OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 26 points and made a key 17-foot jumper with 30.7 seconds left, and the Oklahoma City Thunder handed the Golden State Warriors their first home loss of the playoffs with a 108-102 victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Monday night.
Russell Westbrook scored 24 of his 27 points in the second half for Oklahoma City, which trailed 60-47 at halftime. Westbrook also had 12 assists and seven steals in the opener of the Thunder’s fourth West finals in six years.
“We’ve just got to compete,” Westbrook said. “It’s going to be a tough game. It’s a tough building. They have a lot of great players on their team, but I know we’re a great team and when we put our minds to it, tonight we didn’t play our best game and we came out with a win.”
Game 2 is Wednesday night at Oracle Arena. If this one was any kind of preview of what is coming, this should be a dandy of a series between the NBA’s highest-scoring teams from the regular season.
Steven Adams made a pair of free throws for Oklahoma City with 1:01 remaining, and Klay Thompson missed a reverse lay-in moments later on the other end.
MVP Stephen Curry had 26 points and a playoff career-high 10 rebounds, but the Warriors missed too many shots down the stretch.
With his team down 105-102, Steve Kerr begged for a traveling call on Westbrook at midcourt with 17.2 seconds left, with the NBA Coach of the Year signaling with his arms before going into a squat. Oklahoma City got a timeout instead. Westbrook made one free throw with 14.5 seconds to go.
Thompson scored 19 of his 25 points in the first half, but shot 3 for 10 over the last two quarters. Curry’s 3-pointer to beat the halftime buzzer gave Golden State a 13-point lead at the break.
Durant scored to get his team within 88-85 going into the final quarter, and then knocked down a tying 3 just 12 seconds into the fourth. Dion Waiters’ layup at 10:30 put the Thunder ahead for the first time since the opening quarter.
Westbrook missed nine of his first 10 shots before finding a groove and scoring 19 points in his team’s 38-point third quarter. His jumper with 5:03 left pulled Oklahoma City to 73-68 before Thompson answered two possessions later. Westbrook stole the ball from Green and drove the length of the court for a dunk at the 3:07 mark of the third, and that helped swing momentum.
Durant, Serge Ibaka and Adams each had double-digit rebounds – a focal point for Golden State after the Warriors won 121-118 in overtime on Curry’s long game-winner at Oklahoma City on Feb. 27 despite being outrebounded 62-32.
Westbrook took a hard hit to the face by Andrew Bogut for a foul ruled a Flagrant 1 after a review at the 5:37 mark of the first quarter. Trainers checked Westbrook’s mouth.
Curry was 9 for 22 from the field, including a 6-for-14 performance from beyond the arc, and committed seven turnovers to go with seven assists. He hit a 3-pointer in his 45th straight playoff game, breaking Reggie Miller’s record set from 1995-2000.
This marked the unanimous MVP’s second straight start since coming off the bench in Game 4 against the Trail Blazers following a right knee sprain that still isn’t 100 percent. He said he can manage just fine, it’s just about “pain tolerance” going forward.
It also marked the first playoff matchup between Oklahoma City and the Warriors, though Golden State lost a first-round series 3-1 to the franchise when it was the Seattle SuperSonics in 1992.
Bogut started but didn’t score after returning to practice Sunday from a strained muscle in his right leg between the groin and hamstring that he injured in last Wednesday’s Game 5 clincher against Portland.
Curry and Thompson were the highest-scoring duo in the NBA, averaging 52.2 points, while Durant and Westbrook were a close second at 51.7.
Thompson has scored 20 or more points in eight straight playoff games, the longest such streak by a Warriors player since Tim Hardaway’s 12 games in a row from 1991-92.
Westbrook’s 19 third-quarter points were the most Golden State allowed to an opposing player in a quarter this postseason.
Thunder: Oklahoma City won on the Warriors’ home floor for the first time in six games since a 116-97 victory on April 11, 2013. … The Thunder outrebounded the Warriors 158-118 in the three regular-season games and 52-44 Monday.
Warriors: Thompson made three 3-pointers, ending his streak with at least five 3s at seven playoff games. … Golden State had its streak of seven straight Game 1 playoff wins snapped with its first such defeat since dropping Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals to the Spurs in 2013. … The Warriors dropped to 6-1 at home this postseason. … Curry passed Paul Arizin (1,145) for third-most playoff points in franchise history.