OKLAHOMA CITY -- Tensions ran hot between Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on the court once again, as the two went forehead-to-forehead briefly in the third quarter and were each assessed a technical foul in the Thunder's 108-91 win over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
"Man, that's just ball," Durant said of the interaction. "He's a competitor, I'm a competitor. We like to go at it, both of us, and that's just part of the game, so I respect it. I've got nothing but love for it. I'm expecting it again when we play 'em again, but it's all fun and games."
Westbrook sparked the Thunder with his energy, and he seemed to direct a lot of it at Durant. On a number of occasions, Westbrook was very animated, while not directly talking to Durant, but yelling about plays. In the second quarter, after denying a post entry pass intended for Durant and following a slight brush up against Durant, Westbrook yelled loudly at the crowd, "No! No!" Durant chuckled and clapped his hands at Westbrook.
"I play the same way every night," Westbrook said. "Whether it's against Kevin, whether it's against ... who we play Friday? Detroit. Reggie Jackson. Dennis Smith on Saturday. It don't matter who it is. On the court, I don't got no friends. Only friend I have is the basketball, that's it. And obviously my teammates. But I go out and compete, I go out and play at a high level. Like I've been saying since day one, and that's what I do."
Westbrook and Durant's history has been at the center of the recent matchups between the Thunder and Warriors. Teammates for eight seasons in Oklahoma City, the two still have not spoken since Durant left for the Warriors in the summer of 2016 -- outside of the basketball court, of course. Westbrook and Durant have clashed a few other times on the floor, with Westbrook yelling, "I'm coming!" at Durant during a run last season, and Durant replying, "So what?"
On Wednesday night, the Thunder built a 26-point lead, as Westbrook led the way with 34 points on 13-of-27 shooting with 10 rebounds and nine assists. Durant finished with 21 points on 8-of-17 shooting with three rebounds.
The Thunder snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Warriors that dated back to the playoffs in May 2016, when Durant was still with OKC.
"The story is about the game," Durant said of the focus on Wednesday's scuffle with Westbrook. "We lost, they kicked our ass, they played a great game. You should give them credit for how they played, and we should be better. It's not about who was in each other's faces. That stuff is not real. So please don't believe it. All the fans, they lying to y'all. It's about basketball, and they played a great game and we didn't."