OKLAHOMA CITY — If only the Warriors could throw out Sunday's third quarter. Then they'd have outscored the Oklahoma City Thunder by five points on the Thunder's own court.
Problem for the Warriors: Games don't work like that.
So another poor performance immediately after halftime — "terrible," coach Don Nelson called it — cost the Warriors (13-33) another game, 112-104. They have dropped five straight and nine of their past 11.
Kevin Durant scored 45 points on only 21 shots to lead the Thunder — "Amazing performance," Nelson said — including 13 in the fateful quarter.
"I'm not sure what it is," said Nelson, who was in obvious back pain as he sat for postgame interviews. "It's been a nemesis the whole season so far, the third quarter."
The Warriors' third-quarter defeat was greater than the overall margin of their loss for the eighth time this season. They've also been outscored in the third quarter 30 times, 12 times by double-digits.
Wins in all the games in which the Warriors have outscored the opponent over the other three quarters would have them over the 20-win plateau.
Instead, they are 20 games under .500. The Warriors are 9-5 when they win the third quarter, 3-27 when they don't and 1-1 when they break even.
"I just know we're not very good right now," rookie guard Stephen Curry said of the post-halftime effort.
Had the Warriors thrown out the third quarter, they'd have finished with 52.6 percent shooting from the floor, normally a winning formula for them. Instead, they went 7-for-22 in those 12 minutes. After leading 55-54 at halftime, they were outscored 33-20 in the third.
During a five-plus minute stretch, they missed nine straight shots and turned over the ball five times.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma City made 7 of 11 attempts and pushed a four-point Warriors deficit to 85-70 with less than two minutes left in the third quarter.
"I really don't believe it's our shots, per se," forward Corey Maggette said after leading the Warriors with 26 points to go with five rebounds and four assists. "I just think our decision-making is kind of off."
Golden State had eight turnovers in the first half, seven in the third quarter. Durant turned three of them into dunks.
"Unbelievable," Nelson said of Durant's game. "We had a lot of different people play him. He was terrific. Sensational. I'm glad he made the All-Star team. I thought it was about time."
As is often the case, the Warriors scrapped their way back into the game. Guard C.J. Watson converted two three-point plays on drives to the basket during an 8-0 run early in the fourth, the latter free throw cutting Oklahoma City's lead to 89-83. Inside of two minutes, guard Monta Ellis nailed his second straight 3-pointer to get the Warriors' deficit down to 107-104.
"We dig ourselves so big a hole, sometimes we get out of it, and sometimes we don't," said Watson, who scored 13 off the bench, "Whatever we've got to do to change it, we're all up for it. No matter what we do, we've got to get it under control and stop having these lazy third quarters."
Too bad for them they can't just throw them out.
NEXT GAME: Tuesday, at Rockets, 5:30 p.m.