NBA playoffs: Clippers’ Russell Westbrook denies ‘beef’ with Suns’ Kevin Durant

‘There’s no beef’: Clippers’ Russell Westbrook denies any friction with Suns’ Kevin Durant as ex-teammates are set to meet in first-round playoff series… seven years after their dramatic split in Oklahoma City

  • Russell Westbrook says he has no animosity towards ex-teammate Kevin Durant
  • Westbrook’s Clippers and Durant’s Suns are set to meet in a first-round series 
  • DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news

Whatever animosity was created by Kevin Durant’s decision to abandon Russell Westbrook and Oklahoma City for Golden State in 2016 appears to be a forgotten memory as the two prepare to square off in the first-round of the NBA playoffs.

‘I think people still think there’s some beef or something. There’s no beef,’ Westbrook, the Los Angeles Clippers guard, told reporters about Durant, the Phoenix Suns forward, ahead of Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Sunday. ‘I got nothing but respect for him and things he’s done with his career.’

The two have known each other nearly two decades. Durant and Westbrook were drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics in 2007 and 2008, respectively, before the team fled to Oklahoma City in 2008 and become the Thunder. Almost immediately, they became one of the NBA’s most formidable duos, reaching the NBA Finals in 2012 before Durant won an MVP in 2013-14.

But after the Thunder blew a 3-1 lead to the Warriors in the 2016 Western Conference Finals, Durant jumped ship, signing a two-year, $54.3 million deal with Golden State and sparking rumors of friction between himself and Westbrook.

Now, though, Westbrook insists there’s no friction, and even said he’s ‘happy to see’ Durant back from his recent ankle injury ahead of the first-round matchup.

Russell Westbrook

Kevin Durant

The Clippers’ Russell Westbrook (left) says he has no ‘beef’ with the Suns’ Kevin Durant (right)

Durant (left) and Westbrook (right) reached the 2012 NBA Finals together in Oklahoma City

Durant (left) and Westbrook (right) reached the 2012 NBA Finals together in Oklahoma City

The two have played each other 11 times since Durant left Oklahoma City, with Westbrook’s teams winning six of those regular-season meetings, including a 2017 game in which the two could be seen jawing at each other. 

However, both have denied the feud for years in stark contrast to various rumors and reports.  

Westbrook hasn’t exactly been the Art Garfunkel to Durant’s Paul Simon since their 2016 split. The former UCLA guard went on to win the 2017 MVP in his first season without Durant, but his status as one of the NBA’s best guards has suffered over stints with the Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Lakers.

It was the Lakers who traded Westbrook at the deadline to the Utah Jazz, who reached a buyout agreement with the nine-time All-Star, who promptly returned to Los Angeles on a one-year deal with the Clippers.

Durant, meanwhile, won two titles with the Warriors before signing a free agent deal with the Brooklyn Nets, who traded him to Phoenix at the deadline. He’s played in only eight games with the Suns due to his ankle injury, but he has looked strong, making 53.7 percent of his 3-point attempts and averaging 26 points a night.

The Clippers beat the Suns on Sunday to clinch the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference playoffs — and a first-round matchup with Phoenix.

Unfortunately for LA, another of Westbrook’s former Thunder teammates will not be healthy enough for Game 1 on Sunday.

Clippers All-Star Paul George will miss at least the beginning of the series as he recovers from the knee injury he suffered last month.

The 32-year-old sprained his knee in Oklahoma City on March 21 – two days after Durant sprained his ankle in the same building.

But while Durant has returned from his injury, George can only hope to do so. On Sunday, he tweeted: ‘I’ma give it every chance I got.’

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant of the Seattle SuperSonics pose for a portrait back stage during the 2008 NBA Draft

Russell Westbrook guards Kevin Durant during USAB Minicamp Practice at Mendenhall Center on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas

Two of the last players drafted by the Sonics, Durant and Westbrook won an Olympic gold medal together with Team USA at the 2012 London Games

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Sports Event Casino Handicap Description

PK0It means not giving in to each other, and winning 1 point wins all.
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3-503/3.5When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 4 points.
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Sports Event Casino Handicap Description

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