The first half of the season is in the books. With the NBA All Star Game approaching, the infamous Kevin Durant is still finding ways to steal the headlines. This time, it’s not just him, however. His old pal Russell Westbrook is there as well. It’s the question on everybody’s mind: how will these two co-exist?
After nine years with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant left the team in the off-season, seeking greener pastures with the perennial NBA Finalists, Golden State Warriors. It was a tragic and dirty break-up that has since turned Durant into something of a villain in OKC (think 2010 LeBron and Cleveland). We saw how sour things had gotten when Durant returned to Chesapeake Arena for the first time last week amidst “cupcake” shirts and chants.
But that was Durant in unfamiliar territory. The NBA All Star Game will be Russ’ turn.
A Thunder Among Warriors
Aside from Kevin Durant, the All Star Game for the West will be fielding Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Not to mention, Coach Steve Kerr of Golden State will have the team’s reins in his hands. That’s five Warriors, surrounding one Thunder in Russell Westbrook. How will Russell Westbrook respond now that he’s basically neck-deep in enemy territory?
Three contests so far this season saw three victories for the Warriors. However, Westbrook has remained defiant so far, even in loss. He hasn’t been on speaking terms with Durant, aside from some competitive jawing. And, he hasn’t backed down against the titanic Warriors super team. Also, one can’t help but wonder if Westbrook didn’t intentionally dive on top of KD on this play.
There’s no way to avoid the awkwardness here. As Sports Illustrated puts it, there’s nowhere for Westbrook to hide: he’s obliged to attend press sessions, team photoshoots, practices, and spend a couple of hours on the bench beside the players who stomped him out of the Playoffs last year. Will he finally come to speaking terms with Durant, or will the cold shoulder get even icier?
Something to watch out for: the possibility of all four Warriors and Westbrook in the same line-up together. Would Steve Kerr even dare? The last time he was asked about it, he just smiled and walked away.
NBA All Star Game History
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have played alongside each other in the All Star Game six times. Durant has appeared in a total of eight games – two more than Russ – but he’s only got one All Star MVP award, to Russell’s two.
Will Russell and Durant connect on an alley-oop play that reminds fans of the good old times? Or are they more likely to get into an argument despite being on the same team.
Grab your popcorn, everyone. The NBA All Star Game takes place this Sunday, 8.00 PM (EST).