The Golden State Warriors continued their amazing season Saturday with a 116-108 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder at Oakland's Oracle Arena.
Klay Thompson hit his first three-pointer in six attempts with one minute, 59 seconds left to give Golden State a 110-104 lead after the Thunder had erased a 20-point deficit to tie it at 104-104. Stephen Curry then hit a contested jumper with 33 seconds left to push the lead to six again and ice the game.
The NBA's leading scorer was clutch when it counted the most, helping extend the second-best home winning streak in NBA history, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Curry scored/assisted on the Warriors last 11 pts, leading the @warriors to a 116-108 win. They extend their home winning streak to 41 games— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 7, 2016
He couldn't help but pull out a dab after Thompson's big shot:
At 46-4, the Warriors have tied the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers for the best start through 50 games in an NBA season, per Basketball Reference.com.
This was one of the closest games the team has played, as Golden State head coach Steve Kerr pointed out in the huddle:
The 38-14 Thunder found themselves in rare air, heading into the game as 8.5-point underdogs, per Odds Shark, and Golden State fans couldn't wait to see their team take on one of the best teams in the league, per SportsCenter:
This was the line to get into Oracle 2.5 hours before the Warriors/Thunder game. pic.twitter.com/6fJMUgoxnj— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 7, 2016
Oklahoma City jumped out to a 9-0 lead, and Kevin Durant later gave his team an 18-13 advantage after this nifty crossover drive:
The lead didn't last long, however, as Golden State jumped ahead 34-31 and led by five after the first quarter. By halftime, it was 73-59 on the strength of plays like this one by Andre Iguodala:
The Warriors are starting to make scoring 70 points in a half seem easy, according to NBA on ESPN:
Warriors drop 70+ Pts in the 1st half for the 9th time this season. pic.twitter.com/uP7QzX7mLQ— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 7, 2016
However, it could be a problem for the home team's scoreboard operator, per Royce Young of ESPN.com:
Warriors put up so many points they may have ruined their scoreboard operator. Guy is having a rough night. Just had it 89-70 out of nowhere— Royce Young (@royceyoung) February 7, 2016
Curry, who extended his made-three-pointer streak to 121 games, per ESPN Stats & Info, led the team with 26 points and continued to make challenging shots look easy, per the Warriors:
However, it was an off night for Curry and Thompson from three-point range, as the duo combined to go 2-of-14 from downtown, per Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report:
And yet, the Warriors are still beating Durant and Westbrook's Thunder. This is terrifying... https://t.co/E13UnjQQOG— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) February 7, 2016
Thompson still found a way to score 18 points, including two on this slick jumper, per the Warriors:
The home crowd grew uneasy when Enes Kanter tied the game at 104-104 with a jumper, but Thompson and Curry sealed the victory.
Harrison Barnes also dropped in 19 points, Marreese Speights chipped in with 15 and Draymond Green had nine points, 14 rebounds and six assists.
Durant finished with a game-high 40 points, and triple-double machine Russell Westbrook had 27 points and 12 assists. The duo teamed up for an impressive play in the first half, per the Thunder:
But in the end, as has been the case for most of the season, the Warriors made more plays than their opponents. They are creeping closer to the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' all-time record of 72 wins. The Warriors need to go 27-5 to reach 73, which would be a lower winning percentage than their current clip of .920.
The Thunder still have a firm grasp on the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference with a four-game lead on the Los Angeles Clippers, while Golden State is in first, leading the San Antonio Spurs by 3.5 games.
Kerr noted that Curry, who had 10 assists and six rebounds to go along with his 26 points, didn’t play his best game, but was still pretty good, per Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group:
Kerr: "On a night that just wasn't his night, I thought Steph was brilliant down the stretch."— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) February 7, 2016
ESPN Stats & Info pointed out just how good Durant was, even in defeat:
Kevin Durant: 40 pts & 14 rebs.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 7, 2016
Last time a player posted 40+ pts -10+ rebs vs defending champion on the road: Ralph Sampson in 1983-84.
Despite the fact Durant was the best player on the court, Golden State still came out on top. However, Westbrook didn’t seem that impressed by the Warriors, per Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman:
Westbrook on the Warriors for those asking for video version pic.twitter.com/Jw52415tcP— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 7, 2016
It won’t be long before Westbrook and the Thunder get a second crack at Curry and Co. as they play next on Feb. 27 in Oklahoma City and then again just five days later on March 3 back in Oakland.
Both teams will be high seeds in the playoffs, and that could mean they meet in the Western Conference Finals.
NBA fans can only hope.