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Thunder at Warriors game preview

Brandon Dill/AP Photo

Stephen Curry has a career-high true shooting percentage of 62.7 this season.The team with the best record in the NBA plays host Monday night to a surging opponent that is looking to go over .500 for the first time this season.

The Golden State Warriors (26-5) face the Oklahoma City Thunder (17-17) for the third time this season. The Warriors won each of the first two meetings by five points.

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index ranks the Warriors No. 1 by a firm margin. Golden State’s rating is 4.0 points ahead of the second-place Los Angeles Clippers; the Nos. 2-11 teams are separated by 3.9 points. BPI projects Golden State as 71 percent likely to win Monday’s game.

Healthy, Thunder among the best

The Thunder are two games out of a playoff spot. But with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant both in the lineup, the Thunder have an .818 win percentage (a 9-2 record), which would rank second behind the Warriors’ .839 win percentage for best in the NBA.

With Westbrook and Durant, the Thunder are outscoring opponents by 8.0 points per game – which again, would be second in the NBA to the Warriors if it reflected Oklahoma City’s season-long performance.

Most Win Shares This Season

The Warriors are led by Stephen Curry, who ranks fifth in the NBA with 6.0 win shares. Curry’s 62.7 true shooting percentage ranks seventh in the league and is a career-high.

Expressed as a per-48-minutes rate, Curry ranks third in win shares. Fifth in that stat is the Thunder’s Westbrook, who is having a noteworthy season on several fronts.

His Player Efficiency Rating of 31.7 leads the NBA; the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis is second at 31.4, and Curry is third at 26.8. Partially because of Durant’s absence, Westbrook has a 41.2 usage percentage this season, higher than the single-season record of 38.7 set by Kobe Bryant in 2005-06. The Thunder are 13-7 with Westbrook (4-10 without him).

The Thunder were nine games under .500 at 3-12 before their current 14-5 run. The last team to go from nine games under .500 to a winning record in 20 or fewer games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, was the Philadelphia 76ers in 2007-08 (20 games, 21-30 to 36-35).