Oklahoma City beat Golden State 104-88 before 17,334 fans inside the Ford Center. The win was nice, but the method was much more noteworthy.
The Thunder whipped the Warriors without falling into the trap of its pleasant yet perilous fast-paced style of play. Golden State, which entered the game averaging 109.8 points, was held to a season low in points and failed to score at least 100 for only the fifth time this season.
The Thunder controlled the pace of the game by controlling the boards, limiting second-chance opportunities and utilizing exaggerated patience on the offensive end. As a result, Oklahoma City closed the book on its five-game homestand at 3-2 to bump its record to 11-9.
"We didn't play their game," said Kevin Durant, who scored 22 of his team-high 28 points in the second half. "I think that's one thing we did a lot last year against this team. That's what we didn't want to do because that's when we're playing into their hands. We did a great job of controlling the game on both ends, getting good shots, finding each other and letting our defense lead to offense."
The Thunder is now 7-1 when holding teams to less than 100 points. Oklahoma City's next four opponents - Memphis, Cleveland, Denver and Dallas - each average at least 99.6 points, explaining why Monday's method was so momentous.
"We didn't have our best stuff, and they had some players that were missing. But we competed," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "It's not always going to be pretty Basketball, but defensively I thought we got after it."
The Thunder again showed its ability to bounce back after disheartening defensive performances in the previous two outings. Boston shot 56.5 percent and tallied 105 points in an 18-point blowout last Friday. And despite winning 117-106 against Philadelphia, the Thunder allowed the Sixers to shoot 50 percent.
On Monday, the Warriors limped into the Ford Center with a host of injuries but had scored at least 107 points in each of the past four contests. Oklahoma City hounded Golden State into 43.4 percent shooting and scored 21 points off 20 Warriors turnovers. Warriors guard Monta Ellis scored a game-high 31 points but needed 28 shots and had nine turnovers to boot.
"We're growing as a team," Brooks said. "We're not where we want to be or where we need to be. We want to get better every game and every month. The only way we do that is by working."