OAKLAND, Calif. — Things are looking pretty good for that top spot.
In what set up as a must-win game of sorts for the Thunder to stay in the driver’s seat in its quest to finish first in the Western Conference standings, Oklahoma City marvelously rose to the occasion, crushing Golden State 116-97 on Thursday night inside a rowdy Oracle Arena.
With the win, the Thunder moved a half game ahead of San Antonio with three left to play. Both teams will be in action Friday night, the Thunder concluding this three-game trip at Portland, while the Spurs host Sacramento.
Kevin Durant scored a game-high 31 points with 10 rebounds and eight assists to lead the Thunder. It was the second time in as many games that he finished two assists or less shy of recording his fourth triple-double.
“I just tried to come out there with a different edge, just leading my team in a different way,” Durant said. “No matter if my shots weren’t going down or I was turning the ball over, I just wanted to stay locked in and focused. Luckily my teammates got me going early.”
Kevin Martin made eight of 10 shots, including four of five 3-point attempts to finish with 23 points off the bench. It was the most the Thunder’s sixth man has scored since pouring in 24 against his former team, the Sacramento Kings, on Jan. 25.
Russell Westbrook chipped in 18 points with nine assists, Serge Ibaka added 17 points and seven rebounds and Thabo Sefolosha finished with 10 points, the fourth time in seven games that he’s scored in double figures. The Thunder, meanwhile, improved to 26-3 when five players score in double digits.
“Everybody was feeling good tonight,” Durant said.
Thursday’s balanced attack was a product of non-stop ball movement, which led to countless quality shots. The Thunder racked up 30 assists on its 42 made field goals and shot 50.6 percent for the game. OKC also drained 12 of 27 3-pointers, the fourth time in five games that the Thunder converted at least nine 3s.
“I loved the team effort,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.