Any Thunder-Warriors game is apt to be fierce, but this one seemed even more so than usual. Andre Iguodala, who killed the Thunder with a buzzer-beater in Oakland, wasn’t on hand, but sophomore forward Harrison Barnes had a career-high night; Klay Thompson, bottled up for the first half, came alive in the second; and Stephen Curry was, well, Stephen Curry. What’s more, Kendrick Perkins was lost early on dislocated a finger and Russell Westbrook might have been perplexed by all that noise about “rust.” With 24.3 left and the Thunder up 104-103, Thabo Sefolosha, unable to retrieve a Kevin Durant miss, settled for fouling David Lee. Lee missed the first freebie, and the Thunder called time out. (Somewhere, Phil Jackson is smiling.) Lee connected on the second, tying the score; Durant’s fadeaway just before the horn faded, and five more minutes appeared on the clock.
Usually overtime starts out fruitful for the Thunder, but they were unable to get much of anything going, and the Warriors ran off six straight points to take a 112-110 lead with 38 seconds left. Half a minute later, OKC was still looking for two to tie; and then Westbrook did unto Golden State what the Ig had done to the Thunder, draining a trey with 0.1 left. The Warriors had one chance left: pitch to the rim and pray for a dunk. KD answered their prayer with a forceful No, and it was OKC 113, Golden State 112.
Radio guy Matt Pinto pointed out that this was the fourth time this season that the Thunder trailed after three and still won. A lot of things have to fall into place to make that work. Here, it was Westbrook putting together a 34-point performance with seven assists, five steals and only one turnover; it was Serge Ibaka double-doubling again with 18 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks; and it was KD, making up in defense what he was lacking in offense, if you can call a guy who scored 25 (albeit 7-22 from the floor) “lacking in offense.” Oh, Durant also had 13 rebounds and four blocks. Twenty-five of those 113 points came from the bench; the Warrior reserves managed nine.
But damn me if Golden State doesn’t live up to its gilded name. Curry rolled up 32 points on a 13-26 night; Barnes piled up 26 for the first time ever; the three other starters also finished in double figures, though Lee, who averages about 18, was held to 10. Still, both Lee and Curry earned double-doubles, splitting 23 rebounds between them. And Jermaine O’Neal may be old, but he’s ferocious.
Five and 0 for this homestand, and two losses avenged. The third? Let’s see what happens Sunday night when the Timberwolves get here.