Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now

Golden State at Oklahoma City

Durant, rookie Harden fuel Thunder in rout of Warriors

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant has high hopes for James Harden, and the rookie is starting to show flashes of the player he may become.

Harden scored a career-high 26 points to complement Durant's 28, and the Oklahoma City Thunder capitalized on a brief blowup by Golden State's Corey Maggette to pull away from the Warriors for a 104-88 victory on Monday night.

"That's what Sixth Men of the Year do, come off the bench and give us a spark like he did," Durant said. "If that's going to be his role for us this year, then that's what he needs to do every game.

"We're comfortable with him coming in and being aggressive like that and giving us that scoring punch. For us to win, that's what he's got to continue to do."

Harden, who hadn't attempted more than six free throws in any of his first 19 career games, was 10 for 10 at the line in his first 11 minutes on the floor and finished 13 for 14.

"He was just being aggressive," Durant said. "That's one thing I always tell him. Sometimes he's a little too passive when he has opportunities to drive or score. He's getting used to it, he's getting more comfortable and he did a great job for us tonight."

Harden, the No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft, said it took some time after moving to the NBA for him to learn the best times for him to be aggressive. He had a stretch of five consecutive games scoring in double figures earlier this season -- including back-to-back games with 24 and 25 points -- before being held to single digits in his last three games.

"I'm getting a little bit more comfortable out there, especially playing with those other guys. They make me feel comfortable to where I can just go out there and play basketball," Harden said.

Even with Harden's production, the short-handed Warriors -- who were without seven players -- were able to keep pace with the Thunder until Maggette was ejected with 4:07 left in the third quarter for arguing with official Derek Richardson.

Oklahoma City led 63-62 when Maggette drew two technical fouls. Durant hit both free throws that followed, and Russell Westbrook added two more from the initial foul against Maggette. Between Maggette's ejection and the end of the third quarter, the Thunder outscored Golden State 16-5 to take control.

"The tempo was perfect in the first half because we kept the crowd out, we were able to get to the foul line. [Maggette] was a big part of that," said Warriors assistant Keith Smart, filling in for head coach Don Nelson while he recovers from pneumonia. "As we moved through the second half, we didn't have that."

Monta Ellis led the Warriors with 31 points but also picked up a technical foul and committed nine turnovers while playing all 48 minutes.

"We ask him to guard the best player, play 45 or 48 minutes and then also attack offensively against teams that are trapping him," Smart said. "We've got to address that a little bit, and get somebody else playing well enough. And I think we had that going with Maggette. But losing him, you really had nothing that you could probably do.

"We weren't making shots and we didn't have anyone we could go to to post up and give us some control game."

Rookie Stephen Curry had a career-high 22 points and Maggette scored 11 before being ejected. It was his first ejection since the 2003-04 season, according to STATS LLC.

Nelson is expected to miss the remaining four games on Golden State's five-game trip after team doctors advised him to stay home and recuperate. He had returned to the bench for two games after missing five in a row.

Jeff Green had 21 points and 13 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which went 3-2 during its longest stretch of home games this season. Westbrook added 12 points. The Thunder outrebounded Golden State 57-37.

Ellis had nine early points as Golden State rushed out to a 21-12 lead before Oklahoma City went on a 12-2 spurt to regain the lead in the opening minute of the second quarter. Ellis and Maggette led the way as the Warriors answered immediately with a 10-0 run, but Harden had seven points in a 14-0 response by the Thunder that Green capped with a tip-in of Durant's miss for a 41-35 lead.

The Thunder answered with another 10-0 run after Golden State took a 51-50 lead on Ellis' two free throws 19 seconds after halftime. The Warriors made one last charge with eight consecutive points to tie it at 62.

Notes

  • Warriors G Anthony Morrow missed his second straight game due to a death in his family.
  • NBA Hall of Famer George Gervin watched from a front-row seat.
  • Oklahoma City's Scott Brooks could relate to Smart's tough spot filling in for Nelson. He was 0-4 as a substitute for Nuggets coach George Karl and 2-0 in former Kings coach Eric Musselman's place when he was an assistant coach. "The challenge is you can't really do anything that you want to put in, because it's not your team," Brooks said. "You're the substitute teacher and you have to stick with the philosophy of the head coach."
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Kevin Durant is one of three Thunder players to score 20-plus against the Warriors.  (Getty Images)
Kevin Durant is one of three Thunder players to score 20-plus against the Warriors. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Golden State (6-14) 2326182188
Oklahoma City (11-9) «22282925104
GS:M. Ellis 31 Pts
GS:V. Radmanovic 8 Reb
GS:C. Watson 3 Ast
OKC:K. Durant 28 Pts
OKC:J. Green 13 Reb
OKC:J. Harden 5 Ast
Players of the Game
Oklahoma CityGolden State

K. Durant

M. Ellis
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
28943132
Golden State
M. Ellis, PG4812-286-832431
C. Watson, PG483-73-553210
S. Curry, PG369-142-242522
V. Radmanovic, SF291-92-28224
M. Moore, PF213-30-00126
A. Randolph, PF252-60-07144
C. Maggette, SF193-75-550411
C. Hunter, PF80-10-03010
D. George, SG60-10-02100
S. Claxton, PGDid Not Play
A. Biedrins, CDid Not Play
R. Turiaf, CDid Not Play
R. Bell, SGDid Not Play
K. Azubuike, SFDid Not Play
A. Morrow, SGDid Not Play
B. Wright, PFDid Not Play
Totals 33-7618-2237122488
 43.4%81.8% 
Oklahoma City
K. Durant, SF459-248-894328
J. Green, PF399-162-4133121
R. Westbrook, PG384-173-473212
T. Sefolosha, SF301-31-23023
N. Krstic, C132-42-23136
J. Harden, SG306-1313-1495226
N. Collison, PF284-50-16258
S. Livingston, PG180-10-07310
E. Thomas, CDid Not Play
B. Mullens, CDid Not Play
K. Ollie, PGDid Not Play
S. Ibaka, PFDid Not Play
K. Weaver, SGDid Not Play
M. Wilks, PGDid Not Play
D. White, PFDid Not Play
Totals 35-8329-35572119104
 42.2%82.9% 
Other Games
Den 93 Final
Phi 83
Port 84 Final
NY 93
SA 101 Final
Utah 104