After splitting two classics with perennial contender Oklahoma City earlier this season, the Warriors on Friday were victimized by a spectacular performance by Thunder star Kevin Durant.
Though the Warriors threw a variety of defenses at Durant, he scored a career-high 54 points to send the Warriors out of Oklahoma with a 127-121 loss at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Durant's big night was more than enough to offset outstanding scoring shows by Stephen Curry (37 points on 11 of 18 shooting) and Klay Thompson (26 on 9 of 17 shooting).
Durant, who shot 34.4 percent in the first two meetings this season, made 19 of 28 shots, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range. On a night when the Thunder needed him to carry them – they were playing their second game in two nights – he certainly did that.
The Warriors (25-16) had no defensive answer for Durant, or anybody else in a Thunder uniform. OKC shot 58 percent, while the Warriors shot 52.4. The Warriors also lost the battle of the boards, grabbing 33 rebounds to 41 for Oklahoma City.
Newly acquired guard Jordan Crawford played 15 minutes off the bench and finished with 8 points and two assists.
Curry and Thompson shot well from the start and continued throughout. They were no match for the superstar on the other team.
Marreese Speights came off the bench for 10 points and five rebounds, while Draymond Green chipped in 10 and four as the Warriors reserves outscored OKC's bench 35-30.
Nobody, absolutely nobody, starter or reserve, stood out on defense.
After a Speights jumper narrowed the margin to 108-101 with 8:07 left, the Thunder – Durant, really – took over in the fourth quarter and blew away the Warriors.
They went on a 13-3 run, with Durant accounting for 11, to take a 121-104 lead with 4:52 left. The Warriors never threatened again.
Centers Jermaine O'Neal (right wrist surgery) and Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery), and guard Nemanja Nedovic (strained left hamstring), are out indefinitely.
The Warriors left OKC immediately after the game for New Orleans, where on Saturday night they play the Pelicans, who they have beaten them six consecutive times, including twice this season. This will mark the third and final meeting between the teams this season.