COLUMN: OKC avenges loss to Golden State in impressive fashion
It was a blowout from the start.
The Oklahoma City Thunder got its sixth win in seven games Wednesday night, beating the Golden State Warriors, 119-98. The Warriors were hoping to turn things around tonight at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, after being shellacked last night at the hands of the Houston Rockets, 140-109, but unfortunately that wasn't the case.
Golden State was flat from the start, trailing, 34-22, after the first quarter and shooting an abysmal 37 percent in the first half.
Forward Serge Ibaka led the onslaught for the Thunder going 6-for-6 and scoring 11 points in the first frame.
Forward Kevin Durant, who looks like he's enjoying the game of basketball more than anyone else in the league right now, led the Thunder with 25 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
Center Andrew Bogut, who is still recovering from left ankle surgery, was inactive tonight, which left some big shoes to be filled by forward David Lee. Lee finished with 11 points on 5-for-13 shooting from the field and was unable to get anything going down low against Ibaka and forward Kendrick Perkins, who combined for 20 rebounds and 8 blocks on the night.
The surprise of the night to me has become the emergence of point guard Reggie Jackson, who is playing some big time minutes as the teams backup point guard.
Jackson went 4-for-7 from the field with 12 points and 6 assists. The emergence of Jackson has benefited point guard Russell Westbrook more than anyone on the roster, as Westbrook no longer needs to log tons of minutes in games like the one tonight, knowing that he has a reliable point guard to back him up when he needs a breather.
Golden State tried to mount a third-quarter comeback thanks to back-to-back buckets by forward Richard Jefferson, but it was never able to get within single-digits.
The defining moment for Golden State, was when trailing by 12, mounting a comeback with four minutes to go in the third quarter, Stephen Curry botched a fast-break in which he decided to take a pull-up three with Durant in his face, which he air balled. With the chants of "air ball" raining from the rafters, the Thunder would expand its lead and never look back.
Oklahoma City was able to avenge its Jan. 23 loss at Golden State with a superb effort this evening.
Don't be surprised if we see these two teams meeting up in early May for a playoff bout. These are two of the Western Conferences youngest and most talented teams. I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot from both of them in the months to come.