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Durant, Westbrook lead Thunder past Warriors

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Updated 10 months ago on
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OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant did not like what people saw from his team in the new year. He hadn’t seen the same attitude the Oklahoma City Thunder normally plays with.

But with the Thunder reeling and in need of a victory, Durant saw his squad return to form for at least one night as they knocked off the Golden State Warriors 127-115 Friday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“When your heart is in the right place, you play good basketball,” said Durant, a forward. “I think we were playing too tense, man. I know we’re trying to play catch-up, but we still have to go out there and have fun. I think that’s what we did tonight.”

Durant poured in a game-high 36 points on 14-for-18 shooting, while guard Russell Westbrook posted his ninth career triple-double, recording a career-high 17 assists and matching a career high with 15 rebounds to go along with 17 points.

The win pushed the Thunder’s record to 19-20, and the Warriors’ NBA-best record fell to 31-6. However, Golden State won the season series 3-1.

“Russ, he does what he does,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. “Durant played a great game as well. We didn’t make him miss as much as we did last time, obviously. We let the other guys beat us too. We can’t let those other guys get going.”

With 5:30 left in the game, forward Serge Ibaka drained a jumper to put the Thunder up by 11. It was the fourth time in the quarter that he knocked down a perimeter shot coming off a Westbrook assist.

Thompson was fouled and made one of his two free throws, and after another Ibaka layup, Thompson answered with bucket to cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 116-106.

But the Thunder went to Ibaka again and he was fouled while scoring on a layup. The ensuing free throw gave the Thunder a 119-106 advantage.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry buried three free throws and hit a basket to cut the Thunder lead to nine. But Durant added to his totals with two free throws.

After a defensive stop, Thunder guard Dion Waiters dropped in an off-balance jumper to put the game away with 1:44 left.

Thompson led the Warriors with 32 points, four assists and four rebounds. Curry added 19 points, six assists and six turnovers.

“We played well. They just played better tonight,” Curry said. “We made some unforced errors, gave up a couple of easy baskets that kind of kept the momentum on their side. For the most part we fought, but just didn’t get the job done.”

Ibaka added 27 points and eight rebounds. Waiters scored 21 points off the bench on 8-of-16 shooting from the field. The Thunder outrebounded Golden State 54-43 and tied a season high with 27 assists.

Coming off a third consecutive blowout loss on the road, Durant said the team had to do a little soul searching.

“We had to look ourselves in the mirror, all of us, individually, and tell ourselves what we were doing wrong,” Durant said. “It had nothing to do with X’s and O’s, layups, jump shots. It was about looking in your heart, seeing where it’s at and coming out here and having fun.”

Like most dynamic duos in the league, Thompson and Curry often take turns igniting the team’s offense. Against the Thunder, it was Thompson’s turn to light the fuse.

Thompson dismantled the defense of Thunder guard Andre Roberson as he poured in 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting in the opening quarter.

Golden State — which played without center Andrew Bogut and forward Andre Iguodala, both of whom rested — led 35-33 heading into the second quarter.

However, as hot as Thompson was in the first quarter, Durant was equally as hot in the second. With a variety of defenders trying to check him, he scored from the perimeter and drives into the lane.

But the most impressive part of Durant’s performance was his defense on Curry. He held the quick point guard to four first-half points as the Thunder took a 69-60 advantage into halftime.

“He’s a tremendous player and I just wanted to use my length to make it tough on him,” Durant said. “Luckily, he didn’t try and score on me. Got a lot of help from my bigs. I just tried to play as hard as I can.”

NOTES: Golden State G Stephen Curry is on pace to become the second player in NBA history to average at least 23 points, four rebounds, eight assists and two steals per game for an entire season. Michael Jordan was the first. … According to multiple reports, a proposed three-way trade that would have sent Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez to the Oklahoma City Thunder has been shut down for now. But a two-way trade between the teams still seems to be a viable option. Early reports have the possible trade including Lopez for C Kendrick Perkins and G Jeremy Lamb. “I don’t comment on the speculation,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “I coach the 15 guys that Sam (Presti) gives me. Those are all speculations.” … Warriors coach Steve Kerr said C Andrew Bogut and F Andre Iguodala sat out Friday’s game to rest because of the upcoming schedule of games. “This is really unique,” Kerr said. “It’s not just four games in five days. It’s five in six-and-a-half days. We have a day game on Monday. I’ve never seen this type of schedule.”

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