ORACLE ARENA — The NBA hangs its hat on individual performances and hard-nosed team basketball.
The Warriors threw out the usual idea that the two are mutually exclusive, combining them for a 117-91 team-driven win over the Thunder packed with individual highlights from almost the entire roster.
Golden State had an answer for everything Oklahoma City threw at it and did it with a flair that has become customary at Oracle.
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks gave all the credit to the Warriors and said his team was thoroughly outplayed:
“We didn’t have an off night. They outplayed us. They made us not play well. They’re the best team in basketball.”
From the outset, the Warriors dunked, dribbled circles, alley-ooped, sank three-pointers, and passed dimes en route to a 20-point halftime lead that was only extended by the final buzzer.
Klay Thompson started off the night scoring 13 points in the first 3:47. Though foul trouble stopped his early hot streak, he wasn’t finished.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
In the third quarter, Thompson missed a dunk, then came back on the following possession determined to make up for the misstep, slamming over the reigning MVP, Kevin Durant.
Last time the Warriors and Thunder met Dec. 18, Durant was on pace for a historic individual performance before tweaking his ankle and sitting out the second half, scoring 30 points in just over 18 minutes of play.
The Warriors managed a five-point win that night, behind 34 points from Stephen Curry.
Curry didn’t hit the 30-point mark Monday, but with off-the-wall ball handling, he racked up his own highlight reel full of dribble-drives and step-back threes before receiving MVP chants midway through the final frame.
Steve Kerr told SFBay he’s never seen anyone with a skill set like Curry’s, and that he’s incredible to watch day in and day out:
“He made a three from about 35 feet like it was nothing and made a play in the first half and he did a couple things with the ball, I don’t even know how he got to there then bounced the ball through someones legs and it was just remarkable. What I love about him is he’s always trying to get better.”
Harrison Barnes added to the frenzy by scoring a game-high and season-high 23 points while going 5-of-5 from downtown. Draymond Green had another spectacular night with an 11-point 13-rebound double-double.
Even when Green, Thompson and Curry each sat on the bench in foul trouble and the Thunder looked poised to make a comeback in the game, the Warriors reserves held on defensively and never allowed Oklahoma City to gain any real traction.
It was hardly just the Warriors starters who lit up during Golden State’s blowout victory. Justin Holiday became the fifth Warrior of the night to reach double figures with 12 points.
Shawn Livingston had a dribble-dirive, quick-reverse layup that was shown repeatedly on the jumbo screen and Andre Iguodala answered pesky defense from Reggie Jackson by hitting a trey, while being fouled and falling to the floor, then converting the 4-point play.
Iguodala finished the night with eight points, four rebounds, and six assists with zero turnovers. He told SFBay what he enjoys the most is when the highlight plays come off of perfect execution — which is what the Warriors had against the Thunder:
“Its a lot of fun when we’re playing the right way and we’re making the extra pass and we’re converting the second and third options of a play without there being a hiccup within the offensive motion. If you’re a student of the game you enjoy when the game is played the right way at the highest level and tonight I feel like we had that going.”
The Warriors, now 27-5, will play the fifth of a six-game home stand against the 14-22 Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.
Golden State held Oklahoma City to 30-of-98 from the field (30.6 percent), a season-low for a Warriors opponent and the fifth-lowest percentage in a game this season. … Draymond Green tallied his third consecutive double-double, finishing with 11 points and 13 rebounds to go with five assists and three blocks. … Harrison Barnes finished with a season-high 23 points, his third 20-point game of the season (11th career), hitting a career-high tying five threes on five attempts, becoming the first Warrior to go perfect from long distance on at least five attempts since current Thunder guard Anthony Morrow did so on March 8, 2010. … Klay Thompson finished with 19 points, hitting 3-of-5 from deep, his 11th straight game with multiple three-pointers, the longest active streak in the NBA. … Justin Holiday scored in double figures for the fourth time in seven games, his fifth career double-digit scoring game, with a team-hgih 12 points off the bench.