Russell Westbrook got the best of Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, scoring 34 points with a near-triple double to propel the Oklahoma City Thunder to a lopsided victory. While that result was somewhat unexpected, the headliner of the evening was Westbrook and Durant engaging in a heated exchange and, predictably, Durant was asked about the continual circus whenever he returns to his old stomping grounds.
In speaking to Chris Haynes of ESPN, Durant downplayed the incident and the entire hoopla surrounding the individual battle between the former teammates.
“It’s not about me and Russ. It’s about the Thunder and the Warriors. Myself and Russ are competing out there. That’s part of the game. It’s basketball. It’s not about us. We’re just playing the game, and trash talking is part of it. That’s all it is.”
Durant wasn’t the only member of his own family that attempted to bring the focus away from the 1-on-1 match-up, as his mother, Wanda, spoke to ESPN within the same piece and indicated that she believed the back and forth is “too hyped” between her son and Westbrook. From there, she expanded her thoughts.
“I just think it’s a lot of unnecessary hype around all of this really. It’s just a game. It’s basketball. So, I don’t know. I’ll be glad when it’s over because it’s really unnecessary. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.”
In truth, the focus on this particular game was dwarfed by the first time Durant went back to Oklahoma City, especially in terms of crowd venom against the former favorite son of the town. Still, there is still the appetite for this particular battle and both Westbrook and Durant have to realize that there will be attention, especially during and after a game in which they had an actual on-court dust-up.
Eventually, it won’t be quite as crazy when Kevin Durant takes on the Thunder but, apparently, we haven’t reached that point just yet.