Thursday 17 August 2017 / 08:02 PM

NOT A RIVALRY: BREAKING DOWN THE WARRIORS-THUNDER MISMATCH

Well, the ratings masterpiece that has become the Thunder and Warriors got its must anticipated next round over the weekend, and it happened to be about as anti-climactic on the court as the other matchups. But, we finally got some fireworks on the court in this rematch.

It was Durant’s first return to Oklahoma City since the move to Golden State, and it’s been the talk of the NBA world since he decided to leave. And even though it turned out to be at humping, there were plenty of things going on in this game. So let’s take a look:

The Crowd Was What We Thought

So, the buildup was worth it. Even though the Thunder were never really competitive, the crowd was great and absolutely merciless on Durant and the Warriors. And maybe it’s pride, but that booing got louder and louder as the game got more and more out of hand, and I respect them for that. Truthfully one of the most hostile atmospheres of a regular season game that I’ve seen in a long time.

Thunder Don’t Have Enough

Let’s get to the actual game here. This is another matchup in this series that just further exposed the talent gap in these rosters. The lone bright spot for the Thunder is the depth and front court, both of which go null and void when the Warriors run like they do. They can’t guard any of the shooting for the Warriors, and the front court got rampaged the entire time the Warriors had their small lineup on the floor.

Russ Can Complain, But He Hurt the Thunder

Here’s the other thing. Russ is great, and there’s not anybody on the planet that will dispute how talented the guy is on the basketball court, but games like this really show you the double-edged sword of playing with Westbrook. Westbrook scored in bunches, and was decently efficient in shooting from the field. But those turnovers were unreal. Double digits in turnovers are as common in his triple doubles as any other stat, and Westbrook just tries to do too much. It hurt the Thunder again, and despite him trying his hardest, it kept them from being competitive at all.

Easy to See Greener Pastures

It was always a little difficult to ignore the overlying themes of the game going on, but don’t forget that the drama is rooted in what Kevin Durant did and the choice he made. And once again, it was apparent. The Warriors are just such a better complimentary pairing, and even though Westbrook did as well as he did, it was just so easy to see why Durant chose the Warriors. That supporting cast just fits him so much better.

KD Got His Revenge

So, Russ scored 40+, but KD stole the show again. This guy is so efficient, and after starting poorly, he nailed the Thunder again and again. And him guarding Westbrook was just great. The toe-to-toe with Roberson, the deep three over Westbrook to end it, and just everything in between was sweet release with the night he had.

Warriors Keep Being Petty

So, the story of the game was obviously the drama on the court, but everything that happened broke the Warriors way. For starters, the Thunder mocked KD by calling him “cupcake,” even handing out shirts… which promptly ended with Steph and company wearing after the game. Oh, and there was the KD stare down three, and the confrontation of Russ and KD where Russ told him “I’m coming”, with KD responding with the classic “so what, you’re losing.” Everything went the Warriors way, yet again. Which leads me to…

This Isn’t a Rivalry

Look, this series is a lot of things. A grudge match, physical, emotional, challenging… But it’s time to start saying what it’s not. And that’s simple: a rivalry. Look, for better or for worse, the Thunder aren’t anywhere near the league of the Warriors. And that’s not anyone’s fault, but Russ and company are just creating drama. The Warriors and Thunder are fun, but far from competitive, as this game showed.

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About the author

Austin Albertson

Austin is CBS' senior NFL and NBA analyst, bringing you commentary on everything between the lines and inside the hashes, from the film room to the scoreboard.

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