Heading to the All-Star break, the Golden State Warriors were in unfamiliar territory. Struggling to defend, needing the break and looking up in the standings.
Their first test came tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder a team that had won the two previous meetings by double digits.
Surprisingly enough, neither team shot well to begin the game and at one point the Thunder led 35-34 with a little under five minutes left in the first half. It seemed that this game was likely to become one of those gritty tought fought games for either team.
Yet, with a little over two minutes to go in the second quarter Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant got into a verbal altercation after being tangled up resulting in a double technical. Anthony also got assessed an offensive foul.
Durant hit a three and Stephen Curry nailed one resulting in a seven point advantage. Draymond Green then picked up a technical on a questionable call as his reputation got him. His gestures to get the crowd going was not appreciated by official Scott Wall.
By halftime, the lead held at seven. A sloppy start to the third quarter by Golden State resulted in an 11-0 run by Oklahoma City. The warriors began to take over towards the end of the quarter and it all started with Anthony getting the crowd going. Green inadvertently hit him on the head while contesting a jumper. Durant played peacemaker and the Warriors then ended on a 11-0 run. Highlighted by Nick Young making a three as time expired.
Paul George ended the run with a free throw, yet struggled going 1-14 from the field. He wound up with a technical after a frustrating night for him offensively.
Tonight proved for the Warriors that the defense is back holding the Thunder to 80 points their lowest total of the season. George, Anthony and Russell Westbrook combined to shoot 11-46 from the field and 3-14 from beyond the arc. Overall Oklahoma City shot 33 percent from the field.
Westbrook ended the night with 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, Anthony and Steven Adams finished with 14 points.
For the Warriors, Durant led the way with 28 points and five rebounds, Curry went for 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists and Young contributed 16 points off the bench.