Warriors stun Thunder behind Ellis’ big nightSunday, Feb 13, 2011
That, says Durant, would only complicate things.
“We can’t panic at all,” said Durant after scoring 29 points in a 100-94 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night. “If we do that, then that’s when we’ll really start to go downhill. We have to keep it positive, continue to keep working every day and learn from our mistakes.”
The Thunder made plenty of mistakes against the Warriors, a growing concern for a team that went into the night as the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference behind the Spurs and Lakers.
Five days after an overtime home loss to Memphis and one night after having to hold off lowly Sacramento 99-97, Oklahoma City committed 20 turnovers, had only two offensive rebounds to 20 for Golden State and were outscored in the paint 44-28.
That wound up being the difference as the Warriors led the entire fourth quarter and responded nicely following their 24-point loss to Phoenix on Thursday.
“We knew we had to rebound … to have a chance,” Golden State coach Keith Smart said. “We couldn’t give up second-chance points. Our guys did a great job of going to the glass early.”
Monta Ellis(notes) had 32 points, David Lee(notes) added 23 points and a season-high 19 rebounds and Stephen Curry(notes) scored 23 points and had a season-high 13 assists to lead the Warriors to their sixth win in seven games.
Oklahoma City, the NBA’s fifth highest-scoring team going in, failed to reach 100 points for the second consecutive night after hitting triple digits in its previous seven games.
The Thunder’s 20 turnovers, three shy of their season-high, led to 20 points for the Warriors.
“I blame it on me,” said Russell Westbrook(notes), who had 21 points and five assists. “I’ve been not taking care of the ball and it’s been rubbing off on my teammates. I have to figure out how to take care of the ball and make smart decisions for my teammates and not put them in bad situations.”
Like Durant, Westbrook shrugged off the Thunder’s recent stretch of games as a minor bump in the road. Oklahoma City has one more home game left before the break.
“I don’t know why it would be panic time,” Westbrook said. “All three games, we should have won. We just have to close out games and we didn’t do that tonight.”
Ellis made a 3-pointer, then fed Dorrel Wright for a fastbreak layup to give the Warriors (24-29) a 91-85 lead with 2:31 left. Westbrook then scored on back-to-back trips down the court, and following a bucket by Ellis, Green sank a 3-pointer to pull the Thunder within 93-92.
With Oklahoma City focusing its defense on Ellis and Curry, Reggie Williams(notes) buried a 3-pointer with 47.2 seconds remaining to bring the sold-out crowd at Oracle Arena to its feet. After Durant made two free throws, Curry drove the lane, then dished to Lee under the basket for a game-sealing dunk.
Curry’s 13 assists were a season high for Golden State. He also didn’t turn the ball over, a notable achievement for the second-year guard.
“Everything felt good out there,” Curry said. “I was composed and if I got myself into tough situations, I was able to get out of there. It was a matter of being aggressive, but staying smart about it.”
The 23 points are Lee’s most since he had 31 in a loss to San Antonio on Jan. 24. Since then, the Warriors’ prized offseason acquisition had been in a scoring slump and was averaging only 14.1 points in his previous eight games before busting out against the Thunder.
Oklahoma City (34-19) struggled offensively and looked out of sync most of the night while playing in the second half of a back-to-back. The Thunder beat Sacramento 99-97 on Saturday, then made the hour-long trip south to Oakland for the nationally televised game against the Warriors where they came up short most of the night.
Smart preached to his team before the game about containing Durant, but the Thunder’s All-Star selection had nine points in the first quarter while Westbrook sat on the bench saddled in foul trouble.
Smart’s message to his players kicked in in the second quarter as Durant scored just two points and took only two shots.
Westbrook took over, scoring the final nine points of the half for Oklahoma City but Golden State closed out the second quarter with a 10-4 run to take a 47-43 lead into halftime.
The Thunder briefly led in the third following a 3-pointer from Westbrook, but Curry and Lee combined for 10 points apiece, 14 of the Warriors’ last 17 points, to help Golden State increase its lead to eight points.
Notes: The Thunder are 6-4 the second night of back-to-backs. … Oklahoma City F James Harden(notes) left the game with a lower-back injury in the fourth quarter after he fell to the floor after getting the ball stolen by Ellis.