NBA scores 2014: Warriors-Thunder marred by Durant injury and 3 other things we learned
A game that was shaping up to be one of the best this season left us disappointed when Durant could not return for the second half.
The first half was marvelous. It was two Western Conference powers battling back and forth, the Warriors sitting atop the division and the Thunder surging back into the playoff picture after finally getting their stars back from injury. Somehow, a fast-paced game grew faster as the game went by, with each team taking turns with one big run after another and each star alternating possessions punctuated by hitting ridiculous shots.
But just two seconds away from the safety of halftime, Kevin Durant drove into the lane, landed on Marreese Speights‘ foot and went down in a heap. The official injury news is a mild ankle sprain, thankfully, but Durant would not return for the second half. Golden State was missing the oft-injured Andrew Bogut themselves, and suddenly, a game with huge West playoff implications seemed to lose its sparkle.
It’s a shame, because the second half was great. Stephen Curry had 15 in the final two quarters and Russell Westbrook matched him with 18 of his own .. but Westbrook needed 18 shots to get there and Curry’s makes weren’t quite as spectacular. The game just never seemed to have the impact that first half held.
Without Durant — who had 28 in the first quarter before leaving, including a brief shooting gallery where he hit three-pointers in three straight possessions — the Thunder couldn’t keep up with the Warriors and the raucous environment in Golden State. It was close and Oklahoma City briefly held a lead in the fourth quarter, but everyone could feel that it was no longer a fair fight.
The Warriors and Thunder play twice more next month on Jan. 5 and 16. Hopefully, optimistically, both teams can enter that game with their rosters intact and resume that first half struggle that made us wonder if we were watching a future seven-game playoff series act itself out in the guise of a casual regular season meet-up.
3 other things we learned
Boogie is back! Missing 10 games with viral meningitis and returning to the Kings in a free fall with a new coach wasn’t something anyone could expect, but all DeMarcus Cousins can do now is make the best of the situation. He did his best Thursday night, scoring 27 points on 8-of-12 shooting and grabbing 11 rebounds in his return. But put in a tough situation in the final seconds, he couldn’t hit a long, potential game-winning jumper in a 108-107 loss to the Bucks. Regardless, it’s good to see Cousins back out on a basketball picking up right where he left off.
Anthony Davis‘ ridiculous stat lines are basically expected now. The Brow put up 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting, 14 rebounds, three assists, two steals and five blocks, and nobody even batted an eye. It’s so natural for him, so normal. More importantly, he led the Pelicans to a 99-90 road win against the division opponent Rockets.
All of the point guards have gone West. The Mavericks made a trade for Rajon Rondo last night, as if the Western Conference needed to get any richer. The loss of Brandan Wright will hurt Dallas, but Rondo improves their two biggest weaknesses: perimeter defense and rebounding. In the mean time, take a look at all the guys at the helm in the West. That’s ridiculous.
West PGs: GS: Curry Mem: Conley OK: W’brook SA: TP LAC: CP3 Dal: Rondo Por: Lillard NO: Holiday Phx: Dragic/Bledsoe Den: Lawson Min: Rubio
— Jeff Caplan (@Jeff_Caplan) December 19, 2014
Play of the Night
3 fun things
Pelicans 99, Rockets 90 (The Bird Writes recap | The Dream Shake recap)
Warriors 114, Thunder 109 (Golden State of Mind recap | Welcome to Loud City recap)