The Norman Transcript

November 19, 2012

Thunder top Warriors in home return

By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript

OKLAHOMA CITY — The last time the Thunder were at home, they suffered a loss, got beat upon and had one of their key players get into an altercation with the opposing team away from the court. It wasn’t a good night.

It was a completely different atmosphere when Oklahoma City returned home Sunday to face Golden State. Led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, they beat Golden State 119-109 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“They have two homerun hitters in their lineup,” Jackson said. “Two of the best in the business at any position. That being said, they are an elite basketball team. They are extremely well coached. They defend, they compete. They make you pay the price for the mistakes you make.”

The Thunder (8-3) had a 94-73 lead to start the fourth quarter, and it looked like the Oklahoma City starters were done for the night.

But the Warriors (5-5) went on a 12-4 run to start the period. That forced Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks to bring Durant and Westbrook back into the game.

But momentum had shifted to the road team, and Golden State closed to within seven points with 5:48 left in the game.

That would be as close as the Warriors would get. Serge Ibaka and Kevin Martin knocked down a pair of jumpers to push the Thunder advantage back into double figures, and Westbrook and Durant scored the next seven points to put the game away.

“We are an athletic team and we pride ourselves on getting stops,” Durant said. “And once you start getting stops, we were able to transition and take advantage.”

Westbrook led all scorers with 30 points to go along with seven assists. Durant added 25 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for the first triple-double of his career.

“I’m glad to see that he finally got the triple double,” Brooks said. “He’s a willing passer. He’ never been a selfish player.”

Martin came off the bench to chip in with 23 as he knocked in five of seven from behind the arc to give him 11 in the past two games. The team shot 65 percent (13 of 20) from long range.

Stephen Curry led the way for Golden State with 22 points on nine-of-17 shooting. Lee had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.

Westbrook began the game firing from all over the court. With Curry guarding him, Westbrook was able to get any jump shot he wanted and was able to post up the smaller Curry.

Offensively, the Thunder continued the crisp pass it had started Friday in New Orleans. It had 17 of their 31 assists in the first half.

Oklahoma City stretched its lead to 14 points late in the second quarter. But baskets by Carl Landry and a couple of free throws from Lee cut the gap to single digits.

The Thunder stemmed the tide when Durant drained a 3-pointer and Westbrook threw down a ferocious fastbreak dunk in the final seconds of the half to give them a 59-46 lead.

“I don’t remember who it was on,” Westbrook said. “But I ain’t dunked in a while, so I just wanted to let people know I still can do it.”

Michael KinneyFollow me @eyeamtruthmkinney@normantranscript.com

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