By Randy Renner
Two of the hottest teams in basketball are set for a showdown game tonight in Oakland, the Golden State Warriors have the NBA's best record at 21-3 and the Oklahoma City Thunder have the league's longest current streak at seven straight games.
"It's another game in the regular season for us to get better," Kevin Durant told reporters. "They're a great team and the number one team in the West right now. We have our work cut out for us. ... It should be a fun matchup."
The Warriors are surely eager to get back on the court after their franchise-best 16-game winning streak ended in Tuesday's 105-98 defeat at Memphis. Golden State, which hadn't lost since falling 113-100 to San Antonio way back on November 11th, was limited to 41.1 percent shooting for its second-worst mark this season.
The Warriors worst shooting night came in the first meeting of the season against the Thunder when OKC (playing without Durant and Russell Westbrook) held them to just 35.5 percent shooting and a season-low 91 points. The Thunder lost that night 91-86 mostly because of a career-night from Marreese Speights who dropped in 28 points coming off the bench and then Speights fired some verbal shots after the game ripping Thunder center Kendrick Perkins.
“He thinks he’s a tough guy, but at the end of the day, his game is terrible.”
Perkins responded to those comments after a Thunder practice session.
“I just don’t understand some guys,” Perk said then. “Especially like a guy his caliber, five or six-year player in the league, you been on six different teams, you don’t really have no room to be talking about anyone.”
So that should add even more intrigue to what should be a heck of a game tonight as the Thunder continue to round into shape after getting everyone back from injuries.
"We just stayed poised because we've been there before. It's not our first time," Durant said. "We've just been trying to get better every single day. I can't keep preaching that enough. Defensively we've been locking in."
Have they ever. The Thunder have limited opponents to 93.1 points and 40.2 percent shooting during their seven-game run.
But just when it appeared the Thunder had shaken the injury bug, Mitch McGary was bitten again. He finally saw some playing time the other night but now he will have to sit out another couple of weeks with inflammation in his left leg.
David Lee (hamstring) and Andrew Bogut (knee tendinitis) are out for Golden State, which saw its franchise record 16-game winning streak come to an end Tuesday night in Memphis. They Warriors still have a streak going at home though. They've six straight and eight of nine inside rowdy Oracle Arena.
Tonight's contest is the second game of TNT's national TV double-header so tipoff tonight will be around 9:40 to 9:45 depending on when the first game ends. You can also catch coverage over on Fox Sports Oklahoma beginning at 9 o'clock tonight.