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Despite the loss, Durant’s return lived up to billing

Feb 11, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) handles the ball in front of Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY SportsOKC

The build up was magnificent. The showmanship lived up to the billing. The game… it took a little bit longer, but it had everything we all wanted despite the Thunder falling 130-114 on Saturday night.

Oklahoma City fell to 31-24 on the season.

An amazing crowd of 18,203 showed up and booed from the second Kevin Durant walked out for warmups and the booed him as he walked off the court with two minutes remaining. It was a constant streaming of boos that could rattle a normal person.

Our first taste of the two featured players saw Durant and Westbrook guarding each other one-on-one. It really was the opening act to a game that was really never close but kept you on the edge of your seat.

It was all building up to a third quarter blow up where Russell Westbrook was his normal nuclear explosion self. Westbrook nailed a three and the Warriors called a timeout. That’s when the real fireworks lit up. Westbrook and Durant finally spoke.

“I’m coming!”

“I’m coming!”

Westbrook stare that could destroy anyone forced Durant to retort “You’re going to lose.”

The trash talk of champions.

It all came to climax when Andre Roberson fouled Durant and the two became attached by the forehead and the nose. They had to be separated but the damage had been done. The message was clear: Oklahoma City wasn’t afraid of Durant.

No game gave you so much drama and intensity and yet never being closer than 12 points for three quarters of the game. The Warriors led by as many as 26 points, but you were still on the edge of your seat.

All of this confirmed what everyone knew, Westbrook wasn’t exactly friends with Durant. The animosity between the two spilled onto the court. The idea of the media building up this divorce more than what it was is no more. The two yelling at each other and having to pulled into their huddles will be magnified but honestly only justifies what we knew (in the words of Taylor Swift): These two are never getting back together.

However, the second was really the Thunder’s undoing. Oklahoma City’s bench was nonexistent and the Warriors made full work of an incomplete Thunder bench who couldn’t rise to the task. Oklahoma City’s bench only scored 2 points in the time Westbrook and the starters sat on the bench.

Westbrook caught fire in the third quarter and brought Oklahoma City back into fighting contention, but not really. Westbrook was on fire, hitting his per usual shots that we’re getting so used to seeing but the Thunder had no answer to the offensive weapons of the Warriors. Golden State almost matched the Thunder shot for shot. With their big four, it was just too much for the Thunder.

Oklahoma City cut the Dubs lead to 108-96 with 8:43 left in the game. It was Klay Thompson, who had flashbacks to Game 6 of last year, scoring five straight for the Warriors. Oklahoma City couldn’t keep pace and eventually faded into the loss column.

Russell Westbrook finished with 47 points on 14-of-26 shooting, 11 rebounds, eight assists and unfortunately 11 turnovers.

Fear not, in 37 days, these two teams will go at it again in Oklahoma City. While it’s unknown whether the fan fare will be as flamboyant but one thing is for sure, the Thunder faithful will be booing the entire time.

The Thunder now turn their attention to the Washington Wizards. Oklahoma City and the fighting Scottie Brooks’ tip off at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 13.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Control your emotions: A

For the most part, Westbrook and Co. played within their emotions. They were on point offensive, scoring 114 points. However, they just couldn’t get stops defensively. The Thunder were in it emotionally and mentally throughout the game. It was an amazing butt kicking.

Death lineup: D

Oklahoma City had no answer for this lineup. The lineup which was short, only five minutes. That lineup scored 20 points in five minutes. Which is an amazing rate. It had an offensive rating over 250. Yes.. two hundred and fifty. The average is 100. Such a small sample size, this happens but it’s still pretty amazing. Oklahoma City has to be better.

Bench: F

Oklahoma City’s bench was trash. On only 17 shots, they made only five. They were 1-of-6 from deep and were a combined -42. When the Thunder were bad, they were down right awful. Oklahoma City has to find a way to get a consistent second unit. It starts with Cameron Payne. He was invisible, scoring 0 points on 0-of-2 shooting.

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