Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/18/12
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson has no problem admitting the Thunder provide the blueprint for what he wants his team to become. "This is certainly a model," Jackson said. "They had a tough time early on, winning 20-something games and going through the process. But give this front office, ownership, coaching staff a lot of credit. They stayed through to the process. They didn't become impatient. Now they have a team that is going to be in the hunt for a long time to come." The problem for the Warriors is that they don't have a Kevin Durant or a Russell Westbrook to build around just yet, and that difference was apparent Sunday when Oklahoma City beat Golden State 119-109 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Durant finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for the first triple-double of his career. "They have two home run hitters in their lineup," Jackson said. "Two of the best in the business at any position. That being said, they are an elite basketball team. They are extremely well-coached. They defend, they compete. They make you pay the price for the mistakes you make." The Thunder (8-3) held a 94-73 lead to start the fourth quarter, and it looked as if the Oklahoma City starters were done for the night. However, the Warriors (5-5) went on a 12-4 run to start the period. That forced Thunder coach Scott Brooks to bring Durant and Westbrook back into the game. Even so, momentum stayed with the road team, and Golden State closed to within seven points with 5:48 left. "The tempo was good," Golden State forward David Lee said. "We got stops and rebounds, and we seemed to get out and push the ball. Then they missed a couple of shots, and like any team, when you miss shots, you start not being as good getting back on defense. We took advantage of that a little bit. We had a good run." That would be as close as the Warriors would get. Serge Ibaka and Kevin Martin knocked down a pair of jumpers to push the Thunder's advantage back into double figures, and Westbrook and Durant scored the next seven points to put the game away. Westbrook led all scorers with 30 points to go along with seven assists, chipping in alongside Durant's big game. "I'm glad to see that he finally got the triple-double," Brooks said of Durant. "He's a willing passer. He's never been a selfish player." Martin came off the bench to chip in with 23 points. He knocked in five of seven from behind the arc to give him 11 made 3-pointers the past two games. The Thunder shot 65 percent (13 of 20) from long range. Stephen Curry led the way for Golden State with 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting. Lee had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. "Obviously, you try to find bright spots in a game like this," Curry said. "They're the reining Western Conference champions playing at home, playing well. You have to compete and find a way to beat them." Westbrook began the game firing from all over the court. With Curry guarding him, Westbrook was able to get any jump shot he wanted or was able to post up his smaller opponent. Offensively, the Thunder continued the crisp passing they displayed Friday in New Orleans. Oklahoma City compiled 17 of its 31 assists in the first half Sunday. Jackson was pleased with his team's defense heading into the game, but the Warriors allowed the Thunder to shoot 52 percent from the field in the first two quarters. Golden State kept the score close with a balanced attack. Nine Warriors scored at least two points in the first half, but none was in double figures. Oklahoma City stretched its lead to 14 points late in the second quarter, but baskets by Golden State's Carl Landry and a couple of Lee free throws cut gap to single digits. The Thunder stemmed the tide when Durant drained a 3-pointer and Westbrook threw down a ferocious fastbreak dunk in the final seconds of the half to give the home team a 59-46 lead. "I don't remember who it was on," Westbrook said, "but I ain't dunked in a while, so I just wanted to let people know I still can do it." NOTES: Martin has been steady from the free-throw line. In his first year with the Thunder, he is shooting 94.7 percent from the line, fourth best in the NBA. His coach is pleased not just with how Martin performs at the line, but with how often he gets there. "He has knack of being to get to the line," Brooks said. "He's crafty, he's clever, he's quick. He has the quickest first step with a live dribble. He has a way of getting to the free-throw line. We like that." ... Golden State was coming off a 106-98 victory over Minnesota in which it outscored the Timberwolves 58-22 in the paint. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that was the largest paint-scoring margin by a road team against an opponent with a winning record since Feb. 8, 2009. ... Brooks said the 110-95 win over New Orleans was the Thunder's best game of the year. ... Jackson offered his assessment on how he would slow down Westbrook if he were still playing. "Chapel first. Then stay late after all the guys leave and get some extra prayer in," he said. ... After leaving Friday's game against Minnesota with flu-like symptoms, Warriors second-year guard Klay Thompson was back in the starting lineup Sunday. He scored four points. ... The Warriors' Richard Jefferson strained his right calf in the first quarter and didn't return to the game.
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