Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images
(AP) OKLAHOMA CITY — As the injuries pile up, the Oklahoma City Thunder have stayed ahead of any reckoning.
That could change after Russell Westbrook left Friday night’s 110-87 win over Golden State with what the team said was a sprained right ankle.
“We’ll just see how he feels tomorrow,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.
James Harden scored 25 points, Kevin Durant added 23 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder completed a season sweep of the Golden State Warriors.
But the All-Star point guard left the game with 1:13 left in the third quarter with what the team said was a sprained right ankle. He didn’t return.
But the Thunder improved to 23-7, the best record in the Western Conference, with their third win over the Warriors in 22 days.
Westbrook, who scored 18 points, was walking without a limp in the locker room afterward.
“It’s part of the game. Our organization, we don’t make excuses,” Scott said. “You play through it. You can’t do anything about it. We have a team full of guys who are capable of playing good minutes, solid minutes and hard minutes and they did.”
The Thunder were without center Kendrick Perkins (right knee contusion) and guard Thabo Sefolosha (right foot pain). Earlier this season, they lost backup point guard Eric Maynor to a season-ending knee injury.
David Lee led Golden State with 23 points. Monta Ellis, who scored 48 points the last time the teams played, had 11 in this one. Ellis went down moments after Westbrook, with 17.1 seconds left in the third quarter. The Warriors said Ellis had a hyperextended right knee, but could have returned if the game hadn’t been so lopsided.
Oklahoma City, which shot 52.7 percent from the field, improved to 6-1 in games played after a loss. The Thunder had lost 96-95 at Houston on Wednesday.
A 16-2 first-quarter run gave the Warriors a 24-17 lead and Golden State was up 39-36 with 5:28 left in the first half when the Thunder scored 10 straight points.
“We played hard and played together and we were able to get some transition baskets and some easy plays in our offense and cruised on from there,” Durant said.
Oklahoma City had three consecutive dunks during the run — first a one-hander by Durant, followed by an alley-oop from Durant to Harden and capped by a steal and one-handed jam by Westbrook that gave the Thunder a 46-39 lead. Oklahoma City stretched that margin to 58-48 by halftime.
“Second straight game, the second quarter hurt us,” Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. “Portland had a big second quarter and tonight we give up 38 points in the second quarter. We got some good looks (and it was) the first time in a long time we’ve struggled to make shots.
“Other than the second quarter, I thought we did a good job.”
Durant and Serge Ibaka opened up the second half with baskets for the Thunder and Golden State never cut the margin below double digits. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Royal Ivey and Durant fueled an 8-0 run to end the third quarter and put Oklahoma City up 84-65.
During that run, Westbrook steamed down the court after a steal before pulling up in the lane with 1:13 left in the quarter and hobbling off the court. Ellis’ injury occurred right in front of the Warriors’ bench.
Dorell Wright, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson each scored 11 points for Golden State, playing the first game in a stretch during which the Warriors will play eight of nine games on the road. Wright added 11 rebounds. The Warriors shot 34.8 percent from the field (31 of 89).
“It’s a make-or-miss league and we just missed some shots,” Jackson said.
The Thunder went 10 of 24 from 3-point range, led by Durant (3 of 3), Harden (4 of 7) and Ivey (3 of 7).
“If guys go down then guys have to step up,” Ivey said. “Today I got the opportunity and I just tried to make the best of it. Being around these guys will give you a lot of confidence. We’ve been playing well this year and you don’t want to let your teammates down. You want to add to their success.”
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