Durant addresses scuffles with Westbrook after Warriors' loss: 'That's just ball'

westbrook-durant-ap.jpg
AP

Durant addresses scuffles with Westbrook after Warriors' loss: 'That's just ball'

As you might expect when Kevin Durant returns to Oklahoma City, things got chippy at several moments Wednesday.

Once during the second quarter and again in the third quarter, Durant and former running mate Russell Westbrook could be seen yapping at each other. During the latter incident, the two literally went nose-to-nose, touching foreheads before being sperated.

After the Warriors' 108-91 loss to the Thunder, Durant was asked about the exchanges.

"Man, that's just ball. That's just ball me. He's competitive, I'm competitive. We like to go at it. Both of us. That's just part of the game, so I respect it. I got nothing but love for him. I'm expecting it again when we play them again. All fun and games to me," Durant told reporters.

Despite what the cameras caught, Durant tried to downplay the level of emotions between the two teams on the court.

"Can't let emotion seep into business. Can't do that. So I think on our end, we were just playing our game. They just played better than us tonight. The emotion around the court, around the arena, around the city I'm sure was a little higher than it was on the court. can't let emotion seep in. Just have to play better than that," Durant said.

When a reporter kept pressing about the incidents between Durant and Westbrook, the Warriors forward pushed back.

"Did you watch the game? Or did you watch for the scuffles? The story is about the game. We lost, they kicked our a**, they played a great. You should give them credit for how they played. We should be better. It's not about who's in each other's faces. That stuff is not real. So please, don't believe it. All the fans, they are lying to you. It's all about basketball. They played a great game. We didn't," Durant retorted.

So how did returning to his former home for the first time this season compare to his first trip back last year?

"It was a little better. Nothing like the first. I'm sure everyone in the arena said what they had to say," Durant said.

The next two times Durant and Westbrook meet up, it will be in Oakland (Feb.6 and Feb. 24). The Warriors don't return to Oklahoma City until April 3, 2018.

Gameday: Kevin Durant's Oklahoma City return Part 2

kd-andre-us.jpg
USATSI

Gameday: Kevin Durant's Oklahoma City return Part 2

Programming note: Warriors-Thunder coverage begins on NBC Sports Bay Area at 4 p.m. with Pregame Live and is streaming live right here.

The Warriors will have Kevin Durant back Wednesday when they conclude a four-game road trip with a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 5:05.

The Warriors (13-4) recovered from a loss at Boston last Thursday to sweep a back-to-back set at Philadelphia and Brooklyn over the weekend. Durant missed the game against the Nets but returned to practice Tuesday in New York and was upgraded to probable Wednesday morning in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder (7-9) underwent a drastic makeover last summer, adding perennial All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, and are having a tough time adjusting to the reshaped roster.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 5.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry vs. Russell Westbrook. Even with the new acquisitions in OKC, Westbrook remains the engine behind this team. He still takes the most shots (despite a 39.4 FG percentage) and he leads in rebounds and assists. The key to beating the OKC last season was keeping him in check. The same applies so far this season. Expect Curry and Thompson to be tag-team partners on defense.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L ankle sprain) was listed as probable, but will play, Steve Kerr announced. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Thunder: No injuries listed.

LAST 10

Warriors 9-1, Thunder 4-6.

GAME OFFICIALS

Monty McCutchen, Karl Lane and Kevin Scott.

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors swept all four games last season and have won the last seven regular-season meetings. They have won the last three in Oklahoma City. The teams met in the 2016 Western Conference Finals, with the Warriors prevailing in seven games.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

WATCH THE GIVEAWAYS: The Warriors commit an average of 16.8 turnovers per game, worse than all but two teams. That is an area the Thunder are capable of exploiting. OKC is third in defensive rating and, moreover, leads the NBA in steals and deflections while being tied for the lead in loose balls recovered. Above all, the Thunder are tops in the league in forcing turnovers (17.6 per game) and creating points off them at 20.9 per game.

KD vs. PG: For a number of seasons, George in Indiana was to the Eastern Conference what Durant was to the West in OKC. Each can play either forward position, each handles the ball well, each plays both ends and each was his team’s biggest star. They’re in different places now, but the pride levels won’t change. Each will want to reign over the other. This matchup will be fun to watch.

BURYING THE HABIT: The Warriors have continued their dangerous tendency to either fall behind and be forced to generate a comeback or build a lead only to give most of it, if not all of it, back their opponent. Will OKC and its high-profile roster, as well as Durant’s longtime connection to the franchise, be enough for the Warriors to remain focused for the duration? In their favor: the Thunder are 0-8 in games decided by eight or fewer points.

Kevin Durant upgraded before Warriors' game vs Thunder

kd-russ-us.jpg
USATSI

Kevin Durant upgraded before Warriors' game vs Thunder

Programming note: Warriors-Thunder coverage begins on NBC Sports Bay Area at 4 p.m. with Pregame Live and is streaming live right here.

Kevin Durant and the Warriors are back in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night. While Durant missed the Warriors' last game, it would be a major shock if he didn't play against his former team. 

The Warriors upgraded Durant from questionable to probable on Wednesday morning. 

Durant returned to Oklahoma City for the first time last season on Feb. 11, 2017. After spending his first nine seasons with the same franchise, Durant dominated his former team for 34 points in front of a wild Thunder crowd.

In three games against the Thunder, Durant is averaging 37.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists. Through 15 games this season, Durant is averaging 24.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 2.2 blocks per game.