Golden State Warriors starting guard Monta Ellis scored a game high 48 points on Tuesday night; and it still was not enough to get past the Oklahoma City Thunder who defeated their hosts at the Oracle Center by a final margin of 119-116. Many fans have complained throughout this abridged campaign about the rash of low scoring contests we have witnessed since the regular season tipped off on Christmas Day.
That was certainly not the situation in the Bay Area on Tuesday night as the Warriors shot a scalding 55.0% (44-80) from the floor for the night with Ellis looking at times during the game that he was unstoppable. Another key contributor for Golden State was big man David Lee who racked up a triple-double in the loss as Lee scored 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the loss at home. Kevin Durant led the blast from the Thunder as the All-Star forward notched a double-double with 33 points and 10 rebounds while Russell Westbrook knocked down 31 points in the victory as well. The Thunder shot an impressive 52.4% (44-84) from the field and would hold the hot hand in the closing moments of the contest.
Both teams came out in the opening period shooting well, however the Warriors would start to pull away in the closing moments and looked like they would end the first with a strong advantage. That mindset would have to be quickly changed as Durant buried a 28 foot trey at the buzzer and Golden State’s lead was down to 35-29 at the end of the quarter.
Oklahoma City would grab the lead early in the second and the two opponents traded the advantage back and forth until midway through the period when the visitors led by as many as eight points. Warriors would be back in the thick of it as the game reached the half and after getting a mid-range shot by Ellis with eight seconds to play the Thunder lead was just 59-57 as the two teams went to their respective locker rooms.
The Warriors would come back to the floor in the third and proceeded to dominate the flow of the game. They appeared they were ready to take the contest over when Dorrell Wright drained a 23 foot trey with 5:07 to play in the period and went way up on top with the score 80-68. OKC would fight back once again as the quarter started to wind down; Durant tied the contest with ten seconds in the quarter as he laid the ball up and in and was fouled on the play knotting up the contest at 91-91. Stephen Curry would break the tie as he sank a shot at the buzzer withe the Warriors ahead 93-91.
The two teams stayed within each other’s range during the early portion of the fourth, but the Warriors started to break away at about the midway point of the contest holding a 107-100 advantage. The Thunder was not about to give up that easily and cut their opponents lead to one point where it remained for quite a while. Russell Westbrook would put the Thunder ahead with a long-range jumper while Durant followed it up seconds later to give Oklahoma City a 115-112 lead. Although the Warriors would take the lead back in the final seconds of the game, it lasted just one possession and the Thunder got the victory.
Durant had 33 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists a block and a rebound while Westbrook scored 31 points, 7 assists, 2 steals a block and a board. James Harden came off the bench with 19 points while Daequan Cook added 17 points.
Ellis had an incredible game as the veteran showed there is still plenty of gas left in his tank. He scored 48 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block. David Lee notched a triple-double with 25 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and a block while Stephen Curry recorded a double-double with 16 points,10 assists,7 rebounds and 2 steals.
Thunder now has a record of 20-5 and will pay a visit to Sacramento on Thursday while the Warriors now stand at 8-14 and they will be in Denver taking on the Nuggets on Thursday.