Last year, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s ceiling was very low as Russell Westbrook was their sole source of top tier talent. The Golden State Warriors were the favorites to take home the NBA championship which is exactly what they did.
This year, however, the Thunder are the favorite to take down the Warriors in the Western Conference with the recent additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony this offseason.
The rise of the Thunder as a contender has fueled the rivalry between Westbrook and ex-teammate Kevin Durant who left Oklahoma City for the Warriors two years ago.
Last night when the two took the court, the bad blood was still very apparent. Before the game, Westbrook said it was just another game. Of course, it was not just another game.
It did not take long for Westbrook to make his presence known as him and Durant clashed heads multiple times.
Westbrook recorded a season-high 34 points while adding 10 rebounds and nine assists.
“I play the same way every night if it’s against Kevin or if it’s against Detroit,” Westbrook said. “It don’t matter who it is. On the court I have no friends. The only friend I have is the basketball. That’s it. And obviously my teammates, but I go out to compete and to guard and play at a high level. I’ve been that way since day one and that’s what I do.”
Durant, on the other hand, had a relatively quiet night. He finished with 21 points, five rebounds and two assists.
“Man, it’s just ball,” Durant said. “He’s competitive, I’m competitive. We like to go at it, both of us, and that’s just a part of the game.”
Steph Curry added 24 points for the Warriors, who scored a season low 43 points in the second half.
“They’re amazing talents,” Curry said. “They’ve been playing at a high level in their careers all throughout. It’s a little different. Obviously what Russ does is pretty much the same, but you’ve got to understand how they try to work off of each other and play solid one-on-one defense. For the most part, I don’t think we did that well tonight, and you’ve got to be ready for that challenge because they do keep coming at you.”
The Thunder went on to win 108-91.