OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors played stifling defense for a full game. They went on a jaw-dropping scoring frenzy midway through the third quarter.
Yes, the dominant defending champions are back and ready to build some consistency.
Kevin Durant scored 28 points while avenging an embarrassing home loss to his former Oklahoma City team earlier this month and another on the road in November, leading the Warriors past the Thunder 112-80 on Saturday night.
“We’re champions. We’re 46-14 and we’ve got one of the best road records in the league,” Durant said. “We’ve been doing this the last two years. We’ve got to be us.”
Stephen Curry added 21 points with five 3-pointers, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals as Golden State produced the kind of defensive performance coach Steve Kerr has been seeking.
Russell Westbrook had 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for Oklahoma City, which failed to reach 100 points for the first time in the last five games. The Thunder had scored at least 100 in 14 of their last 16, but this matched their season-low total.
Durant’s pretty layup off a perfect pass by Curry with 3:06 left in the third put the Warriors up 75-66. That was part of a 37-11 Golden State run that included 30 points over the final 8:48 of the third — when Zaza Pachulia subbed in to relieve JaVale McGee.
The Warriors held Paul George to five points. George’s 3-pointer at the 7:52 mark of the third with Durant’s hand in his face was his first basket after going 0-of-9 to begin the game. He finished 1-of-14 after going off for 38 points in the last meeting when Oklahoma City left Oracle Arena with a 125-105 rout on Feb. 6.
“He’s played at such a high level offensively for such a long time, a night like tonight’s going to happen,” coach Billy Donovan said.
Golden State also lost at OKC by 17 on Nov. 22.
Draymond Green added 10 points, eight assists and five rebounds. He picked up his 15th technical of the season with 1:04 left in the first half, moving him within one of an automatic suspension. That came after Durant and Carmelo Anthony pushed, shoved, yelled from close range and had to be separated, receiving double technicals.
It was a testy rematch after the Warriors received five technical fouls in the previous meeting. Kerr isn’t concerned about Green.
“I’m an emotional guy. I play with high emotion,” Green said. “I love this game of basketball. I play it with passion. I’ll continue to play with passion.”
Durant announced his decision to join the Warriors and leave OKC on July 4, 2016, making him an instant villain in his former city.
He scored 33 in the Feb. 6 meeting but got plenty of help this time.
Earlier this month against the Thunder, Curry and Klay Thompson were a combined 11-of-27 from the floor and 4-of-15 on 3-pointers as the Warriors lost for the third time in four games. Thompson had 11 points Saturday, shooting just 1-of-11 from deep.
USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt and Sam Amick break down the biggest story lines as the NBA season marches towards the playoffs.
USA TODAY Sports
TIP-INS — Thunder: OKC shot 9-of-34 on 3s. … The last time the Thunder won three of the four games against the Warriors in a single season was during 2012-13. The teams play again April 3 at OKC.
Warriors — McGee made his second straight start at center in place of Pachulia and had an alley-oop dunk on Golden State’s first possession off a pass by Thompson. … Thompson passed Neil Johnston (10,023) for ninth place on the franchise’s career scoring list. … With one block, Green passed Chris Mullin (488) for eighth place on the Warriors’ blocked shots list. … Former Warriors F David Lee attended the game as a retired player and fan, receiving a rousing ovation when announced during the first quarter sitting courtside by owner Joe Lacob.
ARIZONA SCANDAL: Kerr expressed his “disappointment” in the scandal and coach Sean Miller’s situation at Arizona, where he played.
“It’s my school,” Kerr said, “I love my school. I don’t really know what else to say.”
DURANT’S HONOR: Durant received the January NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his giving off the court to help kids, families and other charitable causes for education and communities. He donated $3 million last month to the University of Texas where he played and matched Colin Kaepernick’s $10,000 in the quarterback’s “10 for 10” campaign, Durant’s contributions helping a local organization doing community-based justice work.
“I’ve got to continue to leave my mark off the basketball court as well,” Durant said. “Look forward to doing that.”
UP NEXT: Thunder host Orlando on Monday. Warriors visit Knicks on Monday looking for an eighth straight win in the series.
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