Late Rally Not Enough, Warriors Fall To Thunder
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OAKLAND (CBS / AP) — Kevin Durant had 37 points and 14 rebounds, Russell Westbrook dazzled with 28 points and 11 assists and the NBA-leading Oklahoma City Thunder started a critical road stretch with a 120-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.
James Harden scored 19 points off the bench and Westbrook added six rebounds in the Thunder’s fourth straight win. Oklahoma City pulled away with a 14-3 run late in the fourth quarter to begin a string of nine of 11 away from home.
Dorell Wright scored 23 and David Lee had 19 points and seven rebounds for the Warriors, who pushed another one of the NBA’s elite to the brink. While Golden State already topped Miami, Chicago and Orlando this season, rookie coach Mark Jackson’s bunch came up short this time.
The Thunder overcame a few second-half lapses before flexing their muscles for good.
Westbrook’s running layup extended Oklahoma City’s lead to 85-77 entering the final period, and the Warriors—in typical fashion— turned back the momentum with a frantic fourth-quarter rally.
Nate Robinson, with the Thunder late last season, shook off a defender with a nifty behind-the-back dribble and pulled up for a mid-range jumper that sliced Oklahoma City’s lead to three. He pumped his chest running back on defense, waving to fans and taunting his one-time Thunder teammates.
The celebration turned out to be premature.
Oklahoma City put away the pesky Warriors with a 14-3 run over the next highlight-filled five minutes. None more impressive than Westbrook’s bounce pass to Harden, who lobbed an alley-oop that Durant finished with a powerful one-handed slam.
Serge Ibaka also had 20 points and 12 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which plays at the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night. The Thunder also held guard Stephen Curry, who had a season-high 32 points Wednesday night against Portland, to 15 points and six assists.
The Thunder’s dynamic duo showed no West Coast hangover.
Durant and Westbrook sliced and soared through the middle with ease, shredding Golden State’s undersized perimeter players. The long and lengthy scorers each had nine points in the first quarter to give Oklahoma City a 26-16 lead.
The loudest noise of the period still belonged to a former Thunder teammate.
Robinson banked a shot from just beyond half court at the buzzer, bringing another sold-out crowd of 19,596 in the basketball-starved Bay Area roaring to its feet. He stared back at the Oklahoma City bench for several seconds in the 5-foot-9 guard’s familiar flair, which had some added incentive.
Robinson, a three-time NBA slam dunk champion, was sent from Boston to Oklahoma City as part of the deal that brought center Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder at the trade deadline last year. After a short and unspectacular tenure, the Thunder released Robinson before this season.
The momentum carried over and the Warriors whittled the Thunder’s double-digit lead with some strong contributions off the bench. Rookie Klay Thompson scored 10 of his 14 points in the second quarter and Brandon Rush gave Durant fits defensively.
Monta Ellis’ free throw evened the score at 50 late in the half before the Thunder scored seven straight capped by Westbrook’s jumper to go ahead 57-52 at the break.
Notes: Oklahoma City G Thabo Sefolosha didn’t play in the second half because of a sore right foot. … Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis was sitting courtside. … The Warriors have sold out six of 11 home games this season. … Thunder coach Scott Brooks grew up east of the Bay Area in Lathrop (San Joaquin County).
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