(Photo by Torrey Purvey)
By Michael Kinney
OKLAHOMA CITY – Golden State’s Klay Thompson loves playing in Oklahoma City. Thunder fans remember all the way back to Game 6 of last season’s Western Conference Finals when he single-handily sunk the home team with a barrage of 3-pointers.
Thompson had a de ja vu type performance Monday night as the Warriors rolled to an 111-95 victory over the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Thompson poured in 34 points on 12 of 21 shooting. That included knocking in 7 of his 15 shots from 3-point range.
“I don’t think it’s anything particular,” Thompson said. “I’ve been playing well the last few games. Got a lot of great looks today. It’s as simple as knocking them down.”
The Warriors have snow wept the season series with the Thunder 4-0. Even more impressive, they have won each by an average of more than 20 points.
Steph Curry also buried seven 3-pointers on his way to 23 points for the Warriors. Javale McGee posted 10 points and four blocked shots as the Warriors raised their record to 56-14.
“To go on the road in a tough environment and play the way we played, it’s good for us,” Golden State’s Draymond Green said.
Oklahoma City’s Victor Oladipo scored a team-high 17 points. Russell Westbrook had a subpar night for the MVP candidate. He was held to 15 points on 4 of 16 shooting to go with eight rebounds and eight assists. Enes Kanter came off the bench to score 11 points and Taj Gibson added 10 as the Thunder dropped to 40-30 and ends a five-game win streak.
“Just one of those nights, Westbrook said. “Shots didn’t fall. They made shots as well. A few mishaps defensively. But we’ll be all right.”
Curry had his shot falling from the outset. With Westbrook guarding him, he dropped 11 points in the first quarter.
Conversely, Westbrook started the night shooting 1 of 6 from the field. Even though he had four assists in the quarter, his mindset was to attack and get his offense going. That seemed to fall right into the Warriors’ game plan.
While Golden State was far from at its best offensively, defensively it was able to take the Thunder out of their game and frustrate Oklahoma City.
Late in the second quarter, Westbrook and Curry got into a shoving match and the rest of the players on the floor got into the action as the teams had to be separated.
“Ain’t nothing going through my mind but to protect my teammates,” Westbrook said. “That’s what was going through my mind.”
Technical fouls were called on Westbrook, Curry, Draymond Green and Oklahoma City’s Semaj Christon before the teams had a jump-ball situation.
The Warriors won the tap and Thompson snagged the loose ball. He zipped it up to a wide open Curry, who drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer. As soon as it went through the net, he sprinted off the court with Golden State leading 59-39.
“I used to play quarterback,” Thompson quipped. “Don’t underestimate my arm. It was kind of a lucky pass. Going up 20, it was demoralizing to the other team.”
Led by Westbrook and Oladipo, Oklahoma went on a 13-5 run to start the second half. It looked like the Thunder were back in the game.
“We knew it was coming,” Kerr said. “We’re on their home floor. Russell did not have a great first half. We knew he would come out attacking. He attacked the rim a couple of times. We just weathered the storm.”
It was McGee who turned the tide with his work on the offensive glass. While he didn’t pull down the rebound, he was able to tip the loose balls out to Thompson, who made the Thunder pay with several shots from behind the arc.
Those plays broke Oklahoma City and they were unable to make a run the rest of the night. Westbrook stayed on the bench in the fourth.
“I am pleased with the way we played overall,” Kerr said. “Defense was solid. I thought JaVale McGee came in and had a huge impact. Getting his hands on a lot of rebounds, deflections. He just got his hand on the ball and created extra deflections for us. Obviously, we had Steph and Klay going from 3-point land.”
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Writer with Eyeamtruth.com