OAKLAND, Calif., Sporting Alert – Kevin Durant scored a season-high 39 points and won the battle against former teammate Russell Westbrook, as the Golden State Warriors rout the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-96 in the NBA on Thursday night.
Westbrook Thunder Got Going Early
The build-up ahead of the game was the showdown between Durant and Westbrook and as expected, the players had no interaction prior to tip-off.
An energetic Russell helped the Thunder (4-1) raced out to an 18-9 lead and then build the advantage to 31-21 with 2:23 left in the first quarter.
However, the Warriors took over the game after that which saw reactions from the home supporters and the coaching staff.
In the midst of Durant and Westbrook trading blocks on each other, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr had to be held back by his assistant Mike Brown after no foul was called on a 3-point attempt by Stephen Curry in the first quarter.
Durant, who scored 13 first-quarter points, finished the game shooting 15-for-24 from the floor and matched his career high with seven 3-pointers, while pulling down seven rebounds for Golden State (4-1).
The free flowing scorer was facing his former team for the first time since leaving to join their fellow Western Conference rivals who knocked them out of the playoffs last year.
”As soon as the game started it brought back some memories,” Durant admitted, “but after that, it was back to business.”
Westbrook, who came into the game as the league’s leading scorer at 37.8 points per game, was held to 20 points Thursday night.
The All-star point guard who went 4-for-15 from the floor also had 10 assists, six rebounds and two blocks for the Thunder, who were losing for the first time this campaign.
Russell Already Thinking About Next Meeting
The Thunder and Warriors will meet again three more times this season.
Westbrook can’t wait.
”The Warriors are doing a lot of trash talking,” Westbrook said.
”Apparently, I guess they talk a lot of trash now, but we’ll see how that goes.”
Meanwhile, reigning back-to-back MVP Curry collected 21 points and seven assists, Klay Thompson made four shots from 3-point range on the way to 18 points, while Draymond Green chipped in with 10 rebounds, five assists and four blocks in the win.
The Warriors, who were picking up their fourth straight win, shot 46-for-90 overall as a team from the floor for 51 percent and went 14-for-30 (46.7%) from long range.
Victor Oladipo led Oklahoma City with 21 points, while knocking down four 3-pointers, with Domantas Sabonis ending with 13 points and six rebounds and Steven Adams scoring 11 points for the Thunder.
Jerami Grant only contributed six points, but one of his three buckets was to posterize on Durant in the first quarter.
”When you get dunked on like that, as a competitor out there you want to come back and try to make a play and try to ignite your team,” Durant said in an Associated Press report.
”He ignited his team with that dunk. I was just trying to do the same throughout the whole game.”
Westbrook and the Thunder return home to host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday for the first of five straight home games.
Durant and the Warriors are back in action again on Friday when they visit the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers are being coached by former assistant Luke Walton, who will face his former employers for the first time since he became Los Angeles new head coach.