The Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Thunder have performed quite well following a loss this season and look to keep it that way when the Golden State Warriors pay a visit to Chesapeake Energy Arena tonight.
The Thunder are 5-1 this season in games played immediately following a loss and posted a 20-6 mark last year after suffering a setback. The resilient Thunder will begin a five-game homestand Friday versus the Warriors, Nuggets, Hornets, Celtics and Lakers, and have won seven in a row as the host.
Oklahoma City, which is an impressive 10-1 at home and off to its third-best start in franchise history at 22-7, had a modest two-game winning streak cut short with Wednesday's 96-95 defeat in Houston. Kevin Durant dropped in a game-high 33 points and missed a handful of potential game-winning shots in the closing seconds. Russell Westbrook had 26 points, eight rebounds and four assists for Oklahoma City, which still leads the Northwest Division.
"I got where I wanted to get. I missed the shots. That's the difference," Durant said. "We got unbelievable looks. Better looks than we usually get. I missed a wide open [three pointer], a wide open curled jump shot and another floater shot going to the rim. Things like that happen. We have to move on and can't beat ourselves up for it."
James Harden finished with 17 points off the bench in defeat. Harden's 16.8 point per game average is currently tops among reserve players. The Thunder are an impressive 17-6 against Western Conference foes, including a 7-1 mark in the OKC.
Golden State will try to get back into the win column after having its three- game winning streak cut short with Wednesday's 93-91 loss versus Portland in the finale of a three-game homestand.
David Lee led the way with 29 points and 11 rebounds, while Nate Robinson pumped in 21 points off the bench for the Warriors, who had won five of seven games and got just 10 points from Monta Ellis. Ellis sat out the fourth quarter because of an illness. Stephen Curry netted eight points in the loss.
"We had a couple of chances," Lee said. "It was a battle of wills, and they made more plays in the end."
Dorell Wright scored 12 points in the loss and is averaging 13.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in his last nine games. Despite his eight points against the Blazers, Curry has averages of 17.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 2.00 steals through seven games this month.
The Warriors will play eight of their next nine games on the road and are 3-6 away from Oakland this season. They are 6-10 against the Western Conference this season, but 6-5 in a stretch of 15 straight games against the West.
Golden State has lost the first two meetings with the Thunder this season and 10 of the last 14 matchups overall. The Warriors have lost five in a row as the visitor in this series. Golden State has posted a 1-5 mark on the road against Oklahoma City since the franchise relocated from Seattle prior to the 2008-09 season.