By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Using a late push, the Golden State Warriors shocked Oklahoma City 104-99 Wednesday night in Oakland. Here’s some rapid reaction:
OKC had the Warriors where they wanted them, leading by five with less than five minutes left, with the league’s best closer red hot from the field. But then it all fell apart. During a two-minute stretch (between 4:22 and 2:25 in the fourth quarter), Golden State hit 4/4 shots. The Thunder went 0/3, with two misses and a turnover from Durant and a brick from Westbrook. Suddenly, that five-point lead was a three-point deficit.
It was over when…
…Durant’s impressive night screeched to a sudden halt, starting with the aforementioned missed shots and ending with an uncharacteristic misread on the game’s critical possession. Down by two with 14 seconds left, Durant curled off an in-bound screen and fired an errant pass right to Warrior star Stephen Curry. It looked like he expected Perkins to cut, but in crunch time, with the game on the line, this is his team. And that was his mistake.
Star of the game – Stephen Curry
One of the smoothest games in the league, Curry’s jumper is feathery and his rare ability to finish at awkward angles around the rim is underrated. He didn’t shoot well (11/27 overall, 2/14 from three), but his impact was felt, with 31 HUGE points, seven assists, four steals and countless big plays. All-Star reserves are announced Thursday and Curry is on the bubble (which will likely burst). But if voters take into account his closing act, he could be heading to Houston.
A truly awful night from OKC’s dominant but occasionally erratic point guard. He shot a brutal 3/16 from the field, missing all five of his threes and tying a season-low with only 10 points. His six turnovers were sloppy and his defense, especially on Curry, was underwhelming. But Westbrook’s good for about seven of these stinkers per year. And he hadn’t delivered one in awhile.
Stats of note
-Kevin Durant is 55/57 from the free throw line the past four games (a ridiculous clip), but he missed in a crucial spot late in the game.
-Durant has scored 30+ points in seven of the past eight games.
-The Thunder lost its first game of the season when leading after three quarters. OKC was 29-0 in that situation entering the night.
An Oklahoma hooping legend weighing in on Curry’s unfiltered shot selection
Game five of this season-long six-game road trip comes in Sacramento on Friday night. And it’s likely to be the last time OKC plays in what was formerly known as Arco Arena.