Kevin Durant Wins Round 1

Kevin Durant Wins Round 1

The stage was set. The Oklahoma Thunder visited the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night. OKC was a conference leading 4-0 coming in to the game while the Warriors were at 3-1 after three consecutive wins.


Everybody was too nice when they said this was just another regular season game. One of 82 as the main protagonists said. But obviously it wasn’t. It was Episode One of the KD-Russ rivalry. And as expected, Round 1 went to Kevin Durant.


Was It Sarcasm?



Russell Westbrook arrived wearing a photographer’s vest with the inscription “Official Photographer”. Other than it being a weird outfit, there was nothing wrong with that. Westbrook is known for his unique fashion sense. But of course if you knew that photography is one of Kevin Durant’s hobbies, then you might have smelled sarcasm from Westbrook. But no, said Russ. He wore it because he wanted to:


“Just cause I wanted to. There’s no particular reason, there’s no story behind it. It’s just because I wanted to wear it. I don’t wear anything for nobody. I wear what I want to wear when I want to wear it.”


That was during pre-game. When the game began, Westbrook had to wear the hat that Kevin Durant did when they played together-the lead role. OKC had the right idea and the good start.


Thunder Up



Kevin Durant opened the scoring for the Warriors with a 28 foot three pointer as the Warriors took their first lead 3-2. But it was the Thunder who raced to an 18-9 start behind Westbrook and Steven Adams who combined for 14 early points.

At that point, the Thunder had 12 points in the paint compared to the Warriors’ 4 and Adams was exposing the Warriors’ lack of an inside presence. The Thunder had their best moment when Jerami Grant, son of former player Harvey Grant, dunked on Kevin Durant off an assists from Westbrook. The Thunder were up 29-19 after that dunk.

Then Kevin Durant happened.


Awakening A Giant



Jerami Grant’s dunk on KD awakened a silent giant. Kevin Durant hit back to back jumpers to start a 19-1 run by the Warriors. Looking at it from the other side, the Thunder were outscored 19-3 when Coach Billy Donovan rested Russell Westbrook. Westbrook had a terrific first quarter with 7 points and 5 assists. Durant had 13 points at the end of one as the Warriors closed the gap at 32-31. But the Slim Reaper was just getting started.


All She Wrote



Then KD heated up like hell for the Thunder. Durant finished the first half with 29 points.  It was only the 4th time in Durant’s career that he scored more than 25 points in the first half of a game. Three of those games were against the Warriors. Three of those games have been at the Oracle. Westbrook finished the half with a stat line of 12-4-6 but the Thunder shot just 33% from the field through two quarters. The Warriors ended the first half with a 68-43 lead and for OKC, that was all she wrote, really.


Finishing Touches



Westbrook left the game for good at the 1:53 mark of the third period and he finished the game with an impressive stat line of 20 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists. But he shot just 4-15 from the field and 10-14 from the foul line in 29 minutes of action. Before Thursday, Westbrook led the league in scoring at 37.8 PPG and was shooting 45.7% from the field. He averaged a triple double in the first four games of the season and became the first player since Magic Johnson in 1979 to record triple doubles in two of the first three games of the season. Durant meanwhile was putting the finishing touches on Episode One.


Shooting, Not Emotions Erupted



KD’s seven three pointers made tied a career best and he finished the night on 15-24 shooting. More importantly, he won the first of many games against his former team and he won Round 1 of his rivalry with former sidekick Russell Westbrook. Apart from exchanging blocks in the first half, there were no confrontations as there were no handshakes. However, you could feel the tension between the teams an it seemed as though emotions were just waiting to erupt. Good thing it was Durant’s shooting that erupted and the Warriors won their fourth straight game 122-96.


Takeaways From Round One



Kevin Durant is the best offensive player in the game, bar none. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are simply the most productive three point shooters in the sport. All together, they make the Warriors one of the best offensive teams in the history of the NBA and the hands down best three point shooting team ever. But the win over OKC is far from the title, which is the reason why Durant is here. It’s obvious that there’s a huge gap in the middle and Zsa Zsa Pachulia is not Andrew Bogut. Having said that, the Warriors offense will make up for that during the regular season. But remember that offense wins games, defense wins titles. For the Warriors, that defense must start in the paint.



If the Thunder could not win it all with Durant and Westbrook, they certainly won’t go far with Russ alone. But if he gets his teammates involved and his crew responds, the Thunder are a solid playoff team. Against the Warriors, Victor Oladipo lit up for 21 points and knocked down four treys. Rookie Donas Sabonis, the son of the legendary Arvydas Sabonis, added 13 points and 7 rebounds. Steven Adams proved that he is a solid inside presence with 11 points and 2 blocks. Players like Jerami Grant and Joffrey Lauvergne showed some promise. So things still look bright for OKC.


Next up 2/11/17 when the Dubs and Kevin Durant visit the Chesapeake Energy Arena in OKC, which is one of our must watch games of the season. Don’t miss it.







Shane Acedera

Shane Acedera

I've always believed that it's never too late to chase your dreams. So here I am chasing mine- writing sports articles. It's pure passion, love for the sports and a unique way of expressing my thoughts.
Shane Acedera