Before their playoff matchup, Russell Westbrook assures he has ‘no beef’ with former teammate Kevin Durant
Back in the day Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant shared the court together as teammates for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Today, they are preparing to face each other in a playoff series for the first time as the Clippers and Suns will clash on Sunday.
The Los Angeles star made sure to say this week that there is no animosity between him and the Phoenix star, as some rumors started to suggest they had a problem with each other. Westbrook guaranteed that he only feels respect for him.
"Definitely man. Look at back in the day and what could've been. Not as much [now]. Probably when I'm done playing, I'll probably reflect on it a lot more."
Russell Westbrook on reflecting on his time with Kevin Durant and the Thunder.
(via @TomerAzarly) pic.twitter.com/zoUB9Bacfy
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) April 12, 2023
“It will be normal for me,” Westbrook told the press over what he felt about facing his Thunder teammate. “I think people still think like there’s some beef or something. There’s no beef of any [kind], so I think that’s the good narrative for media, for people to talk about.
“But there’s no beef. I got nothing but respect for him and things he’s done with his career and having to see him back from injury. There’s no beef at all. But he knows I’m going to compete and I know he’s going to compete and that’s all it is.”
Both players shared the same jersey during eight campaigns, as their biggest accomplishment was taking OKC to the NBA Finals in 2012. By 2016/17, Durant had already signed for Golden State and Westbrook went on to play for the Houston Rockets two years later.
On court together, the athletes were one of the strongest partners in NBA history. During those 9 years in Oklahoma, Westbrook assisted his teammate 1,465 times, by far the most of any other duo during that time frame. No other combination even reached 1,000 over that decade.
Check out one of their strongest performances together as they combined for 91 points in 2015:
Ever since they split, they’ve faced each other 11 times, with the Los Angeles veteran leading by a small margin 6-5 against the Phoenix foward in regular season encounters. During these contests, Durant averaged 32 points, as Westbrook produced averages of 28.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 9.5 assists.
Both teams are getting ready to clash this Sunday for the playoffs’ first round
Even though the Clippers have played against superstar scorers in past playoff series like Nikola Jokic, Donovan Mitchell and Luka Doncic, they have attended the press this week underlining how careful they must be with the Suns foward’s offenses.
“I respect all those guys,” Los Angeles forward Nic Batum said. “But he’s in a different category. KD is different than all those guys. Those guys are great, but KD is KD. He’s a champion, one of the all-time greats, one of the best small forwards we’ve ever seen in this league, in this game overall. It’s not easy when you face a matchup like this.”
Westbrook, on the other hand, is enjoying this time as he’s finally back competing in postseason after missing the playoffs last campaign with the Lakers. Now, he admits to be excited to face Durant on court once again.
“Just his ability — he’s always been very efficient,” Westbrook said of his former teammate. “But I think his ability to be more efficient and still score the ball at a high rate. … He’s probably one of the best scorers I’ve seen, just can score at ease and look so effortlessly.
“I think over the years, he’s figured out ways to score the basketball at a very, very high rate, and that’s kind of what I’ve seen over the years.”
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