Monta erupts for 48, Thunder win 119-116

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Monta erupts for 48, Thunder win 119-116

BOX SCORE
OAKLAND Monta Ellis scored a career-high 48 points, but it wasnt enough to lift the Warriors to a victory. The Thunder, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, defeated the Warriors for the second time at Oracle Arena in 11 days.Thunder 119, Warriors 116Player of the game: Warriors shooting guard Monta Ellis had a career-high 48 points, going 18-for-29 from the field and 9-for-10 from the foul line.

Key stretch: With under 20 seconds remaining, Kevin Durant missed a finger roll in the lane, but the Warriors couldnt secure the rebound. Given another opportunity, Durant banked in an 18-footer with 14.2 seconds remaining, which proved to be the game-winner.The Warriors still had plenty of time and were only down one, but they couldnt come through on their last possession. Despite being down just one, Monta Ellis shot a 3-pointer with five seconds remaining.The shot bounced off and the Thunder rebounded.You can nit-pick all you want, Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. Thats a guy with 48 points, with a wide-open shot, all by himself, on fire all night long. We executed. David had an option, turned down the drive, kicked it to Monta. Ill take it all day long. He makes it and you say: What a great play. Guy was on fire and he got a wide-open look.A wide-open look might have been a little bit of a stretch considering that Westbrook got a hand up and was close enough to Ellis that there was contact afterward and Ellis ended up on the ground.Still, Ellis, like his coach, had no issue with the shot.I was trying to get a quick shot and try to get somebody to tip it in, Ellis said. Like I said, it was a great shot. Nothing you can do about it. It didnt go down. It is what it is.Jackson questions officiating: One sentence after saying the Warriors were a no-excuse basketball team in his postgame press conference, Jackson then went ahead and criticized the officiating.That play at the end, David Lee gets hammered by James Harden, clearly, and we dont get that call, Jackson said. David Lee now picks up his fifth foul when he doesnt even put contact on Russell Westbrook, who blatantly fouls Monta Ellis. These are calls that you cannot get back but they hurt us. I dont accept My bad from my players all night long and its getting old accepting My bad for missed calls.Lee picked up his fifth foul with 6:28 remaining in the fourth quarter.Tough twosome: Ellis had a monster game for the Warriors, but so did Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunders two stars. Durant finished with 33 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, while Westbrook had 31 points and seven assists.Lees triple-double: David Lee had a triple-double -- -- the second of his career. It was also the first triple-double by a Warriors power forward since Chris Webber had one on Dec. 23, 1993, vs. the L.A. Clippers.It was the second triple-double of Lees career. His other one came when he was with the Knicks and playing against the Warriors on April 2, 2010. That night, Lee finished with 37 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists.Defense rests: As good as the Warriors were at the offensive end of the floor through three quarter, defensively, they struggled. Want proof? Well after three periods the Warriors were shooting 59.7 percent from the floor and yet only led 93-92.The Thunder were scoring pretty well themselves and shooting well, too. Through three quarters Oklahoma City was shooting 54 percent from the floor and 47.4 percent from 3-point range.Montas big half: Ellis had a monster first half, scoring 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting from the field. It was obvious from the start that Ellis was going to be aggressive as he came out and took six shots in the first six minutes.Ellis had 18 points in the first quarter, marking a season-high for points in a quarter by any Warriors player this season.Nice start: The Warriors scored 35 points in the first quarter, the most points theyve scored in the first quarter of a game this year.No Nate: The Warriors played without backup point guard Nate Robinson, who had a strained left groin. Robinson sustained the injury early in the fourth quarter of Saturdays loss at Sacramento.Robinson continued to play the rest of the fourth quarter that night, then also returned for a portion of overtime.Warriors coach Mark Jackson seemed to think Robinson would play earlier in the day at shootaround, saying: He looks fine so we expect him to be ready.

Rewind: Warriors continue to show why they are masters of self-correction

Rewind: Warriors continue to show why they are masters of self-correction

OAKLAND – Stephen Curry paused, scanning his memory, and came up empty.

Draymond Green sank into deep thought, taking even more time before conceding he was “stumped.”

Neither could remember the last time the Warriors lost consecutive regular-season games, perhaps because it was 19 months ago.

The Warriors are specialists at self-correction, and that was the case again Saturday night when, following a tough loss two nights earlier, they stepped onto the floor at Oracle Arena and played one of their more effective games this season.

Their 138-109 smacking of the Phoenix Suns was a rather comprehensive effort, with some players performing superbly and others merely well. The scoring load was shared among Curry (31 points), Klay Thompson (26) and Kevin Durant (20), while everyone brought something useful to the proceedings.

“It didn’t turn out to be a great night on the stat sheet,” coach Steve Kerr said, noting the Warriors committed 17 turnovers, off which the Suns scored 25 points. “But maybe around the nine-minute mark in the first quarter until about two minutes of the second quarter, we were fantastic.”

The Warriors (17-3) trailed by as much as six in the first before going on a 25-4 run, taking an 18-point lead, and taking command early in the second quarter. Though they stumbled enough for Phoenix to get as close as eight in the second half, there never was a sense the Warriors were facing real trouble.

With Curry and Thompson leading the scoring charge, forwards Draymond Green and Durant excelled in playmaking roles, combining for 21 assists, the most in a game by two Warriors starting forwards since 1970, when Elias Sports Bureau began tracking starters.

“It’s a little unorthodox, but our guards are great shooters, so playing them off the ball and getting the ball to KD and Draymond seems to work well,” Kerr said. “And those guys seem to enjoy playing that way.”

The victory extended to 106 their NBA-record number of regular-season games without consecutive losses. The Warriors last lost back-to-back regular-season games in April 2015, dropping games at San Antonio and then New Orleans.

So long ago that neither Curry nor Green could remember.

“Um . . . let’s see . . . I think it was my second year in the league,” Green finally guessed, wrongly.

It was his third season, and the first under Kerr.

“There’s a resiliency to our team that, obviously in this league, anything can happen,” Curry said. “So for us to be able to correct mistakes and find ways to bounce back quickly and not have multiple games in a row where we don’t show up to play says a lot about the character we have on this team.”

Though Green cited the team’s heightened focus after a loss, there is one thread that runs through Curry and Thompson and Green. All three have been dismissed at some point and, therefore, carry a burning desire to validate their status.

Perhaps no one on the team carries that edge more than Curry.

“I’d be interested the see the numbers of Steph, after we lost,” Green said. “He has incredible games after we lost. It’s just a focus level, guys really lock in and come out and do what it takes to win the next game.

“I think guys do get a little pissed off as well, which definitely helps. That is probably the biggest thing. Guys get mad about it, and it carries over.”

Perhaps feeling Phoenix was poised for a run in the third quarter, Curry rang up 20 points in that 12-minute stretch, hiking the lead beyond the reach of the Suns. It was the 16th time he has scored at least 20 points in a quarter.

There would be no ending of this underappreciated streak. Not on this night, and not with Curry and his friends on watch.

Instant Replay: Warriors' offense hits on all cylinders in win over Suns

Instant Replay: Warriors' offense hits on all cylinders in win over Suns

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND – Scorching the nets with a season-best 62.8-percent shooting, the Warriors rolled to a 138-109 rout of the Phoenix Suns before a sellout crowd Saturday night at Oracle Arena.

Five Warriors scored in double figures, led by Stephen Curry with 31 points. Klay Thompson poured in 26 points, Kevin Durant had 20, while David West and JaVale McGee came off the bench for 11 each, season highs for both.

Forwards Draymond Green and Durant had quietly monstrous games. Green put up nine points, a game-high 13 assists, five rebounds and three steals. In addition to his scoring, Durant also submitted eight assists, four rebounds and three blocks.

The Warriors (17-3) recorded 37 assists, the 14th time they have reached at least 30. No other team has done it more than four times.

Guards Eric Bledsoe (27 points) and Devin Booker (21) combined for 48 points to lead Phoenix (6-14) scorers.

STANDOUT PERFORMERS

This night belonged to many Warriors, but mostly to Curry and Thompson.

Curry’s line: 31 points (10-of-15 from the field, including 5-of-7 from deep, 6-of-6 from the line), two rebounds, two assists and a steal. He played 30 minutes and finished plus-15.

Thompson’s line: 26 points (10-of-17, 6-of-7), five rebounds, three assists and two steals. He played 34 minutes and was plus-24.

TURNING POINT

When the Suns took a 26-25 lead on an Alex Len dunk with 2:57 left in the first quarter, the Warriors responded with a 25-4 run that yielded a 48-30 lead with 9:25 remaining the second quarter.

When Phoenix battled back, getting as close as eight (68-60) early in the second half, the Warriors recovered with a 15-4 run to go up 19 (83-64) with 7:07 left in the third quarter.

The Suns drew no closer than 20 in the fourth quarter.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: No injuries listed. C Anderson Varejao was a healthy inactive. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the D-League.

Suns: F T.J. Warren (head injury) was listed as out. F Derrick Jones Jr. is on assignment with Northern Arizona of the D-League.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action Monday night, when they face the Indiana Pacers at Oracle Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:40.