Dud Or Drama Thunder-Warriors Should Be Fun To Watch
By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder are back where last season ended, Oracle Arena, Oakland, California. For the first time since, they’ll be on the same floor as Kevin Durant but KD will be wearing enemy colors.
It’s going to be different, it’s going to be strange.
And the basketball world seems consumed with how the superstar who left Oklahoma City will be greeted by the superstar who stayed.
A friendly nod? An angry scowl? A fist bump? Or perhaps most likely, nothing at all.
Generally when former teammates meet again there’s a handshake or a hug during pregame warmups and maybe a friendly exchange after the game.
Perhaps we’ll see something then. Going out for the opening tip Westbrook usually always sprints toward the opposing basket and gets himself ready. Alone.
Durant, taking up a position closer to center court, generally will fist bump opponents and say hi.
Some of it may be personality, most of it may just be a product of positioning on the court. But Westbrook has always said during games “I have no friends.”
Durant has tried recently to make amends for the way he left the Thunder. Praising the organization, the state and the city and admitting he probably made mistakes with how he handled things.
Westbrook talked a little about about the split early on and now is trying his best to keep his feelings and his opinions to himself.
“Like I said in Oklahoma City I’m not answering anymore Kevin questions,” Westbrook told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne when she asked him about some of Durant’s recent statements. “I’m more than willing to talk about basketball, but other than that...no.”
A surprising addition to the Russ/KD drama is the start the Thunder have gotten off to. 4-0, the best record in the Western Conference, coming into tonight’s game and fresh off an 85-83 defensive gem down the coast against the LA Clippers.
OKC is allowing just 88.8 points per 100 possessions (best in the NBA) but at the same time the Thunder are scoring just 94 points per 100 possessions (28th).
Westbrook has started the season with four straight 30 point games and two triple-doubles.
“I play every game like it’s my last,” he said last night. “Regardless of who we play I’m gonna play the same way.”
Durant has four straight 20 point games in the Warriors 3-1 start and no animosity toward anyone wearing Thunder blue. Not number zero, not anyone.
“I’ve got nothing but love for everybody there,” he said. “Everybody. No matter how they feel about me. Everybody on that team I support them, I want them to do well.”
Leave it up to Warriors forward Draymond Green to cut through the noise and get to the meat of the matter and say something fans assume aligns better with how players on both sides really feel.
“They’re (the Thunder) going to want to beat him (Durant) really bad, he’s going to want to beat them really bad. In turn we’re going to want to beat them really bad because we want him to beat them really bad.”
It should be grand fun and who knows it might even be a pretty good game.