OAKLAND — Kevin Durant’s first game against his old team was dominated by talk.
Trash talk from his former teammates, support from his current partners and media narratives spinning and playing up any angle that leads to a potential rivalry.
But Durant silenced all of it through the night, when he tied the record for the most points scored by any NBA player against his ex-squad, according to Elias Sports Bureau. And, the Golden State Warriors won the game, 122-96.
It wasn’t bad for the Oklahoma City Thunder from start-to-finish, though, as it led for most of the first quarter, peaking when Jerami Grant dunked over Durant. Grant, playing in just his second game with the team since being traded earlier in the week, followed the flush by staring at Durant, sneering.
“That’s not a good idea,” Steve Kerr said after the game. “I think that did get him going.”
Durant proceeded to make his next three shots, kicking off a 42-14 run for Golden State that would run through the rest of the half. KD had three points before Grant’s dunk. He went into halftime with 29 — marking the 69th-straight game he scored at least 20 points.
Durant finished the game with 39 points on 24 shots — making 7-of-11 3-pointers — with seven rebounds.
Oklahoma City managed just 11 points in the second quarter as the Warriors’ offense found a rhythm — a deadly combination. The Thunder, playing on the second night of a back-to-back, were outrebounded 19-12 in the frame, shot 16 percent from the floor — including 1-for-7 from 3-point range.
Making matters worse, backup center Enes Kanter went out of his way to heckle his former teammate as the Thunder were losing control of the game.
“How many minutes did he play? Three minutes: You know, I’m trying to focus on whoever’s on the court, and he’s trying to talk to me from the sideline,” Durant said. “But I’m sure he’s going to put something on Twitter tonight.”
By the time the teams went in for the break, the game was all but over as the Thunder didn’t possess the energy or personnel to emulate the San Antonio Spurs’ bruising gameplan from opening night.
The second half mirrored so many of last year’s games in which the Warriors breezed to an easy victory. Westbrook and most of the Thunder’s regular rotation players sat for the entire fourth quarter.
The Dubs played their best interior defense of the season, blocking 14 shots, and Klay Thompson got back on track shooting the ball. He finished with 18 points on 7-for-15 shooting, including four 3-pointers after entering the game with just three made on the young season.
Both Durant and Kerr praised the team’s vastly improved defense, which looks to be jelling after a few games of sub-standard performances.
It was the former MVP’s play that stuck out as he reminded the world it was their hang ups about him leaving OKC that has created so much talk.
“I’ve moved forward,” Durant said. “I’m a part of the Golden State Warriors, and I’m excited to be a part of this team.”
The Dubs play today against the Los Angeles Lakers, offering an early opportunity to play against former assistant Luke Walton, who is now the head man for LA’s preferred team.Golden State WarriorsKevin DurantKlay ThompsonNBARussell WestbrookStephen CurrySteve Kerr