Two plays after Klay Thompson rim-shocked one of the best Golden State Warriors dunks of the season on Kevin Durant, KD decided he had had enough. He grabbed Thompson from behind on a one-on-one transition opportunity, giving the Warriors shooting guard zero chance at repeating the same exact emphatic ending. Up by 20 going into halftime, the Oklahoma City Thunder were primed for at least one huge run, at least that's what great teams do when they're up against the proverbial wall. Four minutes into the third quarter, the Oklahoma City Thunder were done. There was no run.
The Warriors are just ridiculous. I don't really know what the hell else to tell you.
It's easier to just go into an elongated Leftover Observations. (Also, I'm battling the most annoying cough so if you have solutions that don't involve medicine, drop them in the comments.)
1. To parlay the Klay Thompson play into another point. Jonathan Abrams of Grantland had an excellent feature, as always, on the Splash Brothers by the Bay. He had an excellent point where Thompson was unafraid to try doing the same thing twice in a row even if failure came most. He went in for the first dunk and was denied but essentially made the same exact play a few possessions after. He was not denied. That is some kind of confidence and it definitely rubs off on everyone else.
2. Durant was mostly off all night but some of it could be attributed to the excellent switch-and-double job the Warriors pulled off from the start. They started Harrison Barnes on Durant, but pushed into the baseline on screens, relying on Marreese Speights to give help, or if it was a wing, anybody that was guarding Andre Roberson. With the Thunder employing two zeroes on offense, it allowed the Warriors to swarm more than usual. Again, most of it was due to Durant's own lack of a good shooting day but the Warriors made it even tougher with superb switching and helping.
3. Justin Holiday started at the end of the bench. He jumped by Brandon Rush. Shot over Leandro Barbosa. And is now threatening to hop through Shaun Livingston. He won't, mostly because he can't dribble as well as the veteran point guard. But there's some impressive defensive talent when the Warriors can throw out a Livingston-Andre Iguodala-Barnes-Holiday quartet when Thompson and Green are in foul trouble.
Holiday even had the confidence to pull up from three in transition against Kevin Durant. That's some Jordan Crawford-level confidence. Without the rest of the baggage.
4. Green, Thompson and Curry made some absurd anticipatory plays throughout the game.
a. Stephen Curry played off of one of the Thunder's non-offensive players with Durant driving down the right wing. When Durant was doubled and lost his vision back to the top of the key, Curry left his man and dove into the lane. Durant made the right decision to flip it to the opposite corner, the usual safety valve for someone in trouble in his own corner. Curry intercepted it with ease by understanding that particular point, highlighting his awareness on defense.
b. Serge Ibaka pump-faked at the top of the three-point line. Thompson closed out at the point without overrunning his man. Then as Ibaka faked to drive, Thompson, instead of backing into the lane, stood his ground, anticipating a pass. Knowing that Ibaka wouldn't actually take more than a dribble or two (scouting report!), Thompson stole a swing pass to the wing.
c. There were so many, I don't even know what to say. We'll go with a pretty easy one. Late in the third quarter, when the Warriors were somehow building a lead without Curry and Thompson on the floor, Green made a tough play look easy. Iguodala and Holiday were doubling in the left corner and it left Steven Adams wide open at the rim. The pass came to him at the top but Green, having to defend nearly three guys at the key, corner and paint sprinted down and knocked it to Iguodala, leading a fastbreak.
Okay, I lied. Green also made a sneak attack defensive play on an inbounds where he pretended to sprint back on defense after a made shot but turned around almost immediately to pressure the person next to the inbounder. Perry Jones ended up turning the ball over and another run ensued.
5. As for the offense, the Warriors made tons of open shots. Barnes was struggling the past few weeks but unleashed a barrage of threes with his quick release. But what was more impressive was his ability to cut on early offense. The Warriors like to push the pace even if it doesn't get them anything early in the shot clock. Livingston usually runs to the corner, faking a pass, and have Barnes in the corner backdoor. When that doesn't work, Livingston swings it back to the top and Barnes faked a cut to the top of the key, but instead, backdoors back to the rim. It's innocuous but the Thunder are a hyper-athletic team that thrives more on chaos than fundamental defense.
6. Draymond Green again. He blocked Serge Ibaka's three on one possession, then came back and stonewalled Russell Westbrook at the rim. I asked him how his defense differed from that of Andre Iguodala's and the other perimeter players.
"I think being a versatile defender helps. Being able to guard 1-5 makes a difference. And having great anticipation skills as well."
Green also made another one of his patented defensive standout plays when he ripped the ball away from Anthony Morrow on a rebound. The ball was cradled by Morrow. And then it was in Green's arms. That's grown man ---.
7. There were about 50 questions about championship aspirations in the locker room and press conference after the game. It wasn't much of a surprise given the beatdown against an elite opponent and the national media showing up for a big game. The surprise came when coach Steve Kerr kept flat-out denying the utterance of the term. He repeatedly spoke about the process, about how the team can improve in the now, and how worried he was about the present way more than the future. There's some paranoia entrenched here as Kerr also cautions against feelings during a losing streak and how the team will and should respond.
And while the players were pumped during the game, there wasn't much celebrating post-buzzer and in the locker room. It's really been like that all season. It's a happy locker room but not overly boisterous, although Andre Iguodala smiled for the first time to the media when talking about his friend Justin Holiday. He really does love helping his teammates.
8. There were some insane Curry moves today. Somebody throw those Vines up, please. And give Morrow his ankles back. Westbrook, too, I guess.
The Warriors stay in the Bay to play the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night at 7:30 PST.