Curry shoves, Thompson shoots and Warriors roll Thunder
(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
By CLIFF BRUNT
AP Sports Writer
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors didn't have Kevin Durant for Monday night's game at Oklahoma City.
With or without Durant, there's animosity to go around in this hot-blooded rivalry.
Klay Thompson scored 34 points to help the Warriors beat the Thunder 111-95 in a heated matchup filled with trash talk, technical fouls and a shoving match centered around the usually cool-headed Curry.
It was Golden State's second visit to Oklahoma City since Durant spurned his longtime employer to sign a free agent contract with the Warriors last summer. Durant has been out since February with a left knee injury and sat on the bench with his team.
Even with Durant out, the negative energy from the first meeting was still there. Curry exchanged shoves with Semaj Christon just before halftime, and both were issued technical fouls. Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook and Golden State's Draymond Green also got technicals for their roles in the skirmish.
"Your normal jump ball, fight for position situation," Curry said. "I was just trying to get in between Russ and - trying to get in between those two. I felt him push me. I kind of let that first one go, and then I kept going, and there was another little push, and I tried to hold my position."
Westbrook saw it differently.
"I think Curry tried to get into it with Semaj, and tried to push him, and I stepped in right between," Westbrook said. "Once I see something going down with my teammates, I'm hopping in."
The game itself was a knockout. The Warriors led by as many as 27 points while completing a sweep of the four-game season series.
Curry scored 23 points for the Warriors, who won their fourth straight and halted Oklahoma City's win streak at five games.
Westbrook scored 47 points the last time the teams met in Oklahoma City. This time, he had 15 points on 4-of-16 shooting.
"It was just one of those nights," Westbrook said. "Shots didn't fall. We had some open shots that didn't fall, and they made shots as well. A few mishaps defensively, but we'll be all right."
The Warriors took control in the second quarter, outscoring the Thunder 34-17 to go up 20 at the break.
Westbrook scored eight points in just over three minutes at the start of the third quarter to help the Thunder trim Golden State's lead to 12, but the Warriors bounced back and pushed their lead to 78-55 with just under five minutes left in the period. Westbrook didn't score again after his early third quarter surge.
Thompson made 7 of 15 3-pointers and Curry made 7 of 12.
"They have been steady working," Warriors forward David West said. "We have had to adjust a little bit with (Durant) being out, but they are great. They just shoot the ball as easy as anyone who has ever shot it. They are very confident right now."
Warriors: Curry hit a 3-pointer at the end of the first half and ran down the tunnel to the locker room with the Warriors up 59-39. ... Green's technical was his 13th of the season. ... Matt Barnes was called for a flagrant foul in the third quarter.
Thunder: Westbrook's technical was his 15th of the season. He'll be suspended for a game if he gets another. ... It was the first loss for the Thunder with Taj Gibson as a starter.
Green, on getting the technical foul: "Jesus Christ. I don't know. Nothing surprises me at this point when it comes to anything like that. I actually knew it was going to happen, to be honest with you. I didn't do anything. If I'm anywhere in the area, I expect it."
In his past five games, Thompson is averaging 28.4 points while shooting 54 percent overall and 51 percent from 3-point range.
The Warriors play at Dallas on Tuesday night.
The Thunder host Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.
Updated March 21, 2017