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Thunder 116, Warriors 97

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: April 12, 2013 at 6:47 pm •  Published: April 12, 2013

Nuggets from my notebook from Thursday’s win at Golden State.

  • In a must-win of sorts, a game the Thunder needed to stay in control of its own destiny, OKC came out and absolutely demolished the Warriors, a team that historically puts pressure on the Thunder inside Oracle Arena.
  • “We emphasized before the game 48 minutes of just toughness and (being) locked in,” said Kevin Durant. “They’re going to score, but we stayed locked in and poised. And I think we did that throughout the whole night.”
  • In the race for the West’s top seed, the Thunder is now a half game ahead of San Antonio with three games remaining.
  • In many ways, the final three games will be as challenging as the past five. Unlike the past five, the next three will come against sub-.500 teams, only one of which (Milwaukee) will make the postseason. It’ll be more of a mental challenge to take care of business in these final three than it was to get up for the previous five. Those were about executing and the Thunder playing up to its potential. These final three will be about showing up.
  • “We know what we have to do, man,” Durant said. “We want to win every single game. We want to play well. We want to play hard. And we want to get better. No matter who we play, we just try to bring that mindset.”
  • The Thunder started April with games against San Antonio, Indiana, New York, Utah and Golden State. All tough teams. All teams fighting for something. And OKC went 4-1 in those games. Pretty impressive. “We had a nice little stretch here with these teams, and I think we did a decent job. I wish we could have won all of them. But we just got better and I think that’s the best part.”
  • Tons of great performances tonight from the Thunder. Durant, of course, was the most dominant. He scored a game-high 31 points with10 rebounds and eight assists, finishing two assists or less shy of a triple-double for the second time in as many games.
  • Just three more games until Durant puts a bow on this 50-40-90 pursuit.
  • Five Thunder players scored in double figures. OKC improved to 26-3 when that happens.
  • Kevin Martin dumped in 23 in 19 minutes, one of the first truly magnificent performances he’s put together in a while. It was the most he’s scored since finishing with 24 on Jan. 25 against Sacramento. K-Mart was hot from the start, spraying in shots from all over the floor and being ultra aggressive catching and shooting, while also mixing in some slashes.
  • “This is a shooter’s arena,” Martin said, “so coming off the Utah game I felt like I could get into a rhythm a bit more coming into tonight’s game.”
  • A shooter’s arena is no explanation for K-Mart’s filthy putback dunk.
  • K-Mart sat out the final eight minutes with what was listed as right lower back tightness. Not sure about his status for Friday night.
  • Kendrick Perkins left tonight’s game less than two minutes into the third quarter with what was said to be right hamstring tightness. He told me after the game that he aggravated his hamstring on that gorgeous rip against Stephen Curry. He is doubtful for Friday’s game at Portland. Doesn’t sound like he’ll play.
  • Serge Ibaka was great tonight, providing energy and putbacks and blocks that sparked the Thunder. He finished with 17 points, seven boards and three rejections. He even went 1-for-2 from downtown tonight, and he got the shooter’s roll on that 3.
  • The third quarter put this game out of reach. OKC outscored the Warriors 36-23 in the period and made Golden State play catch up the rest of the way. The Thunder clamped down defensively, holding the Warriors to 9-for-23 shooting in the frame, and got quality shots at the other end, dishing 11 assists on 13 made field goals to break open the game. And, oh yeah, Durant just destroyed the Warriors, scoring 14 points with three rebounds and four assists in the quarter.
  • The Thunder had 30 assists on 42 makes.
  • Thabo Sefolosha made three more 3s tonight after draining four at Utah.
  • All in all, great effort by the Thunder. It was a win the Thunder needed and a win the Thunder got. On to the next one.
  • Up next. At Portland on Friday.

-DM-

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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