Kevin Durant reacts to going up against Russell Westbrook

Kevin Durant reacts to going up against Russell Westbrook

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have never shied away from each other since Durant left Oklahoma City six years ago. The duo have met 11 times since the break-up. The latest came on Sunday night with the Los Angeles Lakers claiming a 116-103 wire-to-wire victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

Durant and Westbrook spent eight seasons together with the Thunder, making four Western Conference Finals appearances and one trip to the Finals. Westbrook guarded Durant sparingly on the switches Sunday, but his knowledge of his former teammate was on full display with a come-from-behind block on a Durant post-up in the first quarter.

Durant was asked to go up against his former teammate after the game.

“He’s just going to hack me all the time,” Kevin Durant said. “We’ve been doing it since we were 18, 19. But more than anything, to see the role Russ is playing right now, he’s impacting the game in so many different ways. Twelve assists tonight, four turnovers, 14 points, he came in and put his stamp on the game, so it’s always fun to play against him, no matter what the setting is. It’s always been that way between us.”

Westbrook has been a difference maker for the Lakers since a move to the bench. The former MVP is averaging 18.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists on 42.4 percent shooting from three in November. Westbrook’s block resulted in a lot of buzz on Twitter, but Durant would get him back in the third quarter, stunning the Lakers guard in isolation before hitting the shot and converting a four-point play at the other end.

Durant finished the game with 31 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists on 8 of 16 shooting. The 12-time All-Star’s streak of 13 straight 25-plus games to open the season is the longest since Michael Jordan in 1988-89 (16).

The Lakers win was the first time Kevin Durant and Westbrook squared off against each other since January 2021. That game, a 149-146 Wizards win, saw the duo go shot for shot with Westbrook exploding for 41 points and Durant on his heels with 37.

The final match between the two featured some fun sequences and recognition of respect for each other’s games. Durant and Westbrook will meet again when the Lakers travel to Brooklyn on January 30.

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