OAKLAND — Facing his old club for the second time, Kevin Durant produced his first 40-point game as a Golden State Warrior on Wednesday night at Oracle Arena.
“It’s good to see everybody,” Durant said after the Warriors took care of the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-100. “But once the ball’s tipped, it’s just playing, just hooping. It’s as simple as that.”
In his two meetings with the Thunder, Durant has utterly dominated his ex-employer. After dropping 39 points on Oklahoma City back on Nov. 3 in the 122-96 beatdown, Durant has now totaled 79 points in 65 minutes.
“Every player in the NBA wants to play well against his old team,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “And for most guys you feel that extra juice when you play against a team that you played on and I think it’s even more so for KD because of his history with the franchise.”
As has become habit, the Warriors used an explosive third quarter to separate from their guests. Durant, who needed just 16 shots to hit the 40-point mark, was right in the middle of the rally.
“The efficiency level of this guy is just amazing,” Kerr said. “He’s probably not going to win the MVP because there’s a lot of people out there who are playing extremely well, but I don’t think anybody’s more efficient.”
Just over four minutes into the half, the Warriors found themselves tied with the Thunder, 63-63. That’s when the the Dubs opened up an eight-point advantage in the span of 32 seconds, sparked by a 3-pointer from Durant.
The key stretch also featured a pair of buckets from Klay Thompson, a steal by Draymond Green and a forgettable moment for Russell Westbrook who was called for a travel after taking six steps before remembering that he had to dribble.
“It was funny, obviously,” Stephen Curry said of Westbrook’s lapse. “You could tell he was just worried with calling out the play and getting his guys in the right spots and he forgot to dribble.”
Durant hit three of his five 3-pointers during his 13-point third quarter as the Warriors entered the final frame with a 93-78 advantage.
The second-half explosion followed what was yet another lackadaisical and often sloppy opening two quarters. Heading into the break, the Warriors had amassed 13 turnovers.
“We actually took care of the ball,” Kerr said. “That was the only adjustment we made. We had 13 turnovers in the first two quarters and one in the third quarter and that was the difference.”
While the win over the Thunder pushed the Warriors’ record to 36-6 and brings to an end a 9-1 homestand, the team ended up losing David West. The veteran big man suffered a non-displaced fracture of his left thumb and will miss at least two weeks.