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Westbrook-Durant Round 1 Is Here

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OAKLAND, Calif. -

Westbrook-Durant Round 1 is here. The undefeated Thunder square off with Durant’s 3-1 Warriors in a game that feels much more valuable than just one-of-82.

Just don’t expect Russell Westbrook to play up the fanfare.

“The only way I know to play is to go out and play at a high level every night and play the same way and hopefully the results turn out for the good,” Westbrook told reporters after Wednesday night’s 85-83 win against the Clippers.

“I play every game like it’s my last.”

Meanwhile, the Warriors have run off three-straight road wins since falling to the Spurs at home on opening night. Kevin Durant leads the Warriors in scoring (28.5 ppg), steals (3.0 spg) and blocks (1.5 bpg) and he also downplayed the emotional aspect of going against his longtime teammates.

“Once it tips off it’ll just be another basketball game,” Durant said, just before giving a scouting report of the Thunder. “Westbrook will get it off the board and race it up the court and try to get layups so we gotta be prepared for that. They’ve been playing a lot of pick and roll with Westbrook and Adams so we gotta be prepared for him rolling to the rim and we gotta clog the paint up and also get on the shooters.”

Tonight’s matchup features the two fastest teams in the league in terms of pace (possessions per 48 minutes) with OKC at 103.7 and Golden State virtually neck-and-neck at 103.6. The Warriors are more effective offensively, leading the NBA in scoring at 113.8 points per game while the Thunder are 16th at 103.5. The Thunder has the best defensive rating in the league and are holding opponents to just 24.5 percent from behind the arc.

You can throw those stats out the window tonight, though. Despite Westbrook and Durant’s comments, this game is all about emotion. Curry-Westbrook. Roberson-Durant. Draymond Green vs. Steven Adams.

These are two very different teams than the ones that met in the Western Conference Finals five months ago, but the rivalry will be as fierce as ever.

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