Durant comes up huge against old team again

Warriors forward Kevin Durant dribbles past former team-mate and Thunder star Russell Westbrook at Oracle Arena. Durant had a season-best 40 points on Wednesday.
Warriors forward Kevin Durant dribbles past former team-mate and Thunder star Russell Westbrook at Oracle Arena. Durant had a season-best 40 points on Wednesday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

OAKLAND (California) • Kevin Durant took it to his former team on Wednesday, erupting for 40 points to propel the Golden State Warriors to a 121-100 National Basketball Association (NBA) triumph over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Durant, who scored 39 points in the Warriors' 26-point win over the Thunder in November, was brutally efficient, connecting on 13 of his 16 shots from the field, including five of seven from three-point range.

He had a team-high 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocks to help the Warriors (36-6) withstand Thunder guard Russell Westbrook's 21st triple-double of the season.

"The ball just found whoever was open," Durant said. "And we did a good job of making the shots."

The 28-year-old, who spent nine years with the Thunder before departing Oklahoma City as a free agent in the off-season, also downplayed the significance of facing his former club.

"It's good to see everybody," he said. "But once the ball tips, you're just playing. Simple as that."

However, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he was not surprised the match-up brought out the best in Durant again.

"Every player in the NBA wants to play well against his old team," he said.

"For most guys, you feel that little extra juice. I think it's even more so with KD because of his history with that franchise... for sure he's motivated and it's a big deal."

The Thunder dropped to 25-19 and the gloss of Westbrook's 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists was somewhat dimmed by his 10 turnovers.

Tensions were high in the game and the guard offered a warning that he will seek retribution for a hard foul on him by Golden State's Zaza Pachulia.

Pachulia delivered a flagrant foul on Westbrook late in the second quarter, striking the guard in the face as he attempted a shot then appearing to stand over him as he lay on the court.

"I'm going to get his a** back," Westbrook told reporters.

"I didn't see that (he stood over me) until just now. I'm going to get his a** back... whenever that is, I don't know when it's going to be, but I don't play that game."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2017, with the headline 'Durant comes up huge against old team again'. Print Edition | Subscribe