It has taken me a couple days to marinate about what happened Saturday night at the Peake, and after enjoying watching the WWE type atmosphere that it looked like inside, I couldn’t help but feel one big emotion 48 hours later: Sadness.
Sadness about how it all got this point.
It all started when Kevin Durant’s Independence Day decision to bolt for the Bay Area and the already too talented Warriors set the Thunder’s Doomsday Clock in motion.
Luckily, Russell Westbrook jumped in to save the day, agreeing to stay in OKC (for now) and setting that clock back another year.
Durant’s decision shook not just Oklahoma City, but the rest of the league, changing the landscape of the NBA for years to come. KD was well within his rights to jump to the Warriors, but the way he mishandled his departure from the Thunder makes Knicks owner James Dolan look like a PR genius.
Saturday night was OKC fans first chance to show Durant their displeasure in person. And they too were within their rights. Apparently, some of the disdain for Durant (according to his mom) crossed the line, and that’s unfortunate. It’s not totally surprising though, KD looked like Mad Max literally entering a real life “Thunder Dome.”
The creativity of the fans was tremendous. The human cupcake, the signs, the shirts- all great. And the boos and chants were loud and impressive.
So was the Warriors performance. And Durant, again, torched his teammates with a 30-plus points performance. Russ did his best, letting KD know “he was coming.” Andre Roberson got in Durant’s face and didn’t back down.
None of it helped OKC get the win. The Warriors are just too good. This is the team that was already good enough to win another title, adding Durant just makes them nearly invincible.
We all knew it, but the reality has been painful for OKC fans in three games where the Dubs have almost toyed with the Thunder.
Oklahoma City isn’t in the same league as Golden State, and neither is most of the NBA. Maybe Greg Popovich, LeBron, Kyrie or somebody can take them down, but it seems unlikely.
Durant’s decision nearly imploded a franchise. Thunder fans had been used to seeing a serious championship contender for years. Now, its about whether this team makes the postseason, Russ notches another triple double, and possibly wins MVP.
This is the new reality for OKC fans, who now must hope and pray that Westbrook stays past next season.
This whole new situation, with Durant as the villain feeling the vitriol from Thunder fans, is sad really. Better play from the OKC stars in game 6 of the Western Conference Finals probably would’ve prevented all this.
Life isn’t fair. And neither is the way one of the most beloved sports heroes in state history treated his old teammates on the way out the door.
Durant could’ve owned this state, now he’s gotta own the reaction that he mostly created.