Games with the Golden State Warriors are not 83-81 grinders; they are aerial ballets with balls flying every which way. This was true under Don Nelson, it was true under Keith Smart, and it’s apparently true with Mark Jackson running the show. The Thunder won this one, 119-109, but they had to shoot 51 percent to do it; the Warriors were almost two percentage points better.
And Golden State stuck pretty much to the plan: score a lot and wait for the opposing defense to develop holes. OKC was happy to oblige them, giving up 27 points in the third quarter and 36in the fourth. The only way you beat something like this is to keep putting the ball up and make sure it falls through the net, which the Thunder did well, tossing up 20 from beyond the arc, 13 of which went. Kevin Martin got five of seven all by himself except, of course, that he really didn’t do it all by himself, what with the Thunder in recent weeks having discovered the joys of ball movement. OKC, in fact, racked up 31 dimes, ten of them going to Kevin Durant, who logged his first-ever triple-double (25 points, 13 rebounds). Seven more came from the Good Russell Westbrook, with 30 points, five steals, and a single solitary turnover. K-Mart led the bench with 23, and Serge Ibaka is becoming an offensive force: he’s been averaging almost 15 points per game, and he had 16 tonight.
The perennial thorn in the side, Stephen Curry, was his usual sharp self, producing 22 points and 4-8 on treys. Reliable David Lee dropped in 19 more, and the Warriors’ two quality Sixth Men (should one be Seventh?), Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack, led the bench with 14 and 12. Rookie center Festus Ezeli got the start: in fairly limited minutes, he snagged five points and five boards, and looked like he was having fun, which never hurts.
There will be only limited time to enjoy this win, though: the Clippers will be here Wednesday, and the Thunder beat the Clippers exactly once last year in four tries. And Black Friday looks more like Green, as in Jeff Green, as in the Boston Celtics, whom the Thunder must face at the Garden followed by the 76ers on Saturday.