In hindsight, it's only fitting the Warriors would close the first half of the season with a thrilling 104-99 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, owners of the NBA's best record.
The Warriors' record after the first 41 games (26-15) is nothing short of improbable. It was prompted by great play from their two stars, improved defense and contributions up and down the lineup.
Ditto for Wednesday night's victory.
You kept expecting Thunder star Kevin Durant -- who finished with 33 points and nine assists -- to do something to put the Warriors in their place. But it never happened.
Point guard Stephen Curry carried the Warriors to crunchtime. Then when his shot escaped him, and with Oklahoma City paying special attention to him, Curry watched his teammates pick up the slack. Forward David Lee scored seven points in the fourth quarter and finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Backup forward Carl Landry had eight points and five rebounds in the final quarter, finishing with 20 points and seven rebounds.
Rookie forward Harrison Barnes made Durant work for all of his 11 points in the fourth quarter and helped prompt one of the NBA's best into four turnovers over the final eight minutes.
"Everybody's pitching in to do their part," Barnes said. "That's been kind of the story of this year."
The Warriors hit the halfway mark on pace for a 52-win season. And that's without starting center Andrew Bogut for all but four games and after losing key swingman Brandon Rush to a season-ending knee injury.
Golden State Warriors show no fear of Oklahoma City Thunder
Oakland Tribune | Jan 24