If there is a rivalry more emotional than the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers this NBA season, it would be that between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Detroit Pistons. Since nothing is guaranteed in the basketball community, there remains hope that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will face off against teammate turned foe Reggie Jackson in the NBA finals. Inasmuch as the fans anticipate the rematch of LeBron James and Stephen Curry in the hardwood court, wouldn't seeing the Detroit Pistons battle it out against the Oklahoma City Thunder be as exciting?
While Jackson, Durant and Westbrook barely had anything to say to one another since their teamup was broken, it looks like old feelings of disappointment and frustrations cannot be helped. In the 88-82 win of the Detroit Pistons over the Oklahoma City Thunder, emotions overwhelmed the hardwood court as yet another verbal exchange was triggered by the game. Following an overjubilant celebration from Jackson, both Westbrook and Durant called out their former teammate.
"Honestly, I think it's some real [expletive]," said Westbrook of the display of Jackson following the said game. He added, "I don't appreciate it from our team and our organization. I don't like it all. But it is what is. We'll see him down the line. We'll take care of that when we get there."
Jackson is one of the most valuable players in the Detroit Pistons today. Prior to his breakout role in the said team, however, he was a teammate to Durant and Westbrook in the Oklahoma City Thunder from 2011 to 2015. However, his role as a point guard was limited due to his team's decision to prioritize Westbrook in the starting lineup. Jackson was later on sent to the Detroit Pistons via a three-way deal which involved the Utah Jazz. Last year, he was signed to a five-year contract worth $80 million by the Detroit Pistons.
Westbrook further commented on Jackson, "It doesn't matter. Honestly, he wasn't changing nothing for us. Obviously, he didn't want to be here. He's in a better spot. He's not doing too much of a difference, if you ask me."
Meanwhile, Durant also could not help but comment of Jackson's display. He said, "It was bush league, in my opinion. Jumping up and down, running around. I understand you're happy you won the game, but our whole team didn't play. We would've beat the hell out of them if it did."
Durant added, "I wanted to play against Detroit, for sure, but you know, it's Detroit. Who cares about Detroit?" Serge Ibaka and Durant were both absent during the controversial loss.
For their part, the Detroit Pistons fired back at the Oklahoma City Thunder star. Stanley Johnson shared that Durant "disrespected" the team. He also added that he and the Detroit Pistons will be ready to face the 2014 NBA MVP next year.
Johnson said, "If he wanted to have an impact on the game, he should have just played. No one is scared of playing against him on this side of town. Next year we have two games scheduled, and I know, for me, it's circled on my schedule from now on."
He added, "I don't think we're something to play with. I think we can be a playoff team and you gotta respect that. I think by saying that, he disrespected our whole team."