Kevin Durant talked about how when he faced the Oklahoma City Thunder for the first time, he’d treat it as just another game.
But for everyone else this game was circled on the calendar as a game of people looking for revenge.
Russell Westbrook and the whole Thunder organization wanting revenge on Durant, Steven Adams’ groin wanting revenge against Draymond Green’s flailing foot. The Warriors cruised to a 122-96 win against the Thunder,though, thanks to Durant erupting for 39 points, with 16 coming in the second quarter.
Thursday night was all about Durant, though, who left the crowd chanting his name by game’s end. What makes his numbers even more absurd is Durant got to the line just three times, a staple of his game, almost all of his points came during live action.
Draymond Green said that a point of emphasis for the team was to let Durant know he wasn’t going into this game by himself:
“Obviously we knew that was a huge game for him and he wanted to win that game. We knew that was huge for him and we wanted to rally around him and make sure we got that done. I think everybody took on that challenge.”
The Warriors should probably thank Jerami Grant, whose dunk over Durant with three minutes left in the first quarter put the Thunder up 29-19.
That dunk and subsequent stare down and trash talk ignited a white-hot flame that was Durant, who claimed only three points to that point.
Durant said that that point definitely was something that ignited both teams:
“When you get dunked on like that, you want to come back and as a competitor you want to come back at him. He ignited his team with that dunk and I just tried to do the same throughout the whole game.”
He scored 26 points in the next 15 minutes.
Steve Kerr said trash talking Durant probably isn’t the smartest of moves:
“Did he say a few words to him? Yeah, that’s not a good idea. I think that did get him going a little bit.”
The Warriors went on a 49-14 run to end the half. Nearly lost in Durant’s insane run was that the Warriors defense finally showed signs of being the dominant unit it was before, holding the Thunder to just 11 points in the second quarter.
Throughout the run Durant was chirping at everyone on the Thunder, even people who weren’t on the court at the time:
“If you talk to me I’m going to talk back. I don’t really say much, but if you start I’ll finish it. [Enes Kanter] was talking to me, but how many minutes did he play? Three minutes. I’m trying to focus on whoever’s on the court. But I’m sure he’s going to put something on Twitter tonight.”
Westbrook got his numbers, 20 points, six rebounds, 10 assists, but it was on a very quiet 4-of-15 shooting performance, along with six turnovers.
The Warriors were also looking for a measure of revenge. Not so much for anything that happened with the Thunder during last years playoffs, but for their home opener where they were dismantled by the Spurs.
For a team that lost just two games on their home court during the regular season last year by a combined 10 points, to lay an egg and get blown out by 29 in their debut was not something that sat well.
The Warriors’ interior defense continues to be a problem, though, highlighting just how valuable Andrew Bogut was to Golden State.
Adams scored nine points on 4-of-5 shooting with two offensive rebounds, which included scoring the Thunder’s first four points, all on offensive boards.
But the Warriors found an answer as Adams finished with just 11 points and four rebounds, and limiting players like that is going to go a long way in dictating the team’s success this year.
Kerr credited Zaza Pachulia with keeping Adams at bay after his big first quarter:
“Obviously the focus is going to be on Kevin as it should be. But I thought Zaza was fantastic tonight battling Steven Adams. Adams is tough, he’s such a big, strong player. We are lucky to have Zaza down there, really giving us that strength inside to battle people like that.”
The Warriors take a short trip down south as they face off with old friend Luke Walton and the Los Angeles Lakers tomorrow, before getting a three-day break.
This was Curry’s 500th regular season game as a member of the Warriors, he is 17th player to reach 500 games for the Warriors in franchise history…Durant has now scored 20 points in 69 consecutive games, which ties the longest streak in NBA history set by Michael Jordan…Thompson shot 4-of-8 on 3’s tonight and is shooting 19 percent on the season… Green picked up his second technical of the season, tying for the league lead.