The marquee matchup of the weekend lived up to the hype as Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors returned to Oklahoma City in a 130-114 victory over the Thunder. This was Durant’s first time as a visitor against the Thunder since being acquired by the Warriors in the offseason. Durant finished the game with an effective 34 points and 9 rebounds on 12-21 shooting after a relatively slow start. Russell Westbrook was electrifying the entire night, but once you fall behind on the fast-paced Warriors it’s almost inevitable that you will not catch up. Westbrook finished the contest with an astounding 47 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists, but it was simply not enough. The story within the game was expected to have an impact, and it certainly lived up to that.
This game was circled on the calendars of many Thunder fans since Durant left for Golden State this past summer. He said he expected “love” from the OKC crowd, and but he received the polar opposite, at least by dictionary definition. Durant was booed upon being called into the Warriors starting lineup, he was trolled the entire night by the audience and almost came to blows with former teammate Andre Roberson. The game was not physical at all points, but tempers did flare between Durant and Roberson late in the 3rd Quarter after a hard foul by Roberson on Durant. The Warriors were well ahead at this point in the game, but after a physical, frustration fueled foul Durant had enough of the antics. Durant claimed that it was “all a part of the game”.
This game should stand as closure for the Thunder and their fans. The Warriors are 3-0 against the Thunder this season, with Durant averaging 37.6 points per game against his old squad. Not to mention that the Warriors are winning by an average of 20.6 points per game against the Thunder this season. Durant is a Warrior, he fits directly into their style of play, he is embracing every moment of this season. The bottom line is, the time for OKC to let the hate go has come. They have to come to the realization that they’re not as good as they were with Durant, but that may be what hurts the most.