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Thunder basketball: Blazers, Warriors battling for title of 'Best OKC rival'

by Erik Horne Published: February 12, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, right, reaches in on Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, right, reaches in on Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

After dropping 36 points in a win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, Kevin Durant says he doesn't like the Blazers. The feeling is mutual.

The chippy win tied the season series at 2-2, but Durant was still seething a little after the victory.

“We respect this team, they respect us,” Durant told reporters. “But we don't like them and they don't like us. That's point-blank.”

LaMarcus Aldridge of the Trail Blazers echoed that when told of what Durant said:

“We don’t care to like them," said Aldridge. "We’re not trying to make friends out there. We’re trying to win games.”

It seems as if the Thunder is one-half of at least two must-see playoff matchups in the Western Conference.

1. Thunder vs. Trail Blazers
2. Thunder vs. Warriors

If the playoffs started today, the Thunder would be the No. 1 seed in the West and would not meet the Blazers or Warriors until the Western Conference finals (the Blazers would be a 3 seed and the Warriors a 6, who would coincidentally meet in the first round).

Besides an NBA Finals appearance against the Miami Heat, would there be a more compelling series in the league than Thunder-Blazers or Thunder-Warriors? In the seven games the Thunder has played against the Warriors and Blazers combined this season, OKC is 4-3. Each game has been decided by an average of less than four points.

Durant and Aldridge opened up the door for an awesome rivalry for years to come, but Golden State has had the most heart-stopping games with the Thunder this season. Reggie Jackson told our Darnell Anthony in November to just skip the 82 games and give the people what they want:

Jackson on what a playoff series with the Warriors would look like: “Probably look like this. I want to see it. Like I said, let’s just move past it. Let’s just go ahead and erase the 82 and go ahead and play them. It’ll be fun.”


Why can't the Thunder have two rivals - one it's peaceful counterpart in back-and-forth shootouts (Golden State) and the other its blow-for-blow nemesis (Portland)?

As our Anthony Slater said in his post-game blog: "I wouldn't mind six or seven of these (games) come late May."

Slater was talking about Thunder-Blazers, but Thunder-Warriors would be just as nice.

Editors note: This article has been corrected to reflect accurate playoff seeding as of Feb. 12.

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