COACHING CHANGES EXPANDED MATCHUPS DEPTH CHARTS CURRENT ODDS
NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, November 14th (All times Eastern)
Oklahoma City Thunder (5-2) at Golden State Warriors (5-3), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The NBA's leading scorer meets one of the league's highest-scoring teams when Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder visit the Golden State Warriors Thursday at Oracle Arena.
Durant is averaging 30.6 points per game and has scored at least 33 points in each of his last three contests. He has eclipsed the 30-point mark five times in seven games this season.
The Warriors can only hope to cool off Durant and are averaging 103.9 ppg this season, while allowing only 96.1 ppg.
Oklahoma City had a four-game winning streak come to an end with Wednesday's 111-103 loss at the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers came alive in the third quarter, outscoring the visitors by a 30-16 margin, but still could only contain Durant, who finished with 33 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. Durant had five turnovers and the Thunder committed 22 overall, leading to 24 L.A. points.
"We turned the ball over too many times in the second half," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks admitted. "They also had 17 or 18 offensive rebounds. Those two things hurt us. No excuses, they beat us."
Russell Westbrook posted 19 points and 10 assists and Serge Ibaka netted 13 points. Ibaka and Clippers forward Matt Barnes were ejected in the first half after getting into a brief scuffle. Barnes came to the aid of teammate Blake Griffin when Ibaka thrust his arm free after the two were tangled up. Griffin received a technical foul for his involvement. Fines and suspensions could be handed out by the league.
Oklahoma City fell to 2-2 on the road and will also visit Milwaukee on this three-game road trip. Thunder center Kendrick Perkins did not play Wednesday for personal reasons and is day-to-day.
The Warriors will welcome the challenge of Durant and OKC Thursday night and were able to snap a two-game slide with Tuesday's relatively easy 113-95 triumph over the Detroit Pistons.
Golden State showed no mercy in the first quarter and led 35-16 after 12 minutes. The game was tight from there, but the Pistons never posed a serious threat because the hosts shot 60 percent for the game and made 8-of-16 from beyond the 3-point line.
Steph Curry was the leading scorer with 25 points and both David Lee and Jermaine O'Neal tallied 17. Andre Iguodala had eight points, a season-high tying 11 assists and two steals for a high-octane Warriors squad that has trailed for only 23 seconds in three home games.
"I thought we did an outstanding job of sharing the basketball," Golden State head coach Mark Jackson said. "We just made plays."
Golden State has opened its home schedule with three straight double-digit victories for the first time since 1990-91, when the team turned the trick six games in a row. In fact, all five of Golden State's wins have come via double figures.
Jackson is all about defense and his players are listening. The Warriors have held their opponent to under 40 percent shooting in five of their first eight games, which is good enough for fourth in the NBA in opposing field goal percentage. The Warriors are first in opponent's 3-point percentage (.276).
The Warriors still have Utah to play on this three-game homestand and are meeting Oklahoma City for the first time since losing three of four matchups in 2012-13. The Thunder have won 11 of the last 14 games in this series.
Golden State is just 5-13 against OKC since the team moved from Seattle.
11/14 10:25:20 ET