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Westbrook on the warpath to outduel old rival Durant

China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-24 07:21

OKLAHOMA CITY - Russell Westbrook said in the buildup before playing ex-teammate Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors that it was just another game.

His play said otherwise.

The reigning MVP scored a season-high 34 points and added 10 rebounds and nine assists to help the Oklahoma City Thunder roll past the Warriors 108-91 on Wednesday night.

It was Oklahoma City's first win over Golden State since Durant left the Thunder to join the Warriors after the 2015-16 season. Golden State won all four meetings last season by an average of nearly 20 points.

Westbrook was even more talkative on the court than usual.

At one point in the third quarter, he and Durant went forehead to forehead and were called for double technicals. Westbrook downplayed the incident later.

"I play the same way every night if it's against Kevin or if it's against Detroit," he said.

"It don't matter who it is. On the court I have no friends. The only friend I have is the basketball... and obviously my teammates. That's it. I go out to compete and to guard and play at a high level. I've been that way since day one and that's what I do."

Durant enjoyed the chatter.

"Man, it's just ball," the Warriors forward said. "He's competitive, I'm competitive. We like to go at it, both of us, and that's just a part of the game."

Oklahoma City's fans are still sore over Durant's departure to Golden State as a free agent. They booed him constantly as he finished with 21 points on 8-for-17 shooting.

Stephen Curry scored 24 points for the Warriors, who produced their lowest-scoring game of the season.

Westbrook's All-Star teammates came through. Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points and Paul George added 20.

"They're amazing talents," Curry said. "They've been playing at a high level all throughout their careers. It's a little different. Obviously what Russ does is pretty much the same, but you've got to understand how they try to work off of each other and play solid one-on-one defense.

"For the most part, I don't think we did that well tonight, and you've got to be ready for that challenge because they keep coming at you."

It was a much-needed victory for OKC, which has struggled to an 8-9 start.

"It's just great to get a win," Westbrook said. "That's it. We're just taking them one game at a time."

The Thunder led 65-48 at halftime as Westbrook racked up 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Anthony had 16 points and George 14 at the break.

OKC held the Warriors to 42 percent shooting in the first half and forced them into 10 turnovers.

Early in the third quarter, Westbrook had a steal and dunk, then a steal and layup plus a foul that brought the crowd to its feet.

He made the free throw to put the Thunder ahead 72-52. Oklahoma City led 94-71 at the end of the third and Warriors coach Steve Kerr pulled his starters with about eight minutes remaining.

"They got into a rhythm, the crowd got into the game, we turned the ball over and let them get off for easy layups," Durant said.

OKC continued a strange trend. All eight of its wins have been by nine or more points, and all nine of its losses have come by nine or fewer.

The wins have been by an average of 17.8 points; the losses by an average of 5.7.

Associated Press

Westbrook on the warpath to outduel old rival Durant

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