OKLAHOMA CITY (AP)The defending NBA champions are starting to hit their stride.
Stephen Curry had 38 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds, and the Golden State Warriors defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 128-120 on Monday night for their third straight win.
Curry made 8 of 14 3-pointers and 12 of 20 shots overall. Klay Thompson added 28 points and hit six 3s for Golden State.
It was the opener of a three-game road swing for the Warriors, who are two games above .500.
”This was really a key game for us on the trip,” coach Steve Kerr said. ”To start out with a win puts us in a good position to get some rest tomorrow, prepare for Minnesota, go attack that game and see what happens. … So we needed this one tonight, and guys did a great job of winning and getting it. Now, we’ve got to get greedy and go get the next one.”
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 21 of his 31 points in the second half for the Thunder. Josh Giddey had 21 points and Jalen Williams added 19 for Oklahoma City, which missed out on a chance to even its season record.
The Warriors led 63-48 at halftime behind 18 points from Curry and 16 from Thompson. Golden State made 12 of 25 3-pointers and had 21 assists on 23 baskets before the break.
The Thunder said they failed to execute their defensive game plan early.
”We’ve kind of got to dictate terms from the jump and make teams play how we want to play,” Giddey said. ”It’s hard to beat a team like that going back and forth and trading baskets because they’ve got so many weapons.”
The Thunder hung tough, and a 3 by Mike Muscala as time expired in the third quarter cut Golden State’s lead to 94-85.
”I thought there was a little bit of a boogeyman there in the first quarter,” coach Mark Daigneault said. ”And then, you know, once we opened the closet and realized there’s no one there, then we started playing.”
Oklahoma City trailed by just two in the fourth before Golden State responded. A 3-pointer by Curry pushed the advantage to 115-107 with 2:35 remaining, and the Warriors remained in control from there.
Warriors: Curry passed Wilt Chamberlain for most field goals in franchise history. … The Warriors shot 62.5% in the first quarter to take a 38-20 lead. … F Draymond Green finished with seven points, nine rebounds and 12 assists.
Thunder: G Lu Dort sat out with a strained right hamstring. … Daigneault said F/C Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is nearing a return from a sprained right ankle, but he would start off with the G-League affiliate Oklahoma City Blue before playing for the Thunder again.
REAL RECOGNIZES REAL
Curry, the NBA’s career leader in 3-pointers, chatted with University of Oklahoma women’s basketball star Taylor Robertson before the game. Robertson, who wears No. 30 like Curry and wore a Curry jersey to the game, set the NCAA women’s career record for 3s on Saturday.
WIGGINS IS BACK
Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins returned after missing two games with an illness. He scored 15 points on 7-for-13 shooting.
Between the illness and injuries, Wiggins has played just 30 games this season.
”He’s lost some conditioning, lost some rhythm,” Kerr said. ”He had a great practice yesterday. You could see this coming, just from the way he was moving and how aggressive he was. I love the way he played tonight.”
Warriors: Visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.
Thunder: Visit the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.
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