As the NBA’s leading scorer, Kevin Durant is the kind of decoy that’s hard to ignore.
Durant took his place on the right side of the lane and headed toward the free-throw line as though he was getting ready to receive a pass, just as fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook took off on a drive to the basket.
The result: a foul against Stephen Curry with 11.4 seconds left, leading to Westbrook’s game-winning free throw.
“Russell’s a big-time scorer and we wanted to get him something driving to the basket, which is his strength. We knew they were going to call a foul if he drives so hard and tried to score,” Durant said. “It was good for either person. I could have posted up at the free-throw line and tried to get a shot or Russell could have took it to the rim.”
Durant finished with 39 points after scoring Oklahoma City’s first eight points in overtime. It was his highest total since scoring 43 against New Orleans on Feb. 2.
“We did everything we could to guard two hot players—two very, very good players in Westbrook and Durant, of course,” Warriors coach Keith Smart said.
“I thought our guys did a great job and almost, almost had a chance to pull this thing off.”
Westbrook missed his first free throw, but made the second to put the Thunder on top.
Monta Ellis’ jumper from the top of the key was wide right at the final buzzer. He finished with 20 points and 11 assists but shot just 9 for 30, missing 12 in a row at one point.
“Sometimes good players may struggle the whole game and they have an ability to lock in late,” Smart said. “We thought we got the right matchup.”
Curry led Golden State with 35 points, and David Lee had 24 points and 15 rebounds.