NBA Gameday: Without Durant, Warriors still favored at OKC

NBA Gameday: Without Durant, Warriors still favored at OKC

The Warriors make their second trip of the season to Oklahoma City, and though once again there will be hatred in the air, the storyline this time will be very different.

Whereas that Feb. 11 game featured the return of Kevin Durant to the city he represented for eight years, the matchup Monday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena pits reigning MVP Stephen Curry against rampaging MVP candidate Russell Westbrook.

Though Durant is injured and unavailable, the animosity is starting to feel personal between these teams, and certainly between some of the individuals.

The Warriors (55-14) are trying to win four straight for the first time this month, while OKC (40-29) has won five in a row, the longest active streak in the NBA.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 1

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Klay Thompson vs. Russell Westbrook. It’s a fairly simple equation to beating the Thunder, and it starts with limiting the damage done by Westbrook. OKC is 12-23 when he does not post a triple-double. The problem, however, is that he has 34. The Warriors will alternate defenders on Westbrook -- it takes a team to have any hope of containing him -- but Thompson, four inches taller, will get the bulk of the work.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain, tibial bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Thunder: No injuries listed.

LAST 10

Warriors: 5-5. Thunder: 6-4.

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won the first three meetings this season, the last six in the regular season and nine of the last 10. The teams met in the 2016 Western Conference Finals, won by the Warriors in seven games.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE 3-BALL GAME: Behind Klay Thompson and Curry, the Warriors are one of best, ranking third in shooting percentage (38.1) beyond the arc. The Thunder (33.0) are among the worst, ranking 28th. The Warriors will work to prevent penetration -- OKC leads the league in paint points -- and force jump shots.

THE GLASS WAR: OKC is a proficient rebounding team, particularly good on the offensive glass. With the Thunder ranking fifth in second-chance points, the Warriors will have to emphasize such fundamentals as blocking out -- something they sometimes neglect.

THE TURNOVER BATTLE: Though the Warriors are susceptible to turnovers, they generally have gotten better in recent months. OKC, however, is in an entirely different league, ranking 27th in assist-to-turnover ratio. The only teams worse are the Suns, Nets and Lakers. This is a formula that could allow the Warriors to trigger their transition offense.

Warriors' championship-level defense may never get recognition it deserves

Warriors' championship-level defense may never get recognition it deserves

The Warriors talk defense from sunup to midnight, and maybe beyond. They explain why defense is essential to their offense, which gets universal praise -- accolades that should go to their defense.

The latest example came Monday, when the NBA announced its All-Defensive teams.

Warriors forward Draymond Green was voted to the first team, one vote short of unanimously, and none of his teammates joined him on the five man first team.

Or the five-man second team.

Guard Klay Thompson finished 12th in the balloting, with 45 votes, including 16 for first place. He was omitted from 71 of 100 ballots.

Forward Kevin Durant finished 23rd, with six votes, all second place. He was omitted from 94 ballots. Guard Stephen Curry finished 29th, with three votes, omitted from 97 ballots.

Forward Andre Iguodala finished 30th, with three votes, including one for first place, and was omitted from 98 ballots.

As always, there was some dubious voting, including the omission of Green from one ballot and the inclusion of Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas -- who ranked 410th among the league’s 411 defenders with a rating -- on one ballot.

But the Warriors continue to be identified by their No. 1-ranked offense while being more accurately defined by their defense, which ranked No. 2 in defensive rating.

It ranked No. 1 in practically every other category that matters. The Warriors were tops in field-goal percentage defense (overall and from 3-point distance), fewest points per shot, blocks and steals.

But if they were hoping for more recognition for the primary reason why they’ve won two championships in three seasons -- and more regular-season games in a three-year span than any team in NBA history -- that’s not happening.

Not now, and maybe not any time soon when folks are so mesmerized by the offensive fireworks provided by Curry, Durant and Thompson.

Draymond Green receives most votes on 2016-17 NBA All-Defensive Team

Draymond Green receives most votes on 2016-17 NBA All-Defensive Team

For the third straight season, Draymond Green is considered one of the best five defenders in the NBA.

The NBA announced Monday that Green was named to the 2017 NBA All-Defensive First Team.

Of the 100 ballots submitted, according to the NBA, Green received 99 first-place votes, but no second-place votes, meaning one voter left Green off their ballot.

Green is joined by Utah's Rudy Gobert, San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles' Chris Paul and Houston's Patrick Beverley.

Gobert and Leonard also recieved 99 of a possible 100 First or Second team votes.

Green, Leonard and Gobert are the three finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year, which will be announced Monday night during the NBA Awards Show in New York.

Green is the first player in Warriors franchise history to earned All-Defensive First Team honors three years in a row.

In a season when he had several game-saving plays, Green averaged 10.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.38 blocks and a league-leading 2.03 steals in 76 games. Green was also the first player in franchise history with at least 150 steals and 100 blocks in a season.

Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson received eight First-Team votes and 29 Second-Team votes for a total of 45 points. NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant received six Second-Team votes. Sixth Man of the Year candidate Andre Iguodala received one First-Team vote and one Second-Team vote. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry received three Second-Team votes.

Below are the voting results for the 2016-17 NBA All-Defensive Teams. The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP. Complete media ballots will be posted at NBA.com/official tomorrow (Tuesday, June 27).