OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — One of Golden State’s former MVPs was out, so the other stepped forward.
Stephen Curry picked up the slack for the injured Kevin Durant, scoring 33 points to help Golden State roll past the Oklahoma City Thunder, 110-88 on Saturday night and clinch a playoff spot.
Many Oklahoma City fans hoped for the chance to boo Durant, but the league’s No. 4 scorer sat out his second straight game with a sprained right ankle.
Golden State also made up for Durant’s absence with defense. Oklahoma City shot 32 percent from the field, its worst percentage of the season, and made just 13 of 41 3-pointers.
“Our intensity and our focus for 48 minutes — we were trying to force them into tough shots,” Curry said. “Over the course of the game — especially early in the first quarter — we imposed our will. We did our best to take care of the basketball so they didn’t have easy transition opportunities. And we rebounded the ball well. So all things considered, really solid effort, knowing that if you give them momentum in this building, they are tough.”
Klay Thompson scored 23 points and DeMarcus Cousins added 12 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Warriors.
Paul George had 29 points and 13 rebounds, and Dennis Schroder added 15 points for the Thunder.
Russell Westbrook scored just seven points on 2-for-16 shooting and missed all seven of his 3-point attempts. He had nine assists and eight rebounds, but Thompson’s defense largely took him out of the game.
“Trying to prevent him from getting downhill, beating you from the outside because when he’s getting to the rim, attacking, that’s when everybody’s getting the ball at their best,” Thompson said.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the 6-foot-7 Thompson is a good matchup for the 6-3 Westbrook.
“Klay always takes on the challenge,” Kerr said. “He’s got the size to stand up to Russ and does a good job of impeding his progress going to the rim and I thought our weak-side guys came over and helped.”
The Warriors shot 61 percent from the field in the first quarter and made 7 of 11 3-pointers to take a 40-27 lead and set the tone.
“I didn’t think we got off to a great start defensively in the first quarter,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “I actually thought we defended from that point forward fairly well in terms of contesting and getting out there. The first quarter, we gave up too many open 3s.”
Curry scored 19 points in the first half to help the Warriors lead 64-46 at the break, and he scored 11 more in the third quarter to put the Warriors up 87-71 at the end of the period. They were never threatened after that.
“We missed shots that we’ve been making all season,” George said. “That’s it. That really was the game.”
Warriors: Andre Iguodala started in Durant’s place and scored two points in 23 minutes. ... F Draymond Green had nine points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Thunder: Oklahoma City’s jerseys included a patch with the logo of Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores for the first time. Earlier in the week, the Thunder became the final NBA team with a corporate sponsorship. The league began selling jersey sponsorships in 2017-18 when Nike became the league’s official apparel company.
Westbrook, who averages a triple-double, failed to reach double figures in points, rebounds or assists for just the second time this season. The previous time was a loss to Dallas on Dec. 30. It’s the third time he failed to reach double digits in scoring.
Westbrook was called for a technical foul in the second quarter after he thought he got fouled on a post-up against Thompson. It was his 16th technical of the season, which means he’ll be suspended for Monday’s game against Miami unless one of his technicals is rescinded.
When asked about it after the game, Westbrook simply said, “Next question” to each inquiry.
Warriors: Visit the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.
Thunder: Host the Miami Heat on Monday.
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