Thunder Humble Warriors to Grab Edge in West Final

Washington (AFP) – Kevin Durant scored 33 points and Russell Westbrook added 30 as the Oklahoma City Thunder routed defending NBA champion Golden State 133-105 to seize the lead in their playoff series.

The Thunder grabbed a 2-1 edge in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals and seized momentum with a lopsided blowout, making Tuesday’s fourth game at Oklahoma City crucial for the reigning champs.

Golden State, which set an NBA record with 73 regular-season wins, has not lost two games in a row all season.

“We have got to keep the same intensity, same attack mode,” Westbrook said. “They didn’t have the best record in the NBA for nothing. We’ve got to come back with the same mindset and play with the same intensity.”

Either the Warriors or Thunder will face the Eastern Conference winner, the Toronto Raptors or Cleveland Cavaliers, in next month’s NBA Finals.

In addition to sparking the highest-scoring performance by any team in any NBA playoff game this year, Westbrook and Durant each added eight rebounds and blocked two shots while Westbrook also contributed 12 assists.

“We’ve got a physical team, an athletic team and we tried to use that to the best of our ability,” Westbrook said. “Our guys do a great job of putting in the work every day. My job is to put the ball in their hands.”

Stephen Curry led Golden State with 24 points and Klay Thompson added 18, but Curry hit only 7-of-17 shots from the floor, Thompson shot 8-of-19 and Draymond Green was 1-of-9.

Durant scored 23 in the first half while Westbrook added 16 as the Thunder leaped ahead in the second quarter and piled on more punishment in the second half, stretching the lead to 117-80 after three quarters and went on to match a club playoff scoring record.

The Thunder closed the second quarter on a 32-5 run to seize a 72-47 half-time edge, aided by the Warriors missing 21 of their last 23 first-half shots from the floor.

Oklahoma City outscored Golden State 22-5 on fast break points in the first half, time and again using Durant and Westbrook to penetrate the Warriors defense and slam down a dunk and simply toss in a layup.

The Warriors, who hit only 19-of-55 shots from the floor in the first half (34 percent), faced their largest half-time deficit of the season, a margin no team had ever recovered from in NBA playoff history to win.


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