Monte Poole

Durant building 'Thunder Stopper' reputation after 40-point effort

Durant building 'Thunder Stopper' reputation after 40-point effort

OAKLAND -- Kevin Durant, Thunder Stopper? With a second consecutive magnificent performance in decisive wins over his former Oklahoma City teammates, Durant may be adding a nickname.

Durant on Wednesday night posted his first 40-point game as a Warrior, carrying them to a 121-100 win over the Thunder at Oracle Arena.

He has scored 79 points in two games against OKC, taking only 40 shots to ring up such an impressive total. He was 13-of-16 Wednesday night and 15-of-24 in scoring 39 points in a 122-96 win on Nov. 3 at Oracle.

Though Durant downplayed his production, his coach and teammates were not surprised he has been so good against the team with which he spent nine seasons.

“It’s still kind of fresh, but we can’t deny the history of him with OKC,” Stephen Curry said.

“Every player in the NBA wants to play well against his old team,” coach Steve Kerr said. “For most guys, you feel that extra juice when you play against a team that you played on.”

Durant not only finished with a season-high point total but also added a team-best 12 rebounds, along with four assists and three blocks. He practically stamped his signature on the game.

“My teammates are doing a good job of freeing me up,” said Durant, who drilled 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. “I put the work in and prepared myself for every game. I just happened to knock them down.”

It’s not just that Durant was facing his former team, though. He was, once again, on opposite sides from longtime teammate and erstwhile friend Russell Westbrook. The two have not had much to say to each other since Durant’s decision last July to leave OKC and sign with the Warriors.

Little changed Wednesday night, though the two had a brief exchange in the second half, as Durant headed to the line to shoot a pair of free throws.

Asked if the two have talked, Westbrook said, “Nah,” despite the brief dialogue.

Durant carefully avoided saying anything remotely inflammatory about Westbrook or any of his former teammates.

“It’s good to see everybody,” he said. “Once the ball is tipped, you’re just playing. You’re just hooping. It’s as simple as that. But it’s definitely good to see everybody.”

Durant’s lone lowlight came when he blew a dunk with 1:45 left in the first half, taking flight about 10 feet from the basket and slamming the ball off the back of the rim and nearly to halfcourt.

“I thought I made it,” Durant said, “and then I heard the crowd.

“I was kind of upset. I tried to dunk it too hard, I think. I might have jumped from a little too far out. As I was close to the rim, I felt myself coming down a little earlier than usual.

“But, yeah, I should have made that one. That would have brought the crowd to its feet. But, hopefully, I’ll get another opportunity.”

The crowd was on its feet plenty, as was the case during Durant’s previous display against OKC. The Thunder won’t be back to Oakland this season.

Durant will have another chance to go after his former team and burnish his credentials as a Thunder Stopper when the teams meet on Feb. 11 in Oklahoma City.

 

Warriors F David West suffered fractured thumb vs Thunder

Warriors F David West suffered fractured thumb vs Thunder

OAKLAND -- Warriors center David West will miss at least two weeks after sustaining a non-displaced fracture of his left thumb Wednesday night in a 121-100 win over Oklahoma City at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors made the announcement immediately after the game, adding that West will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

West left with 7:41 remaining and did not return. The team’s primary backup center was examined immediately and upon diagnosis had his thumb wrapped in a protective splint.

“It’s a big loss,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “David has been fantastic. He’s playing so well. He’s really a big part of our second unit.”

With West typically entering late in the first quarter, his absence will force a change in Kerr’s rotation. Among those likely to be affected are Kevon Looney, JaVale McGee, Anderson Varejao and maybe even rookie Damian Jones.

“It’s definitely going to switch some things up,” Draymond Green said. “Definitely going to hurt a little bit to not have him there. But it’s an opportunity for other guys to step up.”

West totaled 8 points (4-of-5 shooting) and three assists in 11 minutes Wednesday night. He is averaging 4.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and two assists.

Instant Replay: Durant drops 40 on Thunder, fuels Warriors' win

Instant Replay: Durant drops 40 on Thunder, fuels Warriors' win

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- The Warriors closed out their homestand Wednesday night with a 121-100 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Kevin Durant punished his former team, scoring a season-high 40 points as the Warriors won their fifth consecutive game.

Three other Warriors scored in double figures, as Stephen Curry totaled 24 points, Klay Thompson had 14 and Draymond Green added 12.

The Warriors (36-6) shot 54.1 percent, including 47.6 percent beyond the arc, to help overcome 18 turnovers, 13 of which came in a sloppy first half. They limited the Thunder to 42.2-percent shooting overall for the game.

MVP candidate Russell Westbrook led OKC (25-19), with 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists -- his 21st triple-double of the season. Make that a quadruple-double, as he also committed 10 turnovers.

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
This night was made for Durant and he came through.

Durant’s line: 40 points (13-of-16 shooting, 4-of-6 from deep, 9-of-10 from the line), 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots. He played 34 minutes and was plus-31 for the game.

TURNING POINT:
After a Jerami Grant jumper pulled the Thunder into a 63-63 tie with 7:55 left in the third quarter, the Warriors came back with an 8-0 in only 43 seconds, taking a 71-63 lead with 7:12 left in the quarter.

The Warriors pushed the lead to 15 (93-78) by the end of the quarter and the Thunder got no closer in the fourth.

INJURY UPDATE:
Warriors: C David West sustained a left thumb contusion in the second half and did not return. G Klay Thompson (family matter) was listed as questionable but was available 90 minutes before game time and placed in the starting lineup.

Thunder: C Steven Adams (concussion) was listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT:
The Warriors return to action Friday, when they face the Rockets at Toyota Center in Houston. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.