OKLAHOMA CITY -- Though no blows were thrown and no serious threats were issued, there were moments during the Warriors-Thunder game Saturday night that gave off a strong odor of ferocity.
“I loved it,” said Warriors forward Draymond Green.
The animosity ran deep enough that local law enforcement felt compelled step in, initially to keep the teams apart and later to wall off a particularly vociferous fan near the Warriors bench.
Oklahoma City fans were doing their best to pour their animosity into the head of former object of affection Kevin Durant. Moreover, his ex-teammates from the Thunder turned particularly cranky.
Game officials at one point late in the third quarter called three technical fouls and reviewed a play to see if OKC forward Andre Roberson had committed a flagrant foul when he clobbered Durant on a drive to the basket.
Durant and Roberson went nose to nose, exchanging words. Both received technical fouls from official Eric Dalen, as did Andre Iguodala for saying too much to veteran official Bennie Adams.
It’s all in the game,” Durant said. “Nothing that’s going to seep off the floor. It’s part of the game. I respect that. We should have just kept playing; I don’t think they should’ve reviewed anything.
“It’s a part of it. Hard fouls, s----talking . . . all that stuff is a part of the game. That’s what makes the game fun for us.”
The officials decided Roberson’s transgression was a common foul, and matters seemed to cool shortly afterward.
Roberson after the game acknowledged a measure of dispute with Durant, saying “the decision he made kind of doesn’t sit right with me.”
That would be Durant’s decision, upon becoming a free agent last summer, to flee Oklahoma City and join the Warriors. That decision is what kept the temperature in the arena between hot and hotter.
There also was a heated exchange earlier in the third quarter between Russell Westbrook and Durant, who were twin touchstones for eight seasons in Oklahoma City until Durant departed.
OKC, behind Westbrook had sliced eight points off what had been a 26-point Warriors lead when the Warriors called a 20-second timeout and Westbrook turned toward Durant and said, “I’m coming.”
Durant went right back at him. The two continued their dialogue, with Durant getting in the last words: “You’re losing.”
The Warriors at the time were up 94-76, with 4:27 left in the third.
“No harm, no foul,” Green said of the Durant-Westbrook chat. “You talk trash on the court. It’s a competitive game. KD is super-competitive. Russell is super-competitive. If you talk junk, you talk junk. I think it’s fun. I enjoyed it.”