In a game that featured games within the game, it was a 108-91 victory for the Thunder that produced multiple confrontations between former teammates Kevin Durant and Westbrook.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both downplayed their fiery matchup in the Thunder’s win over the Warriors on Wednesday night, with Durant saying, “It’s not about who was in each other’s faces.”
Russell Westbrook savors sweet win after string of losses to Warriors
The Thunder point guard lit the fuse on a balanced OKC effort that ended a seven-game skid against Golden State — and could well prove to be a galvanizing moment.
“You can’t let emotions seep in the business,” Durant said. “You can’t do that, so I think on our end, we just played our game, and they just played better than us. The emotions around the court, the emotions around the arena, around the city, I’m sure was a little higher than it was on the court. You can’t let emotions seep in. We just had to play better tonight.”
In his second game in Oklahoma City (8-9) since he became a member of the Warriors, Durant was showered with boos upon being introduced in the starting lineup, and he was booed every time he touched the ball.
“It seemed pretty civil compared to last year,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It was all good, and they deserved to win, and the crowd deserved to get the joy that they got out of this game.”
Golden State (13-5) had not faced an atmosphere like this all season. The Thunder jumped on the Warriors from the outset and never relinquished control. They led by as many as 26 points.
Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George combined for 50 points in the first half. The Warriors scored 48 as a team, their second-lowest first-half total.
Westbrook was an assist short of a triple-double, recording a game-high 34 points and 10 boards. He scored 17 of his 33 points on Stephen Curry as his primary defender.
Late in the second quarter, Westbrook denied a post entry into Durant, and the ball sailed out of bounds. Westbrook turned to the Warriors’ bench and yelled, “No!” Durant pointed at Westbrook while just smiling.
Westbrook was then fouled on the other end by Draymond Green.
Green didn’t like the call, and he began clapping in the vicinity of Westbrook, and the reigning MVP began clapping back at him. The two had a few words before Westbrook went to the foul line to take his shots.
In the third quarter, tempers flared even more.
Westbrook, Durant exchange words after Green foulDraymond Green draws a foul against Russell Westbrook, but Kevin Durant interferes and shares a few words with Westbrook.
Halfway in, Westbrook was guarding Durant on the right wing, and he almost stole the ball, slapping it out of bounds. The two began jawing at one another and inching closer. Soon, they were forehead to forehead, talking trash.
Durant was seen saying, “You’re a p—y.” Westbrook responded, “You’re soft.” The crowd went crazy, loving every minute of it. The referees allowed the two to exchange verbal taunts initially but ended up issuing a double technical. Moments later, Kerr and Green were hit with technicals.
The interaction was downplayed by Durant.
“Did you watch the game, or you just tried to watch for the scuffles?” he asked a reporter when asked about the altercation.
“The story is about the game. We lost. They kicked our ass. They played a great game. We should give them credit for how they played, and we should be better. It’s not about who’s in each other’s faces. That stuff is not real, so please don’t believe it. All the fans, they lied to y’all. It’s about basketball, and they played a great game, and we didn’t.”
Green said those confrontations are part of the game, but he doesn’t see the point of double Ts.
“I will never understand for the life of me a double technical,” he said. “People pay to see [Durant and Westbrook]. I don’t know. Maybe everybody in the NBA should stop playing with passion and just go roll the ball out and play, and then maybe the ratings will be great.”
Kerr benched his starters for most of the fourth quarter, conceding the loss. After the game, there were no handshakes exchanged between the two teams. Anthony, George and Raymond Felton waved their hands out of respect in the direction of the Warriors’ bench before retreating to the locker room.
“I got to do a better job of getting them ready to play,” Kerr said. “We have a pretty loose, fun atmosphere over here, and that’s great, but there’s certain times where it’s like, all right, guys, let’s throw it to our team. Let’s execute the play. Let’s remember the play, those kinds of things. I think right now we’re just in a little bit of a rut where we’ve got to focus, and I know we will.”
Golden State turned the ball over 22 times.
“Thirty-four points off turnovers, you can’t win like that,” Green said. “We didn’t play a very smart game. It happens.”
Curry had a team-high 24 points, and Durant added in 21 points. Golden State leaves its four-game road trip with a split.
Kerr was asked about the team’s focus this evening.
“I’m sorry, I lost my focus and concentration. What did you say?” he responded in jest. “It was that kind of night. We didn’t have any focus or concentration. The millennials couldn’t lock in tonight, and the coach couldn’t do much either. Long night for us.”