Thunder steal Game 1 from Warriors

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oklahoma City Thunder standouts Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined to miss 34 of their 51 shots Monday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

2533447+0517 Thunder.JPG
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, right, attempts a layup against Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals Monday at Oracle Arena. (Photo by Kyle Terada / USA TODAY Sports)

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oklahoma City Thunder standouts Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined to miss 34 of their 51 shots Monday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

Afterward, each vowed to get better in Game 2.

Either way, they just hope the result remains the same.

Westbrook and Durant overcame poor shooting to total 53 points, and unheralded center Steven Adams short-circuited a Golden State Warriorsrally with two critical free throws with 1:01 to go, allowing the Thunder to escape with a 108-102 victory over the defending NBA champs.

"It's a long series," Warriors star Stephen Curry said after his club's first Game 1 loss in the past two seasons. "It will be a different situation for us to try to bounce back at this point in the series having a deficit. So I think it's fun to be able to have this opportunity and show what we're made of."


Westbrook brushed aside a slow start to score a game-high 27 points, and Durant added 26, including a lead-extending jumper with 30.7 seconds left, as the Thunder stole home-court advantage from the top-seeded Warriors.

Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday night in Oakland, where theWarriors absorbed their first loss of the postseason Monday.

"What's to celebrate? We didn't win the championship," Durant said. "We're playing in the Western Conference finals against a great team. There is a lot of basketball to be played, so we can't be too excited."

Adams' free throws came after the Warriors, who led by 13 at halftime and then found themselves behind by eight with 4:43 remaining, rallied within 101-100 on an interior hoop by Harrison Barnes with 2:02 to go.

After an exchange of possessions, Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka recovered a missed jumper by Durant, giving Oklahoma City a second crack with 1:12 to play.

Westbrook then drove toward the hoop and lobbed a pass that smacked hard off the backboard and deflected toward the free-throw line, where Adams retrieved it and took off for the hoop.

He was fouled on a shot attempt, and the 55.1 percent career foul shooter made both free throws to increase the Oklahoma City lead to 103-100.

"That was huge," Durant said of Adams' play. "I knew they were going to foul him. But we're confident in Steven when he goes to the free-throw line. Those are huge."


The Thunder were able to win a third straight on the road (including Games 2 and 5 at San Antonio) despite Durant's 10-for-30 shooting and Westbrook's 7-for-21 from the field, but each contributed in other areas.

Durant had 10 rebounds, Ibaka 11 and Adams a game-high 12 as Oklahoma City won the battle of the boards 52-44.

Westbrook, meanwhile, had a game-high 12 assists, seven steals and no turnovers in the second half as the Thunder took better care of the basketball.

"You hear it all the time: Defense wins," Durant said. "We miss shots. That's going to happen. We just stayed with it on the defensive end."

Adams (16 points) and Ibaka (11 points) contributed double-figure scoring to go with their big rebounding efforts.

"We're not a perfect team," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "It was a struggle tonight. It was. But I thought we had some resiliency and resolve and we kind of pushed through."

Curry had 26 points for the Warriors to go with team highs in rebounds (10) and assists (seven).

He hit six of his 14 3-point attempts, but the Warriors struggled from beyond the arc, shooting just 11-for-30 and outscoring the Thunder by just nine from long distance despite taking 13 more attempts.


The Warriors were particularly off the mark on 3-point attempts in the fourth quarter, missing nine of 10 while being held to 14 points in the 12 minutes.

"We got rushed a little bit and tried to go for the home run plays," Curry said. "We had the opportunity. We just got out of character a little bit. It's something we'll learn from."

Klay Thompson had 25 points and Draymond Green 23 for the Warriors, who lost just twice at home during the regular season.

"We need to play better," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "We'd like to win Game 2."

The Thunder hadn't led since 10-9 midway through the first quarter before Durant buried a 3-pointer and Westbrook made a driving hoop in the first 90 seconds of the final period, pushing Oklahoma City into a 90-88 advantage.

The lead grew to as much as 101-93 with 4:42 to play as the Thunder defense took control of the game, limiting Golden State to just two field goals in the first 7 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter.

A 3-pointer by Curry, the Warriors' first trey of the fourth quarter after seven consecutive misses, ended the Golden State drought and got theWarriors within 101-96 with 4:28 to go.

Green and Barnes converted interior hoops as a desperation GoldenState surge continued, closing the gap to 101-100 with 2:02 to go.

What To Read Next
Members Only
A string of late goals for Dickinson boys hockey team would be the decider, but wouldn't cease the North Stars 'never say die' effort till the final buzzer.
Magicians secure victory with a three pin contest at an intense dual in Dickinson. 
The Midgets’ win came with an injury to All-State beam title holder Addison Fitterer that could see her out for an extended period of time.
Members Only
Dickinson's Michael McChesney helps lead Team USA to a silver medal finish in the World University Games, inspiring young athletes to strive for greatness