The game wasn't a minute old when Russell Westbrook caught a pass from Kevin Durant in the right corner and right off the bat revealed how he would be in complete control.
Westbrook had the green light to launch a 3-pointer. But with a defender closing in, Westbrook instead put the ball on the floor and fired a pass to a wide open Serge Ibaka who stood just above the foul line. With ample space, Ibaka smoothly swished an 18-footer.
It was the first of many magnificent decisions Westbrook made.
With its floor general in total command, the Thunder cruised to a 119-98 victory over Golden State on Wednesday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Westbrook scored 22 points with three rebounds and five assists, which isn't even his typical stat-stuffing performance. But you won't find many better all-around efforts by Westbrook this season than what he did against the Warriors.
When a teammate was open, Westbrook got him the ball. When the Thunder needed a bucket, Westbrook barreled to the rim and got a good one. When the Warriors were desperate for any type of offensive rhythm, Westbrook came up with a deflection to assure they would never land on it.
“I like the fact that he competed on both ends of the floor at a high level,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “He has the ability to be one of the best two-way players in the game and he's been showing that all year.”
After watching Warriors guard Stephen Curry led his team to a win in the last meeting between the teams, Westbrook's defense helped to hold Golden State's leading scorer to 14 points on 5-for-20 shooting. Curry had 11 assists and eight rebounds but also turned the ball over six times.