Russell Westbrook was one of many Lakers that took a stab at defending Kevin Durant on Sunday and certainly left an impression.
It feels like decades ago that Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant were positioned are rivals to one another. The latter’s departure from Oklahoma City created such a firestorm that the two once friends were very much enemies for some time.
Nowadays, the pair are far more cordial and the storyline of Russ vs. KD barely moved the needle ahead of Sunday’s meeting between the Lakers and Nets. The tensions haven’t certainly come down enough that the two were matched up against one another a number of times throughout the night and nothing particularly came of it, certainly in comparison to past similar showdowns.
After Sunday’s game, Durant was asked about a couple of matchups he had with Westbrook defending him that led to a funny interaction.
“He’s just going to hack me the whole time,” Durant joked. “We’ve been doing that s--- since we were 18, 19. More than anything, to see the role Russ is playing right now, he’s just affecting the game in so many ways. 12 assists tonight, four turnovers, 14 points, he came in there and put his imprint on the game. It’s always fun playing against him regardless of what setting it is. It’s always been like that between us.”
According to NBA matchup data, Westbrook defended Durant for 10 total possessions on Sunday and didn’t allow him to score while forcing a travel from KD as well. On the flip side of that was Patrick Beverley, who defended Durant more than anyone else on the Lakers.
PatBev was far less effective as Durant went 5-7 from the field and 2-2 at the line for 12 of his 31 points. But because it’s PatBev and stats basically don’t matter to him, he took credit for the Lakers’ strong defensive performance over the course of the night. Kevin Durant disagreed, to say the least.
Yes he is brother— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) November 14, 2022
While KD and Russ may not see eye to eye on much anymore, I’m assuming both probably have the same mindset when it comes to Beverley and his...defense, though Russ might not say it publicly since he’s best friends with PatBev now.