Regular Season Recap: Thunder vs Warriors
10 Rebounds by Kevin Durant, part of his 23-point, 10-rebound double-double
12 Players that scored for the Thunder tonight
18 Combined points for Reggie Jackson and Royal Ivey
20 Minutes played by Royal Ivey, a season-high
21 Minutes played by Cole Aldrich, his career-high
24 Assists by the Thunder, including six by Kevin Durant
25 Points by James Harden, one shy of his career-high
52.7 Shooting percentage by the Thunder tonight
The Thunder continues it's homestand when it hosts the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night. Game time is 7:00 p.m. Central and will air live on Fox Sports Oklahoma and the Thunder Radio Network.
The Thunder finishes up the stretch before the All-Star Break with home games against the New Orleans Hornets on Monday night, Boston Celtics on Wendesday night and Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.
GAME IN REVIEW
By Nick Gallo, Thunder Basketball Writer
A lock-down defensive effort on an elite scorer, contributions from reserve guards and the hard-nosed, unselfish play of the entire Thunder squad led to a well-deserved win as Head Coach Scott Brooks' club beat the Golden State Warriors 110-87 to move to 23-7 on the season. The win was sparked by a 27-11 run in the second quarter that Brooks, Kevin Durant and James Harden all agreed that it started with defensive intensity and creating turnovers that led to fast break points. That defensive effort, combined with the unselfish moving of the basketball to create 24 assists and a well-balanced box score featuring 12 different players in the scoring column, marked a nice performance and the second straight home game that every active player scored.
"That's one emphasis that we tried to pin point tonight, passing the ball," Durant said. "I think we did a good job tonight. We could have had more, guys had open shots, but that's what we want out of our offense, and that's for guys to shoot open shots. We knocked some down, we missed some, but I think all in all it was a good effort with the assists and playing together."
An obvious factor that led to the Thunder win when looking at the score sheet was that the team held prolific scorer Monta Ellis to only 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Coach Brooks had nothing but praise for Ellis' abilities after the game, but it was clear that pressure perimeter defensive coupled with good rotations and hedges on pick and rolls prevented Ellis from a big day. When asked what the biggest factor was in keeping Ellis in check, Harden responded with just a name.
"Russell," Harden said, of the defensive effort on Ellis. "Russell did a great job of chasing him, making him shoot contested jump shots. Our bigs did a great job of helping as well. It was a team defensive effort and we got out in transition and got some easy points and transition threes."
Three of those 3-point baskets came from the hands of Royal Ivey, who played a season-high 20 minutes alongside rookie Reggie Jackson's 19 minutes and Cole Aldrich's 21 minutes. Playing for a sidelined Kendrick Perkins, Aldrich had two points and three rebounds in addition to doing a lot of the dirty work on the interior to prevent Warriors buckets. Nazr Mohammed got the start and earned praise from Brooks, but it was a second consecutive big game from Ivey that had Brooks happy after the game.
"Royal came in and really gave us great energy," Brooks said. "He fought through screens, he chased down very good shooters and he made them miss. Cole came in and gave us good minutes. Nazr started the game and gave us good minutes. I think everybody played solid basketball tonight. We were moving the ball very well. We still had a few too many turnovers and too many offensive rebounds given up, but all-in-all, it was a win that we're happy with. It's time to move on to the next game."
Ivey and Jackson combined for 18 points and five assists, with four of those coming from the first-year man out of Boston College, Jackson. Since taking over the backup point guard spot after Eric Maynor's injury, Jackson has continued to develop. Whether it is the regular presence of Maynor at shoot arounds and in the locker room helping Jackson along or the veteran knowledge that Ivey is imparting that has pushed his development forward, Jackson is receiving help and praise from his teammates for the second unit's ability to be a factor.
"Just being professional, coming in and bringing energy," Ivey said of his and Jackson's role. "Just adding to what we have already in our nucleus. We're a good team the team concept is playing hard and playing together as a unit. That's good. Reggie is a rookie and is learning as we go along. He's coming along. He's making strides and as a veteran, I stay in his ear and try to keep him focused. He's getting better and the sky is the limit for him because he's a talented individual."
The turning point in this one came late in the last half of the second quarter when the Thunder burst out to a 27-11 run to take control of the game. At one point Golden State had a seven point lead, but it was a 35-31 advantage with 6:51 remaining in the half when James Harden made a driving layup, Nick Collison made a spinning layup and Kevin Durant threw down an authoritative slam dunk. To continue the run, Harden received an alley-oop from Durant for a Dunk coming out of a timeout, then Russell Westbrook jumped the passing lane and brought the crowd to its feet with a powerful break-away slam. Westbrook and Durant then traded layups, Serge Ibaka converted an old-fashioned three-point play on a put-back and then Harden finished up the scoring with a 3-pointer and a fast break dunk. At that point the Thunder held a 12-point lead at 58-46.
PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Nice scoop pass from Kevin Durant to Nazr Mohammed for the opening points of the game... Serge makes a good steal in traffic, then Nazr Mohammed tips an offensive rebound to himself and puts it back... Great box out and leap from Daequan Cook to get a defensive rebound... Durant hops in the passing lane and deflects a ball that goes out of bounds off a Warriors player... Russell Westbrook with an authoritative two-handed slam dunk after a huge screen from Mohammed... Eric Maynor listening intently to a huddle on the bench... Amazing lead pass from James Harden to Westbrook to draw two foul shots... Good hustle by Nick Collison to dive across the floor... Tough rebound in traffic by Collison on the defensive end... Good passing to get a 3-pointer for Durant in the corner... Well-communicated slip pass from Harden to Collison for a floater... Quick hands by Cole Aldrich to make a steal then make a pass the length of the court for a Harden dunk... Strong rebounding by Reggie Jackson on the defensive end, then he followed it up with a lob pass to Aldrich that drew a foul... Beautiful triangle passing between Harden, Collison and Aldrich to draw a foul... Good work by Collison to tip a rebound to himself... Perfect way of drawing a second defender by Westbrook to then kick it out to Harden for a 3-pointer... Great job of splitting the double team and drawing a foul at the rim by Harden... Incredible hustle by Collison to break up a dunk attempt by David Lee on a fast break... Wonderful spin move in the lane by Collison to score than a perfect challenge at the rim by Serge Ibaka to block a Lee dunk... Durant with a skying, driving dunk that forces Golden State to call a time out... Perfectly-executed play coming out of the timeout by the Thunder as Westbrook hit Durant, who found Harden on an alley-oop... Then Westbrook jumped the passing lane and brought down the house with an emphatic slam... Great positioning by Ibaka to clean up a Westbrook miss with a dunk... Ibaka looking like he was on a pogo stick to make a block then dish it ahead to Harden for a break-away dunk.
PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Good technique on a box-out by Durant to pull down a defensive rebound... Nice lob pass into the lane from Westbrook to Ibaka, who finishes with a floater... A scary quick spin move by Westbrook in the lane to finish at the rim... Maynor being shown on camera, gets a nice ovation from the crowd... Beautiful block/steal by Cook on a Stephen Curry jump shot attempt, Westbrook steals it next time down court... Toughness from Mohammed to get a defensive rebound then kick it ahead to lead to an Ibaka dunk... Nice mid-range jumper by Serge Ibaka, then an unselfish pass from Mohammed to Ibaka... A deeeeep 3-pointer by Durant from the top of the key... Westbrook draws an "ooh" from the crowd as he goes off the glass on a mid-range jumper... Beautiful pass from Durant to Royal Ivey for a corner 3-pointer... Then a big Collison offensive rebound that he kicked to Ivey, who hit Durant for another 3-pointer... Westbrook with great anticipation to steal an Ellis pass... Two offensive rebounds in traffic for Collison to give the Thunder more chances, which Ivey capitalized on with a 3-pointer... Quick hands by Harden to strip a Warriors player then knock two free throws down on the other end... Great job of jumping the passing lane by Jackson, who was granted two foul shots on the fast break... Nice awareness by Collison to grab a loose ball and a good swiing pass by Jackson to Ivey for his third 3-pointer of the night... Collison then draws a charge by being in the right spot on the next possession... Beautiful high-arcing two-point shot by Jackson then a tough defensive rebound by Ivey... Ivey then hustling to get to try to save a loose ball, in the process he ends up in the first row... Great cross-court pass from Jackson to Ryan Reid for a short-corner jumper... Nice strip in the lane by Lazar Hawyard, then he draws a foul on the other end... Good general hustle by the entire unit that closed out the game to keep the intensity level high.