By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
OKLAHOMA CITY — For the second night in a row, Golden State coach Mark Jackson had a look of dissatisfaction on his face. After watching Houston rain down 3-pointers on his squad Tuesday in a 39-point loss, he had to deal with the defending Western Conference Champions on Wednesday.
Oklahoma City didn’t use the 3-ball to decimate the Warriors. They relied on an angry Kevin Martin to spur them to a 119-98 victory at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“We were not sharp defensively,” Jackson said. “I thought we played well in spurts. You give up 64 points in the paint, you give up 29 point off turnovers, it’s a recipe for disaster coming into this building against this team. We just did not get it done.”
After falling behind by 22 points, Golden State (30-19) had its chances to make a game of it in the second half after falling behind. The Warriors cut the lead to 11 points several times.
However, each time Oklahoma City (37-12) came up with a defensive stop, it then scored on the offensive end. Midway through the fourth, the Warriors were unable to make any more runs, and both teams emptied their benches.
It was Martin who seemed to make each pivotal play to knock back the Warriors. Whether it was a timely 3-pointer or a steal and dunk at the other end, the Sixth Man of the Year Candidate played inspired ball.
Martin credited his increased energy to what he called dirty plays by the Warriors and the antics from the Golden State bench.
"Coach Jackson should talk to a couple of his bench players and make sure they get wet behind the ears before they come barking at a couple of our players,'' Martin said. "'You've got to take it personal, what they did. It wasn't only talking trash. They made a couple of dirty plays to inspire us as a team.''
Kevin Durant wouldn't go as far as Martin, but he did recognize that Golden State was trying to rough up the game.
“I wouldn’t say they were too dirty,” Durant said. “But they were physical, and we never shy away from a physical game. I think K-Mart did a really good job of getting mad and getting into a zone. He can get hot pretty quickly. That is what busted the game open for us in the fourth quarter.”
Martin shot 8-for-16 from the field, including 3-for-6 on 3-pointers, in only 27 minutes. Durant led all scorers with 25 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Serge Ibaka collected six blocks and 15 points.
Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson each paced the Warriors with 19 points. Stephen Curry added 11 assists, but he only shot 5-for-20 for 14 points.
“We did a good job of just getting our hands on loose balls and getting out in transition,” Westbrook said. “Everybody is making the right play. If they are not open, they are hitting the open guy.”
Ibaka played with an edge from the opening tip. Guarding All-Star David Lee, Ibaka played as if he were trying to show he deserved to have been selected. He hounded Lee and attempted to block or alter every shot Lee put up. Lee finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Ibaka had four blocked shots to go along with 11 points in the first quarter as Oklahoma City led 34-22.
Golden State couldn’t buy a basket in the first half, shooting 37 percent. While Oklahoma City’s defense had a little to do with it, the Warriors were just missing open shots and turning the ball over.
Durant and the Thunder bench pushed the lead to 20 early in the second quarter. They looked as if they were about to put the Warriors away before halftime.
However, Golden State cut the lead to 14 behind Barnes and Thompson before Durant drained a 3-pointer with 2:35 left in the half. Westbrook followed that with a layup and free throw to push the advantage back to 20. The Thunder led 67-49 at halftime.
“I thought the defense was solid from the start of the game and throughout the game actually,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “Four quarters of good defense.”
Follow me @eyeamtruth
For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.