Thunder’s Kevin Durant responds to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban saying Russell Westbrook isn’t a “superstar” pic.twitter.com/6jPw9WktV0
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 26, 2016
Before the Oklahoma City Thunder eliminated the Dallas Mavericks from playoff contention on Monday night, Mark Cuban made headlines by saying that Kevin Durant was the only “superstar” playing for his team’s opponent.
How did Russell Westbrook respond? Exactly how everyone guessed he would, basically, dominating from the opening tip en route to 36 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists on 13-of-23 shooting in the Thunder’s 118-104 victory. Any All-Star could put up those numbers in an elimination game, right? Not quite.
After the game, a reporter asked Westbrook what he made of Cuban’s comments. That’s when Durant jumped in, cutting off his teammate in absolutely heartwarming fashion and repeatedly calling the Mavericks owner an “idiot.”
“Next question,” indeed.
The two most important people in the Dallas organization, by the way, openly disagreed with Cuban’s assessment. How do Rick Carlisle and Dirk Nowitzki feel about Westbrook?
Oklahoma City’s live-wire point guard averaged 26.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 11.0 assists with a 57.5 true shooting percentage in five games against the Mavericks. Needless to say, Carlisle and Nowitzki simply said what an up-close eye test was telling them.
As for Cuban? He was no doubt just stirring the pot, trying to gain an advantage for the short-handed Mavericks. If Dallas meets the Thunder in future postseasons, though, it’s safe to say he’ll take a different approach to getting under Westbrook’s skin.