Russell Westbrook Outduels Kevin Durant as Thunder Rout Warriors

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - NOVEMBER 22: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots the ball against the Golden State Warriors during the game at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on November 22, 2017 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 Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

Russell Westbrook walked into Chesapeake Energy Arena before Wednesday night's game against the Golden State Warriors rocking a jacket with the words "For Flexing Purposes" emblazoned on the sleeve. 

And flex he did. 

In the Thunder's 108-91 win over the Warriors, Westbrook thrashed the defending champions and piled up a season-high 34 points (13-of-27 shooting), 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals. 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Russ gets his first win against KD. https://t.co/ZLKYDnRRBH

Those gaudy figures were the product of tremendous determination on Westbrook's part as he refused to let former teammate Kevin Durant best the Thunder on their home floor. 

And as has generally been the case, the reigning MVP was at his best when he was able to barrel downhill and attack the rim with reckless abandon: 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Brodie back to destroying rims https://t.co/maFDkZGSND

Westbrook was also a menace on defense and parlayed Warriors mistakes into crafty conversions on the other end: 


Russ gets after it! 📺: ESPN https://t.co/RsMPZ6DJOC

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Eurostep so nasty it needed a replay 😬 https://t.co/9BGgeeJHjC

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But that wasn't all. 

Westbrook brought his best trash talk to the table and got into it with Durant on several occasions, including a back-and-forth in the second quarter that set the stage for additional verbal clashes, as ESPN chronicled: 

ESPN @espn

Russ and KD exchanging pleasantries. https://t.co/bb9WRJrEjN

Things nearly boiled over midway through the third quarter when Westbrook and Durant were both slapped with technical fouls for jawing, but they didn't escalate beyond a brief head-butt: 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Russ and KD got something to say https://t.co/uzrlLGKvr9

The fire Westbrook boasted from start to finish seemed to motivate Paul George and Carmelo Anthony—both of whom showed up with key scoring efforts that demonstrated what Oklahoma City's ceiling could look like once all three stars mesh. 

George poured in 20 points on 8-of-19 shooting (4-of-10 from three), grabbed 11 boards and recorded four steals in a performance that represented yet another step forward, according to FiveThirtyEight's Chris Herring: 

Chris Herring @Herring_NBA

Paul George has been fantastic this season. Feels like he gets his hands on literally every pass (leads league in deflections by a mile), and has become a knockdown 3-pt shooter.

Anthony, meanwhile, dropped 22 points as a high-caliber catch-and-shoot weapon who looked like the player that helped Team USA win three gold medals, as the Mercury News' Mark Medina observed: 

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Carmelo Anthony is in Team USA mode right now.

Then there were the Warriors, who were in an offensive rut throughout. 

Stephen Curry led the way with 24 points (9-of-18 shooting), but those positive contributions were nearly wiped out by a team-high six turnovers. 

The story was the same for Durant, who scored 21 points but coughed up the ball four times on a night when the Thunder scored 34 points off 22 Warriors turnovers. 

Needless to say, that's not how the Warriors wanted to wrap up their four-game road trip that featured tough battles against the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics

Now headed back to the Bay Area, the Warriors will have Thanksgiving off before they return to the floor Friday against the Chicago Bulls

The Thunder will also be home Friday when they host the Detroit Pistons in search of their second straight win. 

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