Thunder rout Warriors in playoff tuneup
ORACLE ARENA — The Warriors may have advanced to the playoffs, but nobody is predicting they’ll make it past the first round no matter who they’re facing.
If they can hang onto the sixth seed in the West, their opponents are either Memphis, the Los Angeles Clippers, or the Denver Nuggets.
If the Warriors fall to the seventh or eighth seed, they’re looking at either Oklahoma City or San Antonio.
Golden State is a collective 5-13 this season against their prospective first-round opponents.
Thursday night, facing premium playoff competition, the Warriors were routed by the Thunder 116-97.
Kevin Durant scored a game-high 31 points with 10 rebounds and eight assists. Kevin Martin off the bench added 23 for Oklahoma City which has the best record in the Western Conference at 58-21, leading San Antonio by 1/2 a game.
Warriors head coach Mark Jackson said after the loss says his team didn’t match the effort by the Thunder:
Warriors coach Mark Jackson
“Even before (the third quarter), they played playoff basketball and we didn’t. That was a team that is chasing the number one seed and was trying to send a message just in case I see you at some point down the road.”
In the first quarter, Andrew Bogut left the game with a sprained left ankle and will not travel to Los Angeles to play the Lakers Friday.
The Thunder turned it on late in the second quarter. After an emphatic slam dunk by Festus Ezeli with 6.5 seconds left in the half, Thabo Sefolosha’s 3-pointer just before the buzzer gave Oklahoma City a 60-54 lead at the break.
In the third quarter, the Thunder pushed the lead into double digits. Sefolosha drained a pair of threes to put Oklahoma City up by 13 points as part of a 9-2 run.
From that point on, the Thunder maintained their cushion and pulled away to lead 96-77 at the end of three quarters.
Warriors guard Stephen Curry
“That’s who was the team to beat. They proved it last year and they’re doing it again this year. For us to have a performance like that on our home court is tough to swallow but we’re a resilient team that will find a way to get it done.”
With 8:14 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Warriors had conceded defeat, taking all their starters off the floor.
No time for Golden State to pout over this loss. The team has to play in Los Angeles Friday night to take on the Lakers and need a win to maintain the sixth spot in the West. The Warriors currently lead the seventh place Rockets by only 1/2 a game.
Warriors forward David Lee
“In this case you kind of have to just let it go because we have to get right back on the court tomorrow and sometimes when you don’t play your best game it’s nice to not have two days off and get right back on the court to try to play better basketball.”
The Warriors’ other remaining opponents are the Spurs in the home finale Monday night and at Portland on Wednesday.
The Warriors have lost four straight season series to the Thunder with a record of 3-14 over that span. … Curry has 252 3-pointers on the season joining Ray Allen (269), Dennis Scott (267), and George McCloud (257) as the only players in NBA history to post 250 or more threes in a season. … Lee had 13 points and 11 rebounds for his 54th double-double of the season. … The Thunder are 9-1 when Martin scores 20 or more points off the bench.