The Thunder, given up for dead the night before in a discouraging loss in Houston, bounced back with a rousing 127-115 win over the team with the NBA’s best record, the Golden State Warriors, before a sell-out crowd at the Chesapeake Arena on Friday night. As good as Thunder all-stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have been, they were at their superstar best in this one.
Durant seems rather comfy when playing the Warriors. In the teams’ second meeting in California in mid-December, Durant had the highest scoring 1st half of his brilliant career, with 30 points. But late in the half of that 114-109 loss, he stepped on the foot of a Golden State player spraining his ankle and Durant missed the next 6 games. Friday night, Durant lit up the Golden State defense again in one of the most “efficient” games he’s played. Durant hit 14-18 shots for a game high 36 points while grabbing 9 rebounds as the Thunder put 69 points on the board in the opening half, the most allowed by the Warriors in *any* half of a game so far this season.
Westbrook…was even better. In recording his 9th career “triple-double”, the explosive point guard erupted for 17 points, a career high 17 assists and he equalled a career high with 15 rebounds. Serge Ibaka, who has basically disappeared in the 4th quarter of most games this season, scored 14 points in the final stanza of this one on his way to tying a career high with 27 points. Newly aquired shooting guard Dion Waiters played in just his 4th game as a member of the Thunder and he responded with a 21 point night. Anthony Morrow came off the bench to toss in 12 points as the Thunder kept holding off the hard-charging Warriors who’s gaudy record fell to 31-6 overall and they had their 8-game win streak snapped.
The Thunder won for the 5th consecutive time on their home floor at “The Peake” but they won’t be home for awhile. OKC will play the next five games *all* on the road: Sunday in Orlando, Tuesday in Miami, Wednesday in Washington, Friday in Atlanta and Sunday, Jan. 25th in Cleveland against LeBron James and the Cavaliers.