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SPORTS: Oklahoma City Thunder

Depleted Thunder Roster Gets Thinner In Home Win

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Thunder guard Russell Westbrook sprained his ankle at the end of the third quarter and did not return. (AP Photo) Thunder guard Russell Westbrook sprained his ankle at the end of the third quarter and did not return. (AP Photo)

Grant Belcher, News9.com

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Thunder certainly put on an exciting show on Friday night against Golden State.

What was left of the Thunder anyway.

OKC came into the game missing two starters and lost one more in a 110-87 win against the Warriors at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Though Thabo Sefolosha's absence was not a surprise (he has missed 12 straight games with what is being called a sore right foot), Kendrick Perkins' injury is a new thing.

Perkins sat out of the game with a right knee contusion suffered in Wednesday night's 96-95 loss at Houston and is day-to-day.

Near the end of the third quarter, Russell Westbrook turned his right ankle cutting to the basket and immediately was assisted to the locker room. He was diagnosed with a sprained right ankle and did not return. After the game, Scott Brooks described the ankle sprain as "mild" and said the team would see how Westbrook felt Saturday.

Even Kevin Durant was a bit questionable for the game after experiencing some stomach pains earlier in the day on Friday, but he ended up playing.

All these aspects have come together to prove that even the young and famously healthy Thunder are not immune to the pitfalls of a compact season.

But the most impressive thing through it all is that the play from backups such as Daequan Cook and Royal Ivey has helped the Thunder keep its spot in first place on top of the Western Conference standings.

The Oklahoma City bench got plenty of both throughout the game and especially at the end of the blowout victory against Golden State.

Every active player on the Thunder roster got significant minutes during the game and several had some decent stat lines to show for it.

Backup point guard Reggie Jackson had nine points and four assists and Royal Ivey got some good minutes to go with nine points, all on 3-pointers.

James Harden led all scorers with 25 points and Kevin Durant had 23 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Westbrook had 18 points before leaving near the end of the third quarter.

The Thunder shot 53 percent from the field while holding the normally hot-shooting Warriors to just 35 percent.

Oklahoma City also held Monta Ellis, who put up 48 points in the previous meeting against the two teams, to just 11 points, but Ellis also exited the game with an apparent knee injury late in the contest.

The Thunder's schedule so far this season has been heavily road-oriented, as Friday's home game was just their 12th overall out of 30 games so far.

But it was also the first of a five-game home stretch heading into the All-Star Break.

OKC (23-7) will have Saturday off before hosting the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, with tipoff set for 7 p.m.

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