The Warriors and Thunder provided a little deja vu Thursday night, as Golden State rode a late surge past Oklahoma City 121-104, their second win over the Thunder in six days.
As has been the case for the majority of this season, Stephen Curry was the catalyst to the Dubs’ league-best 55 wins, scoring 33 points while notching four assists.
Klay Thompson had one of his better games of the season, as 21 points and a clutch dunk slammed home the final nail in Oklahoma’s coffin.
There were 15 lead changes on the night, and until the final five minutes, it was anyone’s game.
Curry opened up the game on a drive to the rim, including a made finger roll and a whistle. The three-point play put the Warriors up by nine points, and Thompson’s big dunk followed on the next possession.
Golden State held a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game.
It took all hands to complete the win, including two free throws from center Andrew Bogut, who is slowly emerging as the best free throw-shooting big man in the NBA.
Mo Speights, too, used his quarterback arm to launch a full court pass that Green slammed down after realizing a bad shot and breaking towards the Warriors basket.
The Thunder won’t be a stranger to Oracle in the Spring, and the two games versus Oklahoma City that Golden State has won are relatively unimportant in the biggest picture.
Regular season ball is small potatoes compared to playoff ball, and the attitudes that come with it are equally different. But the Warriors have proven their mettle two times in one week, against arguably the toughest opponent they will face in the playoffs.
Livingston was plus-17 in 20 minutes of play, and Speights was plus-11 over 12 minutes. Six players scored in double digits, and the team grabbed 40 boards despite the individual high being Green’s eight rebounds.
The Warriors limited their mistakes, turning the ball over just eight times, and recorded 11 steals to boot.
What’s most astonishing: the Warriors shot 54 percent from the floor.
If Golden State was looking like the betting favorite to break the Bulls all time record for wins in a season, what are they after Thursday night?
Head coach Steve Kerr said:
“50 games over .500. Crazy. You can’t even dream this stuff up. But it’s been that kind of season for us. We’ve been pretty healthy most of the way. I think the biggest thing is continuity from a year ago. I think anytime there is a new coaching staff, the second year is going to be more comfortable. Guys are going to be more confident. Combine that with winning a championship and I think our team’s confidence level is just deeper this year than a year ago.”
“We just keep our poise. Try not to get it all back in one possession. Stay the course and just chip away at it. We know that we can score in bunches, so we feel like we’re never out of a game. So there’s no need to panic.”
The Warriors have tied the record for consecutive home wins, set by the Bulls during the 1996-97 season, and face the Magic on Monday to notch the record at 45 consecutive homes wins, dating back to last season.
Golden State has the opportunity to set almost every record for wins in a season at this point.
Most consecutive home games won (37, 1995-96 Chicago Bulls), most wins in a season (72, 1995-96 Chicago Bulls), not to mention threatening for the assists per game record (31.4, 1984-85 Los Angeles Lakers), and if there was ever a way to measure excitability.
Oh, the insane television ratings. Which is another arena where the Warriors are setting records.
The win over the Thunder should be consolidating any doubt that this Warriors team is the best of the modern era of basketball. Their dominance is likely sending Las Vegas bookmakers scrambling to update their end of season odds. Every team they face gets a loss in the projection column.
And if they can beat the Thunder by 15 points, what should the spread be when the Magic fly into Oakland Monday night?
Curry is still the Dubs’ heartbeat, Draymond the canister of extra energy, and Thompson the sporadic yet effective playmaker that can pour in 40 points on any given night.
Thursday, though, the Warriors showed that they can beat teams 10 different ways, and do it against the best, with a wide final margin of victory.