In one of the premier games of the season, Kevin Durant finally made his sought after return to his old stomping grounds at Oklahoma City to play the Thunder on the road for the first team in his career.
We knew he wasn’t going to get the warmest of receptions, but the fans of OKC let him know exactly how they felt about his move to Golden State, as they showed up to the arena the morning of the 8:30 pm game with signs against Durant and a smattering of boos headed his way.
When gametime hit, the theme of the night was cupcake, referring to Durant’s perceived “soft” move going to the Warriors instead of staying with the Thunder. Signs, shirts and even body paint symbolized this cupcake theme throughout the arena and when Durant was announced during the starting lineups, he was hit with the boo birds hard.
This continued every time he would touch the ball the entire game, but it didn’t seem to affect Durant at all. In fact, it seemed to fuel him even more.
Durant came out firing as he was ultra aggressive out the gate, putting shots up and letting his former team and fans know that he was not backing down in his return home.
As the game went on, Durant would show everyone there exactly what they had missed, pouring in 34 points, snatching down 9 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists.
As you might have guessed, it wasn’t much of a contest. The Warriors are supremely talented in every area while the Thunder only have Westbrook as a legit threat night in and night out.
Unlike their first two matchups, this game did have some excitement towards the end, especially in the second half where things began to get chippy and we saw the confrontation we all have been waiting for.
Towards the end of the third quarter, the Thunder were on a run and Victor Oladipo hit a top of the key three which sent the crowd into a frenzy and caused a moment between Durant and Russell Westbrook who met a half court and starting jawing at each other much to the delight of everyone watching.
Following that, after Durant drove to the right and hit fouled on a lay up attempt, he and Andre Roberson literally went head-to-head as they head butted each other in a scuffle that had to broken up by the refs and teammates.
The last moment of the night came in the fourth when Westbrook was guarding Durant one-on-one and Durant rose up over his former running mate from deep and nailed a dagger three that out the game out of reach and ushered a Durant stare down of Westbrook.
Overall, the Warriors would win the game 130-114 with Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson each going for 26- plus points.
For the Thunder, Westbrook would give another valiant effort with 47 points and 11 rebounds, but it just wasn’t enough to cope with the Warriors trio of scorers.
Although a 16 point win for the Warriors, the game was filled with excitement, dissension, cupcakes and at the end of the day, a love deep down from both sides that was masked by the boos and scuffles.
The tension in the arena could be cut with a knife and for both sides, it was expected and warranted. Anytime you have a superstar that leaves you, you feel betrayed as a city. When you play and live in a small market, this move gets scaled up a million times over and creates a citywide outpouring of hate towards the departed (Durant) and an outpouring of love for the one that stayed (Westbrook).
All in all, I’m sure the city and the players are glad they got the initial return past them and they can take a next step in moving on as of now… until March when the Warriors return to OKC one more time in the regular season.
Was KD’s return what you expected it to be? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3