En­veloped by boos, Du­rant scores 34 in win

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - CLIFF BRUNT

OK­LA­HOMA CITY — Af­ter a roller-coaster of emo­tions sur­round­ing his re­turn to Ok­la­homa City, Kevin Du­rant was glad to come out with a win and move on.

Du­rant scored 34 points while be­ing booed through­out the night, and the Golden State War­riors beat the Thun­der, 130-114, in a chippy Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion game Satur­day night.

It was Du­rant’s first game back since he left the Thun­der af­ter eight sea­sons in Ok­la­homa City to join the ri­val War­riors as a free agent last sum­mer.

The crowd jeered him loudly dur­ing pregame warm-ups, starter in­tro­duc­tions and when­ever he touched the ball.

“Bas­ket­ball is fun in gen­eral, es­pe­cially in an en­vi­ron­ment like this,” Du­rant said. “The crowd was amaz­ing. They were loud — as loud as I’ve ever heard them.”

Rus­sell West­brook did it all for the Thun­der with 47 points, 11 re­bounds and eight as­sists. In the end, Golden State’s depth and bal­ance were too much. Stephen Curry and Klay Thomp­son both scored 26 points for the War­riors.

Emo­tions ran high through­out the game. At one point in the third quar­ter, Du­rant and West­brook yelled at each other as they walked to­ward their benches dur­ing a time­out.

West­brook said too much at­ten­tion has been paid to his re­la­tion­ship with Du­rant.

“I do think it doesn’t make sense,” West­brook said. “It’s over with. He plays for his team, I play with my team. Let him do his thing, I do my thing, and that’s it, plain and sim­ple.”

Later in the third quar­ter, Ok­la­homa City’s An­dre Rober­son fouled Du­rant hard, and the two got in each other’s faces and were called for tech­ni­cal fouls.

“It’s part of the game and I re­spect that,” Du­rant said. “We should have just kept play­ing. I don’t even think they should have re­viewed any­thing. It’s a part of it. Hard fouls, (ex­ple­tive) talk­ing — all that stuff is just a part of the game. That’s what makes it fun for us.”

Ok­la­homa City kept it close early, but the War­riors gained their foot­ing late in the first quar­ter. Golden State made 16 of 22 field goals in the se­cond quar­ter, and Du­rant’s dunk with four sec­onds left in the first half gave the War­riors a 73-50 lead at the break. The 43 points by the War­riors in the se­cond quar­ter were a sea­son high.

The Thun­der cut Golden State’s lead to 12 in the fourth quar­ter be­fore West­brook checked back in, but the Thun­der couldn’t cut the deficit fur­ther, and Du­rant punc­tu­ated his dom­i­nant per­for­mance with a 3-pointer over West­brook that put the War­riors up 123-104 with 3:39 to play.

TIP-INS War­riors: C Zaza Pachu­lia sat out with a right ro­ta­tor cuff strain and F David West missed the game with a frac­tured left thumb. ... It was Golden State’s third con­vinc­ing win over the Thun­der in three meet­ings this sea­son. The War­riors won the first two meet­ings by 26 and 21 points in Oak­land . ... F An­dre Iguo­dala was called for a tech­ni­cal foul in the third quar­ter dur­ing the al­ter­ca­tion be­tween Du­rant and Rober­son. Thun­der: West­brook had 21 points and nine re­bounds in the first half . ... West­brook usu­ally rests at the end of the third quar­ter, but this time, he played the whole pe­riod and dunked in the clos­ing sec­onds . ... Vic­tor Oladipo scored 20 points . ... West­brook com­mit­ted 11 turnovers . ... Rober­son had 11 re­bounds. STAT LINES Du­rant has av­er­aged 37.7 points and shot 65.6 per cent from the field in Golden State’s three wins over Ok­la­homa City this sea­son. QUOTABLE War­riors coach Steve Kerr on how Du­rant han­dled the crowd: “I thought he was great. What a weird po­si­tion to be in. I don’t think any of us can even imag­ine what he was think­ing out there.” UP NEXT The War­riors will play at Den­ver on Mon­day.

The Thun­der will play at Wash­ing­ton and for­mer Ok­la­homa City coach Scott Brooks on Mon­day.

SUE OGROCKI, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

War­riors’ Kevin Du­rant high-fives Dray­mond Green in the fourth quar­ter of Golden State’s win over the Thun­der in Ok­la­homa City.

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