Skip to content

Kevin Durant scores 42, Thunder win a chippy one over Rockets

Mar 11, 2014, 11:21 PM EST

Kevin Durant AP

The Thunder and the Rockets have a history that dates back to the playoff series last season, and a serious injury suffered by Russell Westbrook that he believes was avoidable at best, possibly caused by Patrick Beverley‘s reckless play.

Tuesday night’s contest should have been simply a measuring stick game for two of the West’s top teams, but instead it was an emotional affair on both sides that saw plenty of individual, non-basketball incidents.

The result was a 106-98 Oklahoma City victory behind a monster 42-point performance from Kevin Durant, but Houston hung around until the very end despite trailing by as many as 18 points in the second half.

Early on, however, it was about Beverley vs. Westbrook.

The two went at it from the game’s opening possession, with Beverley amped up beyond belief to prove … what, exactly? It’s understandable that Westbrook would have an ax to grind, but the only explanation for Beverley bringing it like that would be an attempt at intimidation.

It didn’t work, as Westbrook was more than ready for the challenge. Beverley had his moments defensively, but Westbrook largely torched him when the opportunity presented itself. He finished with 24 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals, while playing a physical game that Beverley invited.

There were several minor incidents between the two all game long, but things were especially heated in the opening minutes, and they came to a head midway through the first quarter when Beverley briefly grabbed Westbrook after he had slowed up and was calling a timeout. It was almost an exact replica of the play where Westbrook was injured in the playoffs last season, and it occurred at almost precisely the same spot on the floor.

Westbrook rightfully lost it for a moment, which was likely Beverley’s intention. And that wasn’t the only bit of chippiness we saw.

OKC’s Reggie Jackson pulled the same stunt against James Harden later, and Harden’s reaction seemed to indicate that he wanted no part of the extracurricular nonsense. But he couldn’t escape it, and was the victim of a flagrant foul from Steven Adams later on a forearm to the chin.

Durant usually doesn’t engage in these things, but he apparently has issues with Francisco Garcia, who had a couple of big games against the Thunder in last year’s playoff series. Durant threw a forearm to Garcia that caught him in the chin, but received nothing more than a technical foul for his actions.

There’s bad blood here, and that’s going to make the next time these two teams meet on April 4 a game that’s a must-watch. But the Rockets will need to corral Beverley, and focus more on slowing Durant in the future, who was simply masterful in lighting up the Rockets in this one.

Latest Posts
  1. Sixers’ Joel Embiid throws down between-the-legs dunk in warmups, remains sidelined

    Mar 6, 2015, 9:30 PM EST

    Indiana Pacers v Philadelphia 76ers Getty Images

    Sixers remain uninterested in getting their most talented players on the floor.

  2. Jeanie Buss promises ‘changes’ if Lakers aren’t contenders again soon

    Mar 6, 2015, 8:30 PM EST

    Jeanie Buss

    Lakers are desperately trying to get back to the level of title contenders.

  3. Report: Marc Gasol has already ruled out joining Knicks in free agency

    Mar 6, 2015, 7:30 PM EST

    Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    Gasol will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, but is more than likely to remain with the Grizzlies.

  4. Kendrick Perkins ready to play enforcer for LeBron James. He’s looking at you, Jonas Valanciunas.

    Mar 6, 2015, 4:50 PM EST

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptm2n2zjzda4nzewmdi2odvizmm0mdc3nzjkyzfjogi1 AP

    It’s starting to feel like the playoffs are coming, play is getting chippy.

  5. Royce White says he’s not done playing basketball

    Mar 6, 2015, 3:12 PM EST

    Royce White AP

    It would be a long road back for White, but there is a road.

  6. Kyle Lowry returning from injuries after ‘trash’ self-assessment

    Mar 6, 2015, 2:37 PM EST

    The Toronto Raptors took on the Golden State Warriors at the ACC Getty Images

    Raptors need their All-Star point guard to get on track

  7. Wesley Matthews’ injury will test Trail Blazers’ spacing

    Mar 6, 2015, 10:34 AM EST

    Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Robin Lopez, Nicolas Batum AP

    Portland can overcome loss of shooting guard, but it won’t be easy

  8. Larry Bird talks trash about Dominique Wilkins’ statue

    Mar 6, 2015, 9:07 AM EST

    Dominique Wilkins Statue Unveiling Ceremony Getty Images

    Former Celtics star continues what he began Wilkins’ rookie year

Featured video

Is Derrick Rose the next Penny Hardaway?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. R. Westbrook (8957)
  2. K. Durant (7999)
  3. D. Rose (6782)
  4. A. Davis (6691)
  5. K. Lowry (6679)
  1. D. Howard (6630)
  2. P. George (6401)
  3. D. Cousins (6219)
  4. J. Butler (5869)
  5. L. James (5846)