Warriors bury Thunder to complete dominant season series sweepMarch 21, 2017 3:16am

March 20-- OKLAHOMA CITY-Emotions boiled over between the Warriors and Thunder again on Monday night in Oklahoma City, leading to a shoving scrum, four technicals and a lengthy review. The sequence happened with 5.2 seconds left in the first half, giving the steaming sides plenty of time to simmer down in their respective locker rooms.

But before then, the Warriors had one more cold-blooded dagger to shove into the hearts of Thunder fans. After the scuffle, referees set up a jump-ball on OKC's side of the court. Andre Iguodala tipped it toward the OKC bench, 80 feet from the Warriors hoop, where Klay Thompson chased it down with four seconds left and heaved a lob pass over his shoulder.

It landed in the hands of Stephen Curry, who turned and rainbow'd through a buzzer-beating 3, capping a dominant half (59-39) that highlighted a dominant win (111-95 final) to close out a dominant 4-0 season sweep of the Thunder.

As the ball swished through, Curry-who minutes earlier was at the center of the scrum, pushing both Semaj Christon and Russell Westbrook as others tried to separate-sensed the arena-wide distress he'd just created, posed for just a second and then sprinted right off the court as a shellshocked crowd was forced, again, to digest these Silicon Valley Warriors storming the nation's heartland and terrorizing their home team.

That's now seven straight wins for the Warriors over the Thunder, sandwiched by an earth-rattling theft of their rival's biggest superstar. This one-sided NBA drama is bordering on cruel and unusual punishment.

Just 10 months back, the Thunder had the 73-win Warriors on the brink of extinction, up 3-1 in the West Finals and looking like the better team. But Golden State responded with wins in Game 5, 6 and 7 to steal away the conference crown. Then a month after that, they signed away Kevin Durant, OKC's best player.

Utilizing Durant, the Warriors destroyed the helpless Thunder three times in the season's first few months. Golden State's margin of victory: 26, 21, 16. Durant's points in those games: 39, 40 and 34.

But Durant was forced to miss Monday night's game while rehabbing a left knee injury. The crowd was still able to boo him as emerged from the tunnel in street clothes to cheer on his new team from the bench without the fear of a 40-point repercussion.

The Thunder entered playing well, having won five straight. Could they get the slightest bit of small satisfaction over their bullying rivals? Nope.

The Warriors took over the game in the first quarter. Curry hit two 3s in the first few minutes and then uncorked his first dunk of the season, celebrated wildly by Durant and the Warrior bench.

Then the Golden State defense clamped down, forcing the Thunder into below 40 percent shooting much of the game while beating them 46-40 in rebounds (one of the supposed few remaining OKC advantages).

And while the Thunder slugged through a rough shooting night (4-of-21 from 3), the Warriors' previously slumping snipers did not. On Golden State's recent road trip, Thompson and Curry went a combined 29-of-109 from 3. On this night, they'd go a combined 14-of-27.

Three of those 14 3-pointers came in a third quarter, just after the Thunder had made a slight run to cut the lead to 12. There was a brief bit of life and hope in the arena. But three times, Golden State outhustled the Thunder to offensive rebounds and kicked it to their superstar shooters for backbreaking 3s.

The Warriors led by 26 at the end of the third quarter, allowing Curry to rest the entire fourth quarter of a third straight blowout as Durant and a jolly Warrior team laughed away the final 12 minutes of a dramatic but uncompetitive 4-0 season sweep of the Thunder.

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(c)2017 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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