The Warriors confronted another “statement game” Saturday night and, once again, made a semi-convincing argument on their behalf.
Meeting Oklahoma City for the first time this season, the defending champions blew a 20-point lead but summoned just enough defense at crucial times to post a thrilling 116-108 victory before a celebrity-studdent crowd at Oracle Arena.
Five Warriors scored in double figures, led by Stephen Curry’s 26 points. Harrison Barnes put in 19, Klay Thompson had 18, Marreese Speights totaled 15, while Shaun Livingston added 10.
The Warriors (45-4) held the Thunder without a field goal (on 0-for-5 shooting) over the final 3:36 to hang on and get the win.
With the likes of Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Kate Hudson and Jim Harbaugh looking on, the Warriors ran their home record to 23-0 and extended their home win streak to 41, second-longest in NBA history behind the 1994-95 and 1995-96 Bulls, who won a record 44 in a row.
Kevin Durant scored a game-high 40 points and Russell Westbrook added 27 to pace the Thunder (38-14), which saw its five-game win streak snapped.
The Warriors are now 4-0 against the three teams widely considered most threatening to their chances to win back-to-back titles. They are 2-0 against the Cavaliers, 1-0 against the Spurs and now 1-0 against the Thunder.
Draymond Green didn’t score much, only nine points, but he was crucial to the Warriors gutting this one out in the fourth quarter.
Green’s line – nine points, 14 rebounds and six assists – don’t tell the story as much as his late-game determination against Oklahoma City’s big men. The Warriors had 11 rebounds in the quarter, and he had five of them, including four in a 111-second span inside the final three-plus minutes.
After Enes Kanter made a turnaround jumper to tie the game 104-104 with 3:36 left, the Warriors closed it out with a 12-4 run.
Green’s free throw with 3:25 left put the Warriors ahead for good and Curry scored six points during the run.
Warriors: C Festus Ezeli (L knee soreness) and F James Michael McAdoo (L foot toe sprain) were listed as out.
Thunder: G Andre Roberson (R knee sprain) was listed as out.
The Warriors return to action Tuesday at Oracle Arena, where they play host to the Houston Rockets. Tipoff is set for 7:35 p.m.