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News » Thunder-Warriors Preview

Thunder-Warriors Preview

Thunder-Warriors Preview
The Golden State Warriors have been playing some of their most impressive basketball of the season against the NBA's best during their current homestand.

They haven't been as successful at Oracle Arena against one of the league's worst teams.

The Warriors conclude a five-game homestand that spanned the All-Star break Saturday when they square off against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Golden State (19-36) won four of five before the All-Star break - with the victories coming at home over playoff contenders Phoenix, Utah, New York and Portland.

The Warriors attempted to carry the momentum over past the break Wednesday, but lost 129-121 to the Los Angeles Lakers - owners of the NBA's best record.

However, Golden State led by four with less than five minutes remaining before Los Angeles pulled away, leaving Warriors coach Don Nelson pleased with the effort.

"We couldn't play much better, for most of the game, than we did," Nelson said. "We had some missed shots and untimely turnovers at the wrong time ... but we played pretty well against what I think is the best team in the league."

Stephen Jackson and Corey Maggette each scored 24 points in the loss while Jamal Crawford added 23. Golden State, the second-highest scoring team in the NBA at 107.7 points per game, is averaging 121.5 points during this homestand.

Jackson is averaging 26.6 points this month, but has played at least 45 minutes in four games during February and criticized Nelson's handling of the team's lineup.

"I could have came out when (Bryant) came out," said Jackson, who guarded the Lakers' superstar. "He got a lot of rest. I think the thing to do was take me out when he came out of the game."

Jackson doesn't figure to get much rest Saturday when the Warriors host Oklahoma City (13-42), which has beaten them twice this season despite being tied for the second-worst record in the NBA. Jackson missed Golden State's only win against the Thunder because of a sprained left hand, but played more than 40 minutes in both losses, averaging 23.0 points.

Golden State is one of two teams the Thunder have beaten twice this season, the other being Memphis. Oklahoma City's 122-121 win at Oracle Arena on Jan. 21 remains one of only three road victories for the Thunder this season. They have lost six straight on the road since, including a 140-118 defeat to Phoenix on Friday in which the Suns shot 58.2 percent.

"The first half, we can't spot a good team 80 points," said Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks after his team trailed 79-57 by halftime. "We can score points, but we can't score like that."

Second-year star Kevin Durant had another solid game. Three nights after finishing with a career-high 47 points in a loss to the Hornets, Durant went 12 of 23 from the floor and finished with 35 points.

He has had two 40-point games in his last four contests against the Warriors.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: February 21, 2009


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