There's no disputing that the 46-4 Golden State Warriors and 43-8 San Antonio Spurs are the class of the NBA and the Western Conference. However, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, whose team is in third place in the West, isn't backing down from either of those teams.
After dropping a 116-108 decision to those very Warriors on Saturday night in Oakland, Durant spoke with Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman:
We not scared of either one of those teams. We gonna play our game. Nobody in this locker room is scared. We've got to play them. To get to where we want to get to, we got to play them. We ain't ducking nobody.
Durant put up a game-high 40 points Saturday night in the losing effort, as his Thunder sit at 38-14 this season. It was a historic performance, as the NBA on ESPN showed:
NBA on ESPN @ESPNNBA
KD: 1st road game of 40+ Pts and 10+ Reb against defending champ since Ralph Sampson vs Sixers in 1984. (via ELIAS) https://t.co/fkZT3Iu9EY2016-2-7 05:27:36
That didn't mean much to Durant, though, who told Slater there are "no moral victories in here."
It's just the second time this season that the Thunder have played either the Warriors or Spurs. On opening night back in October, Oklahoma City defeated the Spurs 112-106.
The Thunder will play the Spurs three more times this season, with the next matchup coming March 12. They'll play the defending champions two more times in a five-day span beginning Feb. 27.
While Durant might not be scared of either team, the Warriors are tied for the best record in NBA history through 50 games, tying the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers, per Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears. Their three-point shooting ability and well-rounded offense, led by guard Stephen Curry, have been virtually unstoppable this entire season, and they show no sign of slowing down.
The Spurs might not be the flashiest team, but they are one of the best-coached sides thanks to Gregg Popovich. They allow just 91.5 points per game, as they are one of the toughest defensive teams to break down.
In order to get past these two teams, Durant will not only have to be on his game, but his supporting cast, led by guard Russell Westbrook will have to be just as solid. If the Thunder want to feel confident going into the playoffs and solidify the fact there is no fear, then beating these two teams a couple of times in the regular season should do wonders for them as the postseason approaches.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.