Kevin Durant Explains Why He Didn't Engage in Russell Westbrook Confrontation

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - NOVEMBER 22: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on on November 22, 2017 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder handled the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, 108-91, but the result took a backseat to some of the trash talking between former teammates Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant

While Durant and Westbrook appeared testy when talking to each other nose-to-nose after the latter stripped the former on a drive, Durant said he tried to keep everything about basketball. Chris B. Haynes of ESPN shared the Warriors star's rationale behind doing so as he explained he "can't let emotion seep in":

Westbrook won the game and the individual battle, finishing an assist shy of a triple-double with 34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals on 13-of-27 shooting. He also turned heads with a particularly ferocious jam:

Durant was solid with 21 points and five rebounds on 8-of-17 shooting, but his most memorable moments came during the back-and-forths with the reigning league MVP.

They talked trash in the second quarter after Westbrook drew a foul and was stepping up to the free-throw line, which ESPN captured:

That was before they were each assessed technical fouls in the third quarter for jawing with each other, although things could have escalated further than they did given the tension in Chesapeake Energy Arena:

While the crowd made itself heard, often boisterously toward Durant, it didn't quite match last season's first matchup. It was Durant's initial trip back to Oklahoma City after he left to join the Warriors, and the crowd was dressed as cupcakes and booed the former Thunder star mercilessly throughout.

This time, though, the Thunder earned the win, and the fireworks between Durant and Westbrook didn't go far.

They won't face each other again until Feb. 6 when Oklahoma City travels to Golden State. The next matchup in Oklahoma City will be April 3 when both sides could be fighting for playoff positioning.