Russell Westbrook dominated the MVP talk of the season’s opening week, playing like a man possessed in leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 4-0 start.
Westbrook insisted Thursday night’s showdown with Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors was just another game, but his pregame outfit suggested otherwise. And when neither star acknowledged each other at tip-off, it was clear we had a legit grudge match on our hands.
Both Durant and Westbrook showed playoff-level intensity, especially on defense. But only Durant had the hot hand Thursday night, as KD dropped 39 points in a 122-96 win at a raucous Oracle Arena. He hit seven threes to tie a career high.
Westbrook, who came in averaging 38 points, was held to 20 on 4-of-15 shooting with six rebounds and 10 assists. The Warriors, who were blown out by the Spurs at home in their season opener, won their fourth straight.
Steph Curry added 21 points and Klay Thompson had 18 for the Warriors, who made 14 of 30 threes.
Westbrook walked off after the game without seeking out Durant. The rematch will come Feb. 11 at Oklahoma City.
“I know those guys. They go hard every night,” is all Durant would say about the Thunder.