All-Star forward Kevin Durant returns to Oklahoma City on Saturday, and the unfriendly welcome will consist of a vociferous round of boos and signs in support of former running mate Russell Westbrook. It will mark Durant’s first game in the arena he called home of eight seasons when the Golden State Warriors visit the Thunder in search of their third straight victory over Oklahoma City this season.
Westbrook has refused to speak to Durant in the seven-plus months since he made the decision to leave for the Warriors and declined an opportunity to suggest how his ex-teammate should be greeted. “It’s up to them what they want to do,” Westbrook told reporters regarding the fans. “You know, obviously Kevin did a lot for Oklahoma City and our team when he was here, so it’s kind of up to them. It doesn’t really matter to me one way or another. It’s a basketball game. Gotta go out and compete.” Durant, who averaged 39.5 points and 9.5 rebounds as the Warriors won two home games against the Thunder by an average of 23.5 points earlier this season, said he will ride out the moment. “I can’t hide my emotions,” Durant told reporters, adding there might be guilt but not regret.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ABC
LINE HISTORY: Oddsmakers opened the Durant-led Warriors as 7-point road chalk. The number did come down to Warriors -6.5, but has since returned to the opening number. The total hit the board at a high 226 and has steadily climbed to the current number 227.5. Check out the complete line history here.
Warriors – PF David West (Late February, thumb), C Zaza Pachulia (Mid February, shoulder).
Thunder – C Enes Kanter (Mid March, forearm).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Warriors (-15.4) – Thunder (-2.5) + home court (-3) = Thunder +9.9
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (45-8, 25-26-2 ATS, 23-30 O/U): Durant shot 70 percent in the first two meetings – including 12-of-18 from 3-point range – while putting up 39 and 40 points. Durant scored 24 in Friday’s 122-107 victory at Memphis, but it was All-Star power forward Draymond Green playing the starring role with a unique triple-double of 12 rebounds, 10 assists and a career-best 10 steals to go with five blocked shots and just four points. “I think it gives a huge impact just doing all the other things,” Green said during a postgame television interview. “A lot of guys on this team can score. We don’t need me to score. Some games I’ll score, some games I won’t. But those areas I can always focus on – I can always defend, I can always rebound.”
ABOUT THE THUNDER (31-23, 30-23-1 ATS, 24-30 O/U): Westbrook’s star status has risen with Durant out of the picture, and he is a leading MVP candidate with season averages of 30.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 10.2 assists. The All-Star point guard recorded his 26th triple-double of the season when he delivered 29 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in Thursday’s solid 118-109 victory over defending champion Cleveland. Westbrook shot a porous 31.6 percent in the first two meetings with the Warriors while averaging 23.5 points, 11.5 assists and 10.5 rebounds.
DANCE TEAM WAR:
* Warriors are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games playing on 0 days rest.
* Thunder are 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 home games.
* Warriors are 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Under is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
* Under is 4-0 in Warriors last four versus a team with a winning SU record.
Check out the complete list of hot and cold trends.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Early consensus action has 61 percent of wagers taking Durant and the Warriors in his return to Oklahoma City, while a whoping 70 percent of bettors are on the Over. Click here for complete consensus data.