Analysis: Durant shines and Jones surprises in Warriors’ highway win over Thunder

The Golden State Warriors, sealed into a second seed in a Western Conference, trafficked to Oklahoma City to play a Thunder group greatly fighting for playoff position on Tuesday night.

The Warriors were once again short-handed, as they would be blank not usually Stephen Curry though also Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Kevon Looney, Patrick McCaw and Omri Casspi.

But even with that depleted register and confronting a group that was really clearly personification for something, a Warriors warranted a 111-107 feat on Thursday night for their 28th highway win of a season.

A career night for Damian Jones

Without a doubt, a biggest story from this diversion for a Warriors was a play of Damian Jones. By trait of all a Warriors’ injuries and absences, a second-year large male was pulpy into estimable mins (14 of them, including utterly a few in essential moments of a game) opposite a Thunder and he responded good to a uptick in personification time.

Jones scored 8 points on Tuesday night, a career-high for him. Jones’ scoring including 4 points pleasantness of throw passes from Draymond Green.

Jones also scored in break time of Tuesday night’s diversion with this good finish during a edge off of a Klay Thompson pass.

That’s not an easy shot to make, given a collapsing Thunder invulnerability led by a commanding Steven Adams, and nonetheless Jones was means to modify and pull a Warriors lead to 6 with about dual mins left to go.

Jones also finished a diversion with 2 rebounds and 1 block, capping simply his best diversion of a deteriorate and maybe of his career.

If Jones is means to turn a unchanging member of a Warriors’ big-man revolution in a entrance seasons, it would positively be a large assistance and concede them to not dedicate income to so many maestro centers. In a final games of a 2017-18 season, it will be engaging to see how many personification time Jones gets, when he plays, and how he does when he’s on a court.

Carmelo’s drop during a hands of KD

Kevin Durant led a approach for a Warriors by scoring 34 points opposite his former team. 24 of Durant’s points came in a initial half, including 7 in a second entertain during a responsibility of Carmelo Anthony. On three-straight descent security during a finish of a second quarter, Durant got Anthony switched onto him and pounced, scoring dual buckets while removing fouled attempting a three-pointer as well.

Throughout a game, a Warriors done a indicate of aggressive Anthony — a Thunder’s weakest defender — though Durant done it into an art form in a second quarter, dismantling him and creation Anthony demeanour really foolish.

As a possess Brady Klopfer noted, that a Warriors (or any team) can do this to Anthony does not bode good for a Thunder’s postseason chances.

The other approach in that Durant scored his points, besides being propitious adequate to spasmodic be rhythmical by a porous Anthony, was by removing to a free-throw line. Durant attempted 14 giveaway throws opposite a Thunder, creation all of them.

It wasn’t a quite good diversion for Durant from a margin as he shot 36% opposite a Thunder on Thursday night. But between his ability to get fouled and make his giveaway throws as good as stepping adult in a initial half when they indispensable his offense to keep things close, Durant gave a Warriors only about all they could have asked for in Tuesday night’s game.


NBA: Golden State Warriors during Oklahoma City Thunder

Though he did not fire an generally high percentage, Durant constantly pounded on offense opposite a Thunder, personification a large purpose in a Warriors’ victory.
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Warriors’ invulnerability impresses opposite a Thunder

The Warriors’ initial entertain invulnerability was not stellar opposite a Thunder, as they authorised them to fire scarcely 48% from a margin and lead by as many as 8 points. The second quarter, however, was a many opposite story as a Warriors were means to take a lead and (save for a brief few seconds in a third quarter) never give it back.

In that second quarter, a Thunder went 6-for-26 from a margin and had 4 of their 16 turnovers in Tuesday night’s game. In that second quarter, Russell Westbrook was 3-for-8 from a margin while Paul George was 1-for-6.

Though a Warriors couldn’t totally stop Westbrook on Tuesday night — he scored a game-high 44 points — they forced him into holding tough shots and singular him to only 6 assists, preventing his teammates from scoring and so denying Westbrook a assist.

The Warriors hold a Thunder to 13 assists, 8 next their deteriorate average. After that initial quarter, a Warriors did a improved pursuit of forcing a Thunder into holding bad shots and forcing their less-effective descent players to have to make plays.


NBA: Golden State Warriors during Oklahoma City Thunder

Though Westbrook had 44 points opposite a Warriors, it took him 26 shots to do so as his teammates underwhelmed in a Thunder’s detriment to a Warriors
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Though Westbrook’s ostentatious indicate sum will squeeze some of a attention, a ability of a Warriors to enclose a rest of a Thunder’s players shows how they can recompense for Curry’s deficiency by forcing other team’s obtuse descent players to kick them.

Quinn continues to Cook

Quinn Cook incited in nonetheless another considerable opening on Tuesday night, scoring 12 points on 4-for-6 sharpened while also handing out 6 assists in a intense, playoff-like atmosphere of Oklahoma City.

Head manager Steve Kerr addressed Cook and a intrepidity he displayed during his postgame interview:

While Cook has played good in this widen with Curry out, this diversion was maybe a many heated one he’s played in, given a implications for a Thunder’s postseason as good as a passion destined during Durant.

If Cook can make plays in a playoffs like he did opposite a Thunder on Tuesday night, he will be an intensely critical square of a revolution and can concede Kerr to benefaction teams with a opposite demeanour during indicate guard, quite when Cook earnings to a dais with Curry’s return.

I’m not alone in meditative this:

Cook has been something of a explanation in these shutting weeks of a unchanging deteriorate and he looks like he’ll be means to keep this adult going into a postseason.

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