Warriors-Thunder Preview

The Associated Press

Since playing a high-scoring thriller two weeks ago, the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder have found themselves going in opposite directions.

The Thunder are unbeaten since losing that meeting and have a chance to avenge it Friday night when they host the slumping Warriors.

Golden State beat Oklahoma City 116-115 on Andre Iguodala's fadeaway at the buzzer Nov. 14 at Oakland after losing seven of the previous eight meetings.

"They're a great team," Thunder coach Scott Brooks then said of the Warriors. "Couldn't ask for a better game. Unfortunately, somebody had to lose."

While Brooks' club has followed that defeat by winning a season-best five in a row, Golden State has gone 3-4 with two of those wins coming against league-worst Utah.

Oklahoma City's bench scored just 25 points when the teams faced off but has been much better since that matchup. That depth was showcased in the Thunder's last game, when they halted San Antonio's 11-game winning streak with a 94-88 victory Wednesday.

While All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook struggled, scoring a season-low six points on 2-of-16 shooting, backup Reggie Jackson tied a career high with 23 points. Fellow reserve guard Jeremy Lamb added 12, scoring in double figures for a third straight game.

"We're just another athletic backcourt that is always in attack mode trying to find shots for ourselves and others," Jackson said.

Jackson is averaging 10.8 points in just 23.5 minutes per game. He leads a bench unit that shoots 46.2 percent from the field, fourth-highest in the NBA.

During the five-game win streak, Thunder reserves are averaging 32.8 points.

Still, the leader against the Spurs was Kevin Durant, who had team highs of 24 points and 13 rebounds. He's leading the NBA with 28.2 points per game but feels the Thunder's effort on the defensive end has keyed the win streak.

"It's just a combination of us using our length, making second and third efforts and just playing hard," Durant told the team's official website.

"When we make mistakes on the perimeter, we know our big guys are there to have our back. That's what trust is about and that's what a team that has been together so long, we have that trust."

The Thunder (10-3) played their worst defensive game against the Warriors, allowing season highs in points and field-goal percentage (47.9). Golden State made 14 of 23 from 3-point range, with Klay Thompson hitting six 3s and scoring 27 points.

The Warriors (9-7) top the NBA in 3-point shooting at 43.7 percent. Thompson is first in the league with 52 3-pointers made, Stephen Curry ranks fourth with 42 and they combined for nine Wednesday, but Golden State fell 103-99 at Dallas.

Curry was 6 of 10 from 3-point range and had 29 points, his most in three games since sitting out a pair due to a concussion.

"I think he's gaining a rhythm right now," Jackson said. "It's a rhythm that he hasn't had. Even though he's putting together a solid season, he hasn't had a rhythm. I think he is close to breaking out."

Curry, though, had six of the team's 18 turnovers that resulted in 30 points for the Mavericks. The Warriors have given it up an average of 17.6 times per game, fourth-most in the NBA.

The Thunder force 16.1 turnovers a game, though Golden State had just seven when the teams last met.

"You can't go on the road against a good basketball team and give them extra possessions," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "That's not who we are and that's not the way we're built."

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