The Oklahoma City Thunder host the Golden State Warriors tonight in what should be another dramatic contest between two Western Conference foes.
After a contentious first meeting in Oklahoma City between the two clubs, sparked by the drama of Kevin Durant returning to the city in which he played nine seasons, the Thunder will look to avoid a season sweep against the Warriors, who have gotten the best of them three times this year.
As with all big-time meetings between contending teams, it’s fun to take a trip down memory lane.
Let’s go back to 2008 when the two teams met for the first time. The Warriors improved to 6-15 on the year, taking down the 2-20 Thunder (during their first year in Oklahoma City) by the score of 112-102 in that contest. Oh, how times have changed.
As you might imagine, before the Splash Brothers came along for Golden State, the team was constructed quite differently. However, you might notice a few familiar names for Oklahoma City.
Scroll down to find out where each starter is now.
Azubuike played 44 minutes, scoring 14 points on 5-for-15 shooting in the 2008 contest.
That season, the shooting guard posted a career-high 14.4 points per game over 32.1 minutes. However, he played just nine games the season after and missed the entire 2010-2011 season with a devastating knee injury.
He went approximately two-and-a-half years without taking the floor as a result.
After logging three appearances in the 2011-2012 season with a total of 18 minutes on the floor for the Mavericks, he was traded to the Cavaliers during the 2012 NBA Draft, but was waived before the season started.
He has been covering Warriors games as a studio analyst for CSN Bay Area since 2016.
Biedrins, a bruising center at the time, was a dominant force in the paint for the Warriors, posting 17 points along with a game-high 21 rebounds to go along with five assists, three steals and two blocks.
In 2008-2009, he posted 11.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per contest in what was the best season of his 10-year NBA career.
Joining the team as an 18-year-old in 2004-2005, he remained with the organization until the 2013-2014 season, when he played just six games for the Jazz in a limited capacity after being traded in a salary dump by the Warriors.
He would then be waived by Utah and has been out of the league ever since.
Crawford dropped 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting and had six dimes over 39 minutes played. At the time, he was a newly-acquired asset from the Knicks.
The very next season, Crawford suited up for the Hawks, where he played for two years before moving on to the Blazers for a season. He’s now in his fifth season as a member of the Clippers, where he established himself as perhaps the best sixth man in NBA history.
In 1,170 career NBA games, he holds a career average of 15.3 points per contest.
Morrow scored 15 points in 25 minutes.
The 2008-2009 campaign was his rookie season and after spending just one more year in Golden State, he has played for the Nets, Hawks, Mavericks, Pelicans, Thunder and Bulls, where he was traded earlier this season.
In two years with the Warriors, he averaged 11.6 points in 26.0 minutes per game while in three years with the Thunder in recent years, he averaged 7.7 points in 18.5 minutes per contest.
Wright scored 15 points and posted five rebounds in 22 minutes played.
He played in just 39 games that season and missed the entire next year with a shoulder injury.
Unfortunately, the former North Carolina standout has been marred by a number of serious injuries throughout his career and has only eclipsed 50 games played in a season three times in 10 seasons. He has also been a member of six teams in that span.
He is currently a member of the Grizzlies, for whom he is averaging 6.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game in 16 appearances this season.
Durant was absolutely dominant, going 15-for-27 shooting for a game-high 41 points. He also went 6-for-10 from beyond the arc as he had already established himself as an elite scorer in the league.
Since entering the NBA, he has been a bonafide superstar and he spent nine incredible seasons (including an MVP campaign) with the Thunder before jumping ship to join the Warriors, the team that defeated OKC in last year’s Western Conference Finals.
In 700 career NBA games, Durant has averaged 27.2 points per game and will likely go down as one of the most unstoppable scorers in league history at the end of his career.
Through 36 minutes, Green went just 4-of-13 from the field for nine points in the losing effort.
He played 36.8 minutes per game that season and 37.1 minutes per contest the following season for the Thunder, but was surprisingly dealt to the Celtics the following season, where his career took a turn.
After missing the entire 2011-2012 season due to a heart condition, Green has stayed relatively healthy, but has failed to establish himself as a dominant NBA starter, averaging 13.5 points in 31.1 minutes in 704 NBA games for his career.
At this point, Westbrook was a very raw offensive player. Scoring just six points on 3-of-13 shooting, he had eight rebounds and seven assists, but also had six turnovers in the game.
During that year as a rookie, he averaged 15.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists per contest.
Now as one of the few candidates for this year’s MVP award, Westbrook has emerged as the game’s most athletic superstar, averaging an NBA-leading 31.7 points along with 10.5 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game and is looking to become the first player to average a season-long triple-double since Oscar Robertson in 1961-1962.
Wilcox posted 10 points and eight rebounds in the 2008 matchup.
The forward would stay in the league through the 2012-2013 season, but spent most of his career as a reserve, starting 261 of the 628 games that he played in for the Clippers, Thunder, Knicks, Pistons and Celtics.
Wilkins scored 10 points and had four rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes in the game.
The game took place during his fourth and final season with the organization, as he played for four different teams over the next four consecutive seasons before his career was up at age 33.
Times have certainly changed since the 2008 matchup, as both teams went from being general laughingstocks to two of the Western Conference’s powerhouses.