LAST TIME OUT
Poor execution down the stretch cost the Warriors in Wednesday’s 123-116 home loss to the Nuggets. The Warriors battled back from a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit but were out-scored 8-0 over after a pair of David Lee free throws gave the Dubs a one-point lead with 1:13 left in the fourth quarter. Lee led the Warriors with 28 points and 11 rebounds for his 13th 20-and-10 game of the season, and Stephen Curry (24 points) and Klay Thompson (21) each overcame rough shooting nights from the perimeter to finish with 20-plus points. The loss spoiled an otherwise solid bench performance from Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green, who combined for 27 points, including 4-for-5 on 3-pointers. On the other side of the ball, Denver had it going offensively all night, shooting 54.2 percent from the floor and 50 percent (12-for-24) on 3-pointers. Four Nuggets players scored at least 20 points, led by Nate Robinson, who scored 14 of his 24 in the fourth quarter. The Warriors will now head back on the road for a two-day, two-game trip that tips off on Friday in Oklahoma City. GAME RECAP
WELCOME TO #DUBNATION
The Warriors made a move on Wednesday to give the team’s bench unit a much-needed boost. As part of a three-team trade, the Dubs acquired Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks from the Celtics, and Toney Douglas was sent to Miami. Crawford has averaged 13.7 points and a career-high 5.7 assists while filling in for the injured Rajon Rondo this season, and his presence should certainly give the Warriors’ bench unit a little more firepower. Brooks, meanwhile, is a former All-Rookie Second Team honoree who recently averaged 28.7 points over three games at the NBA D-League Showcase.
BARNES BACK ON TRACK
After enduring a bit of a mini-slump, Harrison Barnes came through with 15 points on Wednesday for his highest scoring output in nearly a month. The second-year swingman did a little bit of everything, going 2-for-3 on 3-pointers and getting to the free throw line six times in 31 minutes. When on the floor with the team’s reserve unit, Barnes is typically the number one option, but now that Crawford and Brooks are in the fold, there should be less of a burden on Barnes. Regardless of the other four players on the court with him, the Warriors need Barnes to provide that offensive firepower he displayed in last year’s playoffs if the Dubs are going to reach their full potential.
OKLAHOMA CITY SCOUTING REPORT
The Thunder will head into Friday’s Western Conference showdown after picking up a road win over the Rockets on Thursday night. Heading into that contest, Oklahoma City had lost three of its last four games. While the team still has several talented pieces, the absence of Russell Westbrook (arthroscopic right knee surgery) has certainly been felt, as the Thunder are just 8-6 this season without their All-Star guard. They still have perennial MVP candidate Kevin Durant, however, and he’s having a career-season, averaging 30.0 points (first in NBA) and personal bests of 8.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists. If the Warriors can find a way to keep Durant below his season averages, they should have a shot at winning their first season series with the Thunder since the franchise re-located to Oklahoma City from Seattle following the 2007-08 season.
GSW: Festus Ezeli (recovery from right knee surgery) and Jermaine O’Neal (right wrist surgery) are out.
OKC: Russell Westbrook (right knee) is out.