In a wire-to-wire evisceration, the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Golden State Warriors, 119-98, on Wednesday night in a clash of Western Conference titans.
Three Oklahoma City players spurred the domination with 20-plus-point nights, with Kevin Durant leading the way. The Thunder star dropped 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting and also added seven rebounds and four assists in only 31 minutes of floor time.
Durant played far below his season average in minutes thanks mostly to Oklahoma City separating itself early and never relinquishing a stranglehold on the contest. After a bit of a rocky start, the Thunder walked away with a 34-22 in the first quarter and continued to find solid shots throughout the first half.
Oklahoma City walked into the halftime break ahead by 18 points and seemed well on its way to an easy victory.
As they're wont to do, the Warriors came back in the third quarter thanks to a brilliant display of shooting. Leading the way with 19 points, Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson both knocked down key shots in the third period and were slowly working their team back into the contest.
However, a 16-4 Oklahoma City run to start the fourth quarter ended just about all comeback talks. The Thunder got an especially strong effort from Kevin Martin, who scored 10 of his 21 points early in the fourth period.
That run was indicative of the Warriors' defensive struggles, which seemingly followed them from Houston. A night after allowing the Rockets to tie an NBA record with 23 three-pointers, the Warriors got eviscerated by the Thunder inside. Oklahoma City scored 64 of its 119 points in the paint, an astounding sum that was undoubtedly helped by Andrew Bogut's absence.
With two more road games coming up this weekend, Mark Jackson's squad has some on-the-fly adjustments to make if it doesn't want to drop too far in the playoff race.
Player of the Game: Kevin Durant (SF, Oklahoma City Thunder)
Simply put, there aren't many players who can make 25 points look like such a breeze. Though this wasn't his best perimeter performance of the season, Durant took advantage of Golden State's inability to protect the paint throughout the contest.
He's the smartest scorer in the league, and games like Wednesday night's exemplify that point.
What's Next for the Warriors?
The 30-19 Warriors will get a short break from the NBA grind, but it will only be to travel, as they continue their road swing against the Memphis Grizzlies Friday night.
What's Next for the Thunder?
The 37-12 Thunder also get a day of rest and relaxation before playing the Phoenix Suns on Friday at home.