Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant had a bit of a bromance growing up as NBA surging start throughout their first years in the Oklahoma City Thunder, even leading the team to the NBA Finals.
Russ and KD were one of the most talented and dominant tandems in the NBA for years and even though they weren’t able to win the Championship, they were legit contenders year in and year out, and everybody thought they’d build a dynasty together.
Nonetheless, Durant had other plans on his agenda, and he pretty much bailed out on the Thunder -and Russ- in order to have an easy path to the Finals by joining the Golden State Warriors, their biggest rivals in the Western Conference.
Controversial as it may seem, this decision drew a lot of heat towards Durant’s way, and when Russ decided to take matters into his own hands, he was labeled as a stat padder and ball hogger.
So, even though Westbrook wrote his name in history books thanks to his historic seasons and Durant won back-to-back Chips, both players lost with this move. Moreover, they’ve lost their brotherhood and their friendship, and it just feels as is both hated each other's guts. That being said, why don’t we go ahead and talk about the series everybody wants to see, featuring team Westbrook vs team Durant.
Coach: Steve Kerr
PG: Stephen Curry
Total no-brainer here, even though Westbrook is a hell of a point guard, Curry has brought the best out of KD’s game, sacrificing touches and never hesitating to give up an easy shot in order to set his teammate up.
Curry and Durant have developed a solid rapport and him being the greatest shooter in the history of the game and having a low-key rivalry with Westbrook, Curry was an easy choice for Durantula.
SG: Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is not only the greatest player in Los Angeles Lakers history, but one of the greatest players in the history of the game, and Durant grew up looking up to Kobe and trying to copy his game.
Bryant has the kind of killer mentality that coach Kerr loves, he’s one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the game, and a guy that thrives off competition and that would love to stick it to another competitor like Russ.
SF: Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant has grown to become the best small forward in the league now that LeBron James is aging, and obviously, he’s got to take a step forward and be this team’s captain to try and lead them to the W.
Durant has improved his defense up to the point to become the Golden State Warriors top-notch rim protector, while also being arguably the most offensively skilled player in the world.
PF: LeBron James
Even though LeBron James respectfully disagreed with Kevin Durant’s statements pointing that KD was ready to carry LeBron’s torch as the best player in the world, there’s always been a lot of mutual respect in that relationship.
LeBron is the smartest player to ever set foot on an NBA court and a guy that thrived as a power forward during his Miami Heat tenure, and he would bring the most out of KD and Curry while letting them play off-ball.
C: DeAndre Jordan
DeAndre Jordan is one of the league’s top-tier rim protectors and most dominant low post defenders and rebounders, and he happens to be one of Durant’s few friends in the league, as a matter of fact.
Moreover, Jordan sure knows about controversial decisions, as he already had been labeled as a snake for backing out from a deal that would’ve sent him to the Dallas Mavericks a couple of years ago.
Bench: Klay Thompson, Michael Beasley, Draymond Green, Jeff Green, Andre Iguodala
This second unit features three of the most dominant lockdown defenders in the world in Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala, three key pieces of the Warriors core that have won 3 Championships in 4 years.
On the other side, we’ve got a walking bucket in Michael Beasley, and one of Durant’s closest friends in Jeff Green, the last guy beside him to be ever drafted by the Seattle Supersonics before becoming the Thunder.
This second unit has a lot of shooting in Beasley and Thompson, while Iguodala and Green thrive off their athleticism, and Green works as their defensive anchor, being one of the most balanced benches you’ll ever see.
Coach: Phil Jackson
PG: Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook is just desperate to prove the world that he’s one of the best to ever do it, and we already know that he’s got what it takes to single-handedly beat an entire team, at least every now and then.
Westbrook is a one-man fastbreak, a walking triple-double and a guy that could even be a lockdown defender when focused, and it’s always a pleasure to watch him try and beat Kevin Durant.
SG: Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan has always had a lot of praise for Russell Westbrook, even stating that the Brodie reminds him of himself, mostly because of his freak-like athleticism and hard-nosed competitive nature.
Jordan is the greatest player to ever do it and him being Westbrook’s main sponsor, he’s a no-brainer to join his team. Also, he’s a guy that would never bailed on his team to win it all, because he made his team win it all.
SF: James Harden
James Harden and Russell Westbrook have always been pretty close, and let’s not forget about the fact that Harden was the Thunder’s first offensive weapon off the bench, and that he also hates the Dubs.
Harden is coming off a couple of terrific seasons but has lacked the character to get the job done when it matters the most, so he’d love the chance to play alongside Jordan to finally have a chance to win it all.
PF: Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis is the best power forward in the league and it’s not even close, being as dominant in the defensive end of the floor as prolific in the offensive end of the glass, and he’s just getting started.
Also, the Golden State Warriors have been Davis’ kryptonite and have always humiliated the New Orleans Pelicans come playoff time, so you know he’s craving a chance to get back at Durant and his buddies.
C: Steven Adams
Steven Adams may have a lot of things to say to Draymond Green after the ladder kicked him in the nards a couple of seasons ago, so you know he’s not going to back down from the chance to beat them.
Also, he’s been Westbrook’s favorite target, and he’s a great pick and roll scorer. Furthermore, he’s one of the league’s best defensive minded big men, and he’s quietly improving on the offensive end as well.
Bench: Paul George, Cameron Payne, Enes Kanter, Andre Roberson, Nick Collison
Paul George is one of the best two-way forwards in the league, he can light it up from everywhere on the floor while picking your pocket in the other end. Andre Roberson, in the other hand, is one of the worst offensive players in the league but is a suffocating and pesky backcourt and wing defender.
Cameron Payne is yet to prove his talents, but he’s one of Russ’ biggest buddies and his choreographed handshakes can prove that. Collison is a Sonics/Thunder living legend, and a bully that won’t back down from a challenge, and Enes Kanter has made some bold statements regarding Durant’s decision, as well as stating that Russ is the best teammate he’s ever had.
This second unit features more heart than talent, but hey, those kind of teams also find ways to win it all thanks to their cohesion, determination to win and last but not least, their hate for the bad guys.
Team Westbrook dominates this game from the jump ball, and the over-confident Team Durant never knew what hit them. Russ is throwing alley-oops to Adams, while Jordan gets past LeBron with great ease and reverse dunks the ball with his tongue out. Durant is a major-no show, but Kobe posts a 35 point losing effort. At the end of the day, team Westbrook steals home-court advantage with a 110-99 victory behind Westbrook’s 20-11-10 and Jordan’s 33 and 7 dimes.
Durant’s angry and hasn’t hesitated to let everybody know about it on social media, backfiring at all his haters. Furthermore, Bryant will be the team’s leader once again in game 2. Team Durant answers a 22-5 run with a 25-0 run to get a 5 point lead entering the 4th. James drives, kicks it out to KD, he gets fouled by Adams and goes to the line. Money. Durant up 7, Westbrook pulls up for three and Jordan gets the steal and kicks it to a wide-open Paul George, 1 point game, 30 seconds left. 5, 4, 3, 2, Kobe’s turnaround is good, Team Durant wins it 110-106 despite George’s 25-10 and Jordan’s 22-5-5.
Team Durant has regained their confidence and want to take a home-court advantage back as well. Coach Kerr puts Draymond as the team’s starting center and the fast-paced offense completely demolishes’ Team Westbrook’s zone defense. Curry finally caught fire and crosses Russ to break his ankles and then pull up from 30 feet. The crowd goes nuts, coach Jackson turns to his bench and sends Collison and Cameron Payne in. Team Durant gets a 2-1 lead thanks to a 45 point performance by Steph, winning 120-89.
Following a heated altercation between Westbrook and Jordan, this team is ready to show their teeth and prove their worth in their home-court. Nonetheless, coach Kerr’s new small-ball lineup is too much to handle for Westbrook. Trailing 66-55 at halftime, Jackson decides to start the second half with Davis at C, George at PF and Roberson at SF, sending a shaky Harden to the bench. Team Westbrook opens the second half with a 22-7 run. We enter the 4th, the game is tied, Harden enters for the final possession, Russ drives and kicks it to the Beard, who draws the contact and gets 3 freebies, nailing a couple to win it all 112-110.
Team Westbrook knows they got what it takes to win this one, and Team Durant knows it’s now or never. Russ is on his way to a triple-double after just 1 quarter, and George and Harden are hot as hell with 15 points each at the half. That’s when Klay Thompson shows up. Klay caught fire and nails 5 straight triples, mostly thanks to defenders doubling Bron in the post and Kobe in the elbows. This one goes down the wire. Green inbounds, hands it off to Kobe, he pumps and then throws a skip pass to a wide open Durant, who hits a corner three to win this game 122-120 despite Davis’ 20-12-5 blocks and Westbrook’s 12-11-16.
An inspired Kevin Durant takes the court and takes the matter into his own hands from the jump ball. Westbrook hits back at every shot, but bricks and misfires most of them. Team Durant leads by 5 mostly because of Jordan and Davis, who combined for 35 at the half. Draymond gets double T’d following a beef with Steven Adams and gets ejected, and momentum starts to shift. Westbrook starts hitting all the shots he missed in the first half, while Kobe gets frustrated and starts yelling at both Durant and LeBron. At the end of the day, Team Westbrook winds up sealing the comeback with a 120-115 victory behind Westbrook’s 38-7-10 and Jordan’s 30-5-5.
It’s win or go-home time. James Harden is clearly nervous, so is Paul George. Curry smiles and winks at Klay and KD, he knows they have this in the bag, Kobe doesn’t even blink. Westbrook misses, Harden misses, George misses, Jordan has to do it all. On the other hand, Bron hits from three, Kobe turns around… money, KD’s as smooth as silk, Curry pulls up, they just can’t miss. 66-33 at the halftime, team Westbrook seems doomed.
That’s when Jordan steps up, the living legend does it again. Bring the ball up, lay it up, get the steal, hand it up, set the pick, get the block, he just does it all. Westbrook quickly catches up and team Russ is down just 2 points with 5.4 left on the clock.
Everybody covers Jordan and Russ, Adams inbounds, set the pick and rolls, George gives it back, lay it up and we’re tied. Overtime, baby.
Team Russ is inspired, takes an early 6 point lead, but the Mamba hits back as the buzzer beats and we’re heading to double OT.
James takes the court and starts running the offense, Klay hits a three, George misses, Curry hits a floater. Timeout.
Harden finally steps in, draws a foul on Green from beyond the line, he gets fouled out, he hits all three freebies.
9 seconds left, James drives, Anthony Davis comes out of nowhere and swats the hell out of that shot, Davis grabs the board and throws a full-court pass to a wide-open Michael Jordan, who dunks to tie the game at 125. Triple overtime.
We’re all exhausted, we just want to go home, Kobe and Jordan go shot after shot, but they miss most of it, same goes to KD and Durant. 4 minutes have gone by and we’re tied at 129. Durant has the game-winning shot in his hands, and Russ comes from behind to pick his pocket, tosses it to Jordan, who hits a mid-range jump shot as the buzzer beats. Team Westbrook wins 131-129, Westbrook is mad because he was 1 board shy of a triple-double.