The sports world’s fascination with the Durant/Westbrook dynamic is made all the more impressive when you consider the state of the league: the Warriors had the best regular season of all-time last year; the Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 lead to beat those Warriors in the NBA finals; and LeBron James, one of the greatest to ever play the game, is at the peak of his powers…
…and people still seem to care more about Westbrook and Durant.
Naturally, this fascination created a lot of hype around the first meeting between the Warriors, Durant’s new team, and Thunder, his old team, now led by Westbrook.
What would happen when they met at center court at the start of the game? fans wondered. Would they shake hands? Completely ignore each other? Would Russ blow off KD like Kevin Garnett once did to Ray Allen? Would they dance like Westbrook and Cameron Payne? Give each other a shove or bump shoulders?
OK, so the last two scenarios seemed unlikely, but the point remains: we wanted to know what would happen! Now we have an answer: nothing.
TNT hyped the matchup with a pretty funny video featuring Adele’s “Hello,” which of course was written about an ex-lover.
KD & Westbrook say 'Hello' from the other side...— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) November 3, 2016
TONIGHT on TNT. pic.twitter.com/8WXwSFVnxB
That’s sort of how everyone looked at this matchup (and many fans have had it circled on their calendars since the league’s schedule came out): as a meeting between two exes who have moved on to very different lives. Durant is now a part of the well-balanced powerhouse in Golden State. Westbrook is a one-man show (and man, it’s been fun to watch so far) in Oklahoma City.
The drama and questions continue past tonight. Who will win this duel in the long run? Can the Thunder really make a playoff run with their lack of depth? Can either of these teams beat LeBron? Will they ever make up and maybe, you know, make a 30 for 30 together someday in the future?
There’s a lot we don’t know yet, and won't know for years. But tonight we’ll find out who wins round 1. You can catch the rest of the game on TNT.