10:30 PM ET, January 27, 2012
ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA
Kevin Durant has 37, Russell Westbrook 28 and James Harden 19 off bench in big road win
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Kevin Durant stood in the Oklahoma City Thunder's locker room buttoning up a blue-knit sweater atop his beige corduroy pants. Two spots over, Russell Westbrook sat in a chair with his shirt off and ice under his left leg, poking fun at Durant's outfit.
Then both took turns teasing teammate James Harden for his sparkling, spiked black shoes.
"See this tension in the locker room?" Durant said, smiling at a small group of reporters inside.
While they might not be the best dressed, the Thunder sure look every bit like the NBA's top team.
Durant had a season-high 37 points and 14 rebounds, Westbrook dazzled with 28 points and 11 assists, and the Thunder started a critical road stretch with a 120-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.
Weeks after a reported squabble between the dynamic duo, Oklahoma City (16-3) owns the league's best record and seems to only be getting stronger.
"If we play the right way and play team basketball, I don't think there are too many teams that can beat us," Westbrook said.
Sure seemed that way in the Bay Area.
Harden scored 19 points off the bench, and Westbrook added seven steals and six rebounds in the Thunder's fourth straight win. Oklahoma City pulled away with a 14-3 run late in the fourth quarter to begin a string of nine of 11 away from home.
Dorell Wright scored 23, and David Lee had 19 points and seven rebounds for the Warriors, who pushed another one of the NBA's elite to the brink. While Golden State already topped Miami, Chicago and Orlando this season, rookie coach Mark Jackson's bunch came up short this time.
"They have a different motor. They're a different animal, and we've got to learn how to do that," Jackson said. "We don't have the luxury to be able to turn it on when we want. It's a good lesson for us."
The Thunder overcame a few second-half lapses before flexing their muscles for good.
Westbrook's running layup extended Oklahoma City's lead to 85-77 entering the final period, and the Warriors -- in typical fashion -- turned back the momentum with a frantic fourth-quarter rally.
Nate Robinson, with the Thunder late last season, shook off a defender with a nifty behind-the-back dribble and pulled up for a midrange jumper that sliced Oklahoma City's lead to three. He pumped his chest running back on defense, waving to fans and taunting his one-time Thunder teammates.
The celebration turned out to be premature.
Oklahoma City put away the pesky Warriors with a 14-3 run over the next highlight-filled five minutes. None was more impressive than Westbrook's bounce pass to Harden, who lobbed an alley-oop that Durant finished with a powerful one-handed slam.
Serge Ibaka also had 20 points and 12 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which plays at the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night. The Thunder also held guard Stephen Curry, who had a season-high 32 points Wednesday night against Portland, to 15 points and six assists.
"I like the fact that everybody participated, that everybody was aggressive," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.
The Thunder's dynamic duo showed no West Coast hangover.
Durant and Westbrook sliced and soared through the middle with ease, shredding Golden State's undersized perimeter players. The long and lengthy scorers each had nine points in the first quarter to give Oklahoma City a 26-16 lead.
"I was past due for a big scoring night," Durant said. "Man, it feels good to score some points."
The loudest noise of the period still belonged to a former Thunder teammate.
Robinson banked a shot from just beyond half court at the buzzer, bringing another sold-out crowd of 19,596 in the basketball-starved Bay Area roaring to its feet. He stared back at the Oklahoma City bench for several seconds in the 5-foot-9 guard's familiar flair, which had some added incentive.
Robinson, a three-time NBA slam dunk champion, was sent from Boston to Oklahoma City as part of the deal that brought center Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder at the trade deadline last year. After a short and unspectacular tenure, the Thunder released Robinson before this season.
The momentum carried over, and the Warriors whittled the Thunder's double-digit lead with some strong contributions off the bench. Rookie Klay Thompson scored 10 of his 14 points in the second quarter, and Brandon Rush gave Durant fits defensively.
Monta Ellis' free throw evened the score at 50 late in the half before the Thunder scored seven straight capped by Westbrook's jumper to go ahead 57-52 at the break.
"They've been together a long time and have grown up a lot together," Curry said. "They know each other well; they know what it takes to finish out games just with that chemistry that they have. That's where we're trying to go."
Oklahoma City G Thabo Sefolosha didn't play in the second half because of a sore right foot. ... Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis was sitting courtside. ... The Warriors have sold out six of 11 home games this season. ... Brooks grew up about an hour southeast of the Bay Area in Lathrop, Calif.
OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 27: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder lays the ball up during a game against...(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||42-88 (.477)||41-87 (.471)|
|3PM-3PA||4-17 (.235)||12-28 (.429)|
|FTM-FTA||32-37 (.865)||15-19 (.789)|
|Fast Break Points||20||25|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||15 (1/0)||29 (0/0)|
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