Instant Replay: Warriors 104, Thunder 99

Lee: 'We've proven that we can play with anybody'

Instant Replay: Warriors 104, Thunder 99
January 23, 2013, 9:30 pm
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If the All-Star voting doesn’t go his way, there are other ways for Stephen Curry to find celebrity recognition.

You know, like “Dancing with the Stars.”

Curry moved with rhythm, dancing around defenders in the Warriors' 104-99 victory against the league’s best record, the Oklahoma City Thunder, on Wednesday night.

[RELATED: Warriors win another measuring-stick game]

Curry finished with 31 points and at least a few different versions of dancing. There was an upper-body shimmy, a half-skip and whatever other names you want to call his brief, unrestrained moments of jubilation after big scores.

“They’re joking with me, some of my teammates, I don’t even remember doing whatever I did so I’ll have to check the footage on that one,” Curry said. “I don’t know what it is, it’s truly genuine.”

The shimmy celebration may have been taken out of his coach’s collection.

“You don’t realize who you are impacting when you are going through it, an 11- or 12-year-old watches his dad’s teammate act a fool,” joked Jackson, who had his own version of the shimmy throughout his career and when playing with Dell Curry. 

“I’ll tell you what though, the way he’s playing dance all you want.”

The Warriors will be in Chicago for Friday’s game against the Bulls when All-Star Game reserves are announced on Thursday at 4 p.m.

It’s safe to assume that Curry might break it down if his name is read as one of the seven Western Conference selections voted on by NBA coaches.

Though voting closed Wednesday morning, Curry still put on one last show. Coming into the night as a 46.4 percent three-point shooter, Curry did shoot just 3-for-14 from behind the arc, but he made up for it on aggressive drives and dances through the lane and shot 8-for-13 from inside the arc.

It wasn’t Curry’s lethal shot that earned the victory; it was his hands and a defensive awareness.

Curry, arguably the league’s best three-point shooter, had a wide-open three-point attempt with just under 20 seconds left that would have given the Warriors a five-point lead. Instead, the 46.4 percent three-point shooter missed the shot, leaving the door open for the game’s most elite scorer, Kevin Durant.

But it was the defensive awareness of Curry shifted into help, resulting in a quick steal off a Durant pass that led to a Thunder foul and two made free throws by Curry that sealed a Warriors victory.

Durant finished with 33 points, nine assists and five rebounds but turned the ball over six times. Russell Westbrook struggled, scoring 10 points on 3-for-16 shooting. After shooting 56.4 percent in the first half, the Thunder shot just 35.9 percent in the second half.

Lee just as deserving

While David Lee is more of a yelling, fist-pumping type than he is a dancer, he’s not to be forgotten in the Warriors hope for their first All-Star since 1997.

Lee’s lone assist of the game was momentous and found Carl Landry in the lane to bring the Warriors within one point at 94-93 with 3:54 remaining. Lee finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds. He leads the NBA with 17 games of 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds.

See this coming?

With the season hitting its official halfway point for Golden State (26-15) through 41 games, did anyone see the Warriors here, 11 games over .500, having just beat the Western Conference's two best teams and anticipating two potential all-stars?

 “I’m a guy that saw this team come together, watched them embrace and love on another and work extremely hard,” Jackson said prior to Wednesday’s game. “I sat back and watched, anticipated the results and minded mine own business and let God take care of his. … 

That being said, I will get my praise and worship on because I didn’t think it would be this good.” 

Wednesday’s victory was the third consecutive win for the Warriors, including one against the Pacific Division leading Los Angeles Clippers and now the league-best Thunder.

“We aren’t going to rest on this,” Jackson said after the win. “Every game, whether it’s the Clippers or the Thunder or the games coming up, we have to be prepared, we have to be ready and we have to be focused.”

Tweet of the game

@djillusive45 "It's good to be a @warriors fan right now. Beat the 2 best teams back to back games! #warriorstalk" 

The comeback story

The Warriors trailed 88-80 with 7:51 remaining in the fourth quarter. 

It was small plays, like the one in which Jarrett Jack swiped the ball out of the hands of Durant’s for an offensive rebound and followed it with a jumper to bring the game to 90-86 with just more than six minutes remaining.

Landry scored eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, including a bucket with just more than three minutes remaining to give the Warriors a 95-94 lead and another score a moment later to extend a 97-94 Golden State lead.

Jack had another big play down the stretch, striking on a one-on-one pull-up jumper in the face of Durant to extend a 99-96 advantage.

Durant, in typical superstar fashion, bullied his way to the basket on a drive going nowhere, picking up two free throws attempts with the Thunder trailing 101-98 with 35.1 seconds remaining. Durant missed the second free throw and the Warriors maintained a two-point lead before Curry’s three-point miss followed by Durant’s turnover on the Curry steal.

Early on

The Oklahoma City Thunder led 57-52 at halftime on 56.4 percent shooting. Durant had 18 points and eight assists through the first two quarters. 

 Golden State withstood Oklahoma City’s shooting, scoring 14 points off 10 first-half turnovers by the Thunder. The Thunder led 79-76 heading into the fourth quarter.