Kevin Durant played a phenomenal game on Wednesday night, and the Warriors played a phenomenal quarter. That parlay was good enough for the Warriors as they ran away from the Oklahoma City Thunder, 121-100, at Oracle Arena.
Durant finished with a season-high 40 points on 13-for-16 shooting against his former team. But he was all too happy to throw in 12 rebounds and four assists and three blocks. The Warriors were brilliant in the third quarter, turning a tie game into a 15-point advantage heading into the fourth.
Link to “Warriors WrapUp,” the postgame show on 95.7-FM The Game. That link has the sound from what OKC’s Russell Westbrook said postgame …
Here are some topics we discussed:
–The Warriors shot the ball extremely well in the first half (22-for-39 for 56.4 percent), but they went into the locker room tied 56-56. The reason? It was that old standby: turnovers. Golden State committed 13 turnovers in the first half, which led to 12 points. Now, 12 points might not sound that bad, and it’s not, really, but the bigger issue is those are still possessions where you lose possible shot attempts. Had OKC not been turning it over also — it had 11 first-half turnovers, leading to 17 points — the Thunder might have been up at the half.
In the third quarter the Warriors didn’t turn the ball over at all, and not surprisingly, they outscored the Thunder 37-22 and took total control of the game.
–One issue OKC has when it plays against the Warriors is that being so reliant on Russell Westbrook is more of a detriment than it is against other teams. Westbrook is involved in so many plays, and he’s so aggressive, that he’s prone to big plays and big mistakes. So, there are two problems there.
First, when Westbrook turns the ball over — and he did 10 times on Wednesday — it allows the Warriors to get out in transition, where everyone knows they’re at their best. Secondly, the Warriors’ team defense is so good that no player — not Westbrook, not James Harden, not LeBron James — can get it done individually against Golden State, with three or four players constantly lying in wait.
Westbrook, of course, pretty much has to play this way for the Thunder to be successful so it’s tough to blame him. It’s just that against the Warriors, he’s likely looking at a more high-volume, high-turnover game. Which is what happened. Westbrook had 27 points (8-for-23 from the field), 15 rebounds, 13 assists and all those turnovers.
–If you’re one of those Warriors fans who wonders why JaVale McGee doesn’t play more, may we direct you to the first quarter of Wednesday’s game. McGee entered the game for Zaza Pachulia, and found himself matched up against Enes Kanter, an offensively skilled big man if ever there was one.
Kanter seemingly had McGee on a pogo stick, head-faking and pump-faking McGee into oblivion. Kanter finished the first quarter with 10 points on 5-for-7 from the field and McGee finished the first quarter on the bench, getting subbed out for David West.
In the second half, when it was time to sub out for Pachulia — and Kanter was already in the game — Warriors coach Steve Kerr went with Anderson Varejao rather than McGee.
–David West suffered a non-displaced fracture on the thumb of his left hand. He’ll be out at least two weeks and then he’ll be re-evaluated.