3 min read

Thursday Bolts – 2.9.17

Thursday Bolts – 2.9.17

Anthony Slater of the Mercury News: “Then the rest of the country rightly wonders: How can

a fanbase be so venomous towards a man making a personal employment choice after delivering so much, so gracefully to a region for eight years? The viciousness was silly. But the heartbreak was real and the sting will never leave. To so many in the state, Kevin Durant wasn’t just an athlete. He was a symbol. This wasn’t Shaq bolting from Orlando. This was the Liberty Bell leaving Philadelphia. To understand the emotional storm Durant is walking into on Saturday night – back in Oklahoma City facing Thunder fans for the first time – you must understand the state’s history and where he fits into it.”

Kelly Dwyer of BDL dropping the hammer: “The game’s the thing, not the drama, and Durant has heretofore been his absolute best when paired up against his ex-team, and ex-teammate. Saturday’s pairing will, for the first time, take place in Oklahoma City – the town whose basketball team, and nothing else, Durant skipped out on last July. The fans will boo him for that much, and Russell Westbrook will compete because this is who Russell Westbrook is – Returning Durant, or Rebuilding Dallas, he’s bringing it. If Kevin Durant wants to be closer with Russell Westbrook, then the task is his to formulate. All the media has done is write down what those two have, and haven’t, said.”

LeBron might not play tonight.

Kurt Helin of PBT: “To be fair, Durant has never said anything negative about the Thunder, and Westbrook has said he’s not mad about Durant’s decision. If you think the word “feud” to describe where they are at in their relationship is too strong, okay, but certainly Westbrook has been chilly when the topic comes up. There certainly seems to be something there. Saturday night, Thunder fans are going to be a lot more than chilly every time KD touches the ball. They feel betrayed, and they are going to let Durant know about it.”

James Herbert of CBSSports.com: “All of this is to say that, yes, Durant’s example is valid — he didn’t actually diss OKC, but Westbrook (and, surely, a significant amount of Thunder fans) were under the impression that he did. That doesn’t mean, however, that the rift is entirely media-created. Westbrook took a secret, subtle, tasty shot at Durant on the Fourth of July, and his near-silence on the matter since then speaks volumes. The media has amplified the disconnect between the two, sure, but it’s clear they’re not exactly on great terms.”

Scott Cacciola of the NY Times: “Kevin Durant is set to make his return to Oklahoma City this weekend, when the Warriors play the Thunder on Saturday night. Vestiges of Durant remain here in Durant, most notably tucked among bins of merchandise at Hibbett Sports on West Main Street. Late last month, on a rack near the cash register marked “Clearance: Up to 50% off,” six Durant T-shirts from his days with the Thunder were priced to sell at $4.97 apiece. They were not exactly flying out the door. Natalie Robertson, an assistant manager at the store, said some people had bought Durant T-shirts around the holidays as gag gifts. At least one patron, she said, had announced his intention to use one as kindling for a bonfire, which was perhaps an unorthodox form of therapy.”

Shaun Powell of NBA.com: “The good and friendly people of OKC will applaud Durant and rightly so; he gave them plenty to cheer about for several years and helped put the town on the basketball map. And that’s not to mention his good deeds off the court and in the community, either. He’s not exactly going before Philadelphia fans. As for the game, expect Russell Westbrook to play turbo-charged as usual, and then once again behave like a spoiled teenager by refusing to acknowledge Durant afterward.”