Westbrook’s Thunder put Warriors on the brink

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Russell Westbrook No.0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives against Stephen Curry No.30 of the Golden State Warriors in the second half in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals during the 2016 NBA playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. AFP PHOTO

Russell Westbrook No.0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives against Stephen Curry No.30 of the Golden State Warriors in the second half in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals during the 2016 NBA playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. AFP PHOTO

LOS ANGELES: Russell Westbrook tallied a triple double and Kevin Durant finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds as Oklahoma City routed Golden State 118-94 to put the Warriors on the brink of elimination on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).

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Westbrook had 36 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for the Thunder who can advance to the NBA finals with a victory in Thursday’s game five on the road.

“I am proud of the way the guys hung in there,” said Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan. “We kept battling and fighting. We defended as hard as we could for 48 minutes.”

Westbrook, who led the league with 18 triple doubles during the regular season, posted his first triple double of the playoffs for the Thunder who have a 3-1 series lead.

“I try to use my size and ability to create some havoc,” Westbrook said. “We did a great job of defending home court.”

The Warriors lost back-to-back games for the first time this season after winning a league record 73 games in the regular season.

Thunder forward Durant scored his points on eight-of-24 shooting from the field while Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson each scored 17 points and Steven Adams tallied 11 points and seven rebounds.

“I try to play with passion each chance I get,” Durant said.

League MVP Stephen Curry was held to 19 points while Klay Thompson led the defending champion Warriors with 26 points.

Curry shot a disappointing six-of-20 from the field, and he and Thompson combined to make just six-of-21 shots from beyond the arc.

Harrison Barnes posted 11 points in the loss for the Warriors, who attempted just 17 free throws in the first half.

Golden State has lost by a combined 52 points over the two games in Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“We had 21 turnovers many of them unforced,” said Warrior coach Steve Kerr. “They are getting just way too many possessions compared to us.

“They are taking care of business on the boards. We are forcing stops but we are not going and getting the ball. We have to chase down loose balls.”

Durant and Westbrook were a combined 12-for-12 from the free throw line in the first half.

Thompson broke loose for 19 points in the third quarter and helped cut Oklahoma City’s lead down to seven.

But the Thunder weren’t done. Oklahoma City ended the quarter strong to take 12-point lead and that would be as close as the Warriors would come.

For the second game in a row, the Thunder didn’t let up in the fourth. The Warriors surrendered early and pulled their starters with just over three minutes left.

Kerr said the Thunder’s strong defense is a problem for them.

“This is the longest team in the league. We continue to try to put passes over their outstretched arms and that is not a good idea,” Kerr said.

AFP

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