OKLAHOMA CITY — Every NBA game has a charge, and only occasionally does that charge have anything to do with basketball. Matchups can be immaterial. Strategy can come secondary. The NBA is above all else a business, and theater above all beyond that—a hierarchy brought into stark relief by Kevin Durant’s long-awaited return to Oklahoma City on Saturday night.
“The pregame festivities,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “felt like a Finals game.”
After the game, a victorious Green emerged from the locker room wearing a cupcake t-shirt, newly acquired. “Oh, they made ‘em here,” Green said of his wardrobe addition. “Somebody out there blessed me with one.” Then came Curry, wearing another. According to Curry, he scored one of the shirts by bartering off some Warriors warm-up gear to Thunder fans behind the bench. “It was a fair trade,” Curry said. Such are the spoils of winning. Golden State can move on to the next thing smiling, with Durant now an essential Warrior and the title within their reach. Chant away. A team this versatile, this overwhelming, this incontestably potent—they get to have their cake and eat it, too.