Once one of the most feared duos in the NBA, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook spent eight unforgettable seasons as teammates with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
From 2008 to 2016, the Thunder made six playoff appearances, falling in the Western Conference Finals three times and losing in the 2012 NBA Finals to the Miami Heat. After Durant elected to leave Oklahoma City to sign with the Golden State Warriors in 2016, thus began a new chapter in their history: The Rivalry.
Over three seasons, Durant faced his former teammate eight times as a member of the Warriors, who came out on top five times. The competition was nothing short of electric but it's now been over two years since they last met on Nov. 21, 2018.
While tensions were once high between the former teammates, they're both now two teams removed from the Thunder, ushering in a newer era of their rivalry. It's safe to say that the intensity level won't reach that of the first meeting between OKC and Golden State in 2016 but when Durant's Brooklyn Nets host Westbrook and the Washington Wizards on Sunday, expect a fiery showing from two of the game's fiercest competitors.
Ahead of their ninth game as opponents, here's a look back at the first eight…
Nov. 3, 2016 - The First Meeting
Happy Friday, #DubNation! Here's 3 minutes and 40 seconds of @KDTrey5 🔥 pic.twitter.com/2SHpbcrktO- Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 4, 2016
Warriors 122, Thunder 96
Durant: 39 PTS (15-24 FG, 7-11 3FG), 7 REB, 1 BLK
Westbrook: 20 PTS (4-15 FG, 10-14 FT), 10 AST, 6 REB
Four months after Durant announced his intentions to sign with the Warriors, they hosted his former team at Oracle Arena.
In an intense, playoff-like meeting, KD tied a career-high with seven triples as the Warriors got the best of the Thunder, cruising to a 26-point win. Despite the intensity and some trash talk, Durant maintained that it was business as usual, telling reporters "As soon as the game started it brought back some memories, but after that, it was back to business."
Westbrook viewed things a bit differently, saying "the Warriors are doing a lot of trash talking. Apparently, I guess they talk a lot of trash now, but we'll see how that goes."
Calendars were marked for the next meetings between the teams.
Feb. 11, 2017 - KD returns to OKC
The boos weren't subtle. But that smile riiiiiight at the end was. 😏 pic.twitter.com/FRP7lma6LW- NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 12, 2017
Warriors 130, Thunder 114
Durant: 34 PTS (12-21 FG, 7-7 FT), 9 REB, 3 AST
Westbrook: 47 PTS (14-26 FG, 16-18 FT), 11 REB, 8 AST, 11 TO
After the two teams met for a second time in The Bay, Durant and the Warriors made their lone visit to Chesapeake Energy Arena.
It was his first trip to OKC as a visitor since leaving via free agency and, as expected the boos were loud. Durant, however, admitted after the game that he expected the boos to be louder.
Again, it was a playoff-like atmosphere and again, Durant and Westbrook exchanged pleasantries.
WELCOME TO THE MAIN EVENT pic.twitter.com/4fLcLo7g59- NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 12, 2017
Westbrook would go on to finish with a monstrous 47 points but it wasn't enough as the Warriors cruised to a 16-point win to sweep the season series. Durant wasn't too bad, either, finishing with an efficient 34 points.
Nov. 22, 2017 - Russ and the Thunder get the win
Russell Westbrook puts up 34 points, 10 rebounds & 9 assists to lead the @OKCThunder at home! #ThunderUp pic.twitter.com/BBoNncqKeI- NBA (@NBA) November 23, 2017
Thunder 108, Warriors 91
Westbrook: 34 PTS (13-27 FG), 10 REB, 9 AST, 4 STL
Durant: 21 PTS (8-17 FG), 5 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL
Durant, now a champion, was back in OKC as a visitor while Westbrook picked up a new running mate in Paul George.
For the first time since he left in free agency, the Thunder got the best of Durant and the Warriors, dominating throughout the game to earn a 17-point win. Russ did a little bit of everything, nearly recording a triple-double with 34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and one dunk that had a little extra on it.
No Words. pic.twitter.com/o4SeOOJidA- OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) November 23, 2017
April 3, 2018 - Westbrook's 44 not enough
.@KDTrey5 spoiled Russ' big night and led the Warriors to the big win on the road!- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 4, 2018
📊: 34 PTS | 10 REB pic.twitter.com/kpXWlPihwn
Warriors 111, Thunder 107
Durant: 34 PTS (9-25 FG, 14-14 FT), 10 REB, 4 AST
Westbrook: 44 PTS (15-26 FG, 11-12 FT), 16 REB, 6 AST
This one came down to the wire and is quite possibly the best duel between Durant and Westbrook.
This game has gone full Russ vs. KD! 👀- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 4, 2018
Russ: 39 PTS | 14 REB
KD: 32 PTS | 10 REB
Get to TNT for the finish! 📺 pic.twitter.com/hRTSC6iB05
For the second time, Westbrook would finish with over 40 against the Warriors but it wasn't enough, as Durant managed to get his offensively despite an uncharacteristically inefficient night from the field. Once again, advantage KD.
Nov. 21, 2018 - The Last Outing
Russell Westbrook (11 PTS, 13 AST, 11 REB) notches his 1st triple-double of the season for the @okcthunder in Oakland! #ThunderUp pic.twitter.com/4UOZbx3cY8- NBA (@NBA) November 22, 2018
Thunder 123, Warriors 95
Westbrook: 11 PTS (5-15 FG), 13 AST, 11 REB
Durant: 27 PTS (11-22 FG), 14 REB, 3 AST, 3 BLK
It wasn't his loudest night by any means but a triple-double from Russell Westbrook fueled a Thunder blowout of the Warriors.
He finished with 13 assists on the floor but his biggest might have come once his night was done.
It's the season of giving and thanking. #ThisIsWhyWePlay- OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) November 22, 2018
👍 nice City jersey btw@russwest44 pic.twitter.com/EFLYqiifFA
Durant would finish with 27 points and 14 rebounds but without Steph Curry, the Warriors didn't have enough firepower to answer the Thunder, who were led by 32 points from Dennis Schröder off the bench.
The Next Chapter
It's been nearly five years since Durant and Westbrook were Thunder teammates and plenty has happened since.
The two have taken the floor as teammates in the All-Star Game and, as mentioned before, are now two franchises removed from their OKC days. With Durant back on the floor after missing the entirety of the 2019-20 NBA season, it appeared we would get our first preview of the two competing against one another in the preseason.
Instead, with Westbrook sidelined, we got a pretty cool moment between two as KD got a chance to speak over to Washington's bench.
Russ x KD#WizNets | @russwest44 pic.twitter.com/NptXyQAGhz- Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) December 14, 2020
When the two take the floor again as competitors, things will be much different between those first meetings between Golden State and OKC but this new chapter should bring about plenty of excitement. KD has a new running mate in Kyrie Irving while Westbrook now shares a backcourt with Bradley Beal.
With the two stars now together in the Eastern Conference, who knows? We could very well get a Nets-Wizards Playoff series in the coming years.
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