All-Star small forward Kevin Durant returned to the Thunder's starting lineup Sunday after sitting out two games with a sprained left knee. He learned Saturday night he had been cleared to play.
â€œIt felt good. I was excited,â€ said Durant, the league's defending scoring champ and league leader again this season. Durant finished with 28 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field and 11 of 12 from the free-throw line in the 114-109 victory over Golden State inside Oklahoma City Arena.
The plan was to rest Durant the entire fourth quarter with the Thunder owning a 90-70 lead.
â€œThe plan also was to play better in the fourth and not give up 39 points,â€ Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.
Warriors guard Stephen Curry finished with 39 points and six assists. He shot 14 of 20 from the field, 4 for 7 from 3-point range and 7 for 7 from the free-throw line.
Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook drew the unenviable task of guarding Curry.
â€œOh, he's a great young guy,â€ Westbrook said of Curry.
The 22-year-old Westbrook paused and corrected himself. â€œI'm talking about young. He's older than me,â€ Westbrook said with a chuckle.
Curry actually is six months older than Westbrook. Asked to explain why he thought Curry was younger, Westbrook said: â€œI don't know. Maybe it's because he looks younger, but he's older than me.â€
ONLY ON SUNDAYS
With the victory, the Thunder is now 1-4 on Sundays this season.
â€œHey, we won on a Sunday. I like the 9:30 (a.m.) shoot-around. I think that was the difference,â€ Brooks claimed.