Durant, Harden combine for 54 points in rout of Warriors | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Durant, Harden combine for 54 points in rout of Warriors

OKLAHOMA CITY – Kevin Durant scored 28 points, rookie James Harden added a career-high 26 and the Oklahoma City Thunder capitalized on a brief blowup by Golden State’s Corey Maggette to pull away from the Warriors for a 104-88 victory on Monday night.

Oklahoma City led by one when Maggette drew two technical fouls for arguing with official Derek Richardson late in the third quarter. Durant hit both free throws that followed, and Russell Westbrook added two more from the initial foul against Maggette.

Between Maggette’s ejection and the end of the third quarter, the Thunder outscored Golden State 16-5 to take control.

Monta Ellis led the Warriors with 31 points but also picked up a technical foul and committed nine turnovers. Golden State opened a five-game trip with assistant Keith Smart in charge while coach Don Nelson recovers from pneumonia.

Rookie Stephen Curry had a career-high 22 points and Maggette scored 11 before being ejected with 4:07 left in the third. It was his first ejection since the 2003-04 season, according to STATS LLC.

Jeff Green had 21 points and 13 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which went 3-2 during its longest stretch of home games this season. Westbrook added 12 points. The Thunder outrebounded Golden State 57-37.

Nelson, who had returned to the bench after missing five games due to his illness, was told by team doctors to stay home instead of heading on the road with his team.

Ellis had nine early points as Golden State rushed out to a 21-12 lead before Oklahoma City went on a 12-2 spurt to regain the lead in the opening minute of the second quarter. Ellis and Corey Maggette led the way as the Warriors answered immediately with a 10-0 run, but Harden had seven points in a 14-0 response by the Thunder that Green capped with a tip-in of Durant’s miss for a 41-35 lead.

The Thunder answered with another 10-0 run after Golden State took a 51-50 lead on Ellis’ two free throws 19 seconds after halftime. The Warriors made one last charge with eight straight points to tie it at 62.

NOTES: NBA Hall of Famer George Gervin watched from a front row seat. … Harden, who hadn’t attempted more than six free throws in any of his first 19 career games, was 10 for 10 at the line in his first 11 minutes on the floor. … Oklahoma City’s Scott Brooks could relate to Smart’s tough spot filling in for Nelson. He was 0-4 as a substitute for Nuggets coach George Karl and 2-0 in former Kings coach Eric Musselman’s place when he was an assistant coach. “The challenge is you can’t really do anything that you want to put in, because it’s not your team,” Brooks said. “You’re the substitute teacher and you have to stick with the philosophy of the head coach.”

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