Kevin Durant.

Kevin Durant responds to Mark Cuban's interesting pre-game quotes

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Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant has hit back at Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban after comments he made about Russell Westbrook before the Thunder's 118-104 win over the Mavs which secured their place in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Cuban was speaking to reporters before a critical game five for the Mavericks at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, with his team down 3-1 in the series and appeared to take a swipe at Westbrook.

The outspoken Cuban referred to Durant as the "one superstar" on the Thunder team and when asked about Westbrook, he replied: "I think he's an All-Star but not a superstar.

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"Russell's certainly an All-Star, but I consider Durant a superstar."

The remark didn't have the desired effect as Westbrook - who led the league with 18 triple-doubles - was one assist shy of his first playoff triple-double this year dropping 36 points, 9 assists, and 12 rebounds.

The Mavericks and head coach Rick Carlisle, already facing an elimination game, didn't need the encounter to be made any more difficult by comments from their owner which potentially motivated one of the league's most explosive players.

In the Thunder's post-game press conference, Westbrook was asked what he made of Cuban's comments, but Durant decided to answer the question on his behalf with a firm response for Cuban.

Dallas Mavericks v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Five

"He's an idiot," Durant said of Cuban. "He's an idiot. All right. That's what we've got to say about that. He's an idiot. Next question."

Exactly what prompted Cuban to make the comments are unclear but it was certainly one of the main talking points after OKC had closed the series out 4-1 and it appeared that members of the Mavericks were not on the same page as their owner in this instance.

"I'd take him," Nowitzki said about Westbrook. "I'd definitely take him." 

Dallas Mavericks v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Five

Carlisle followed that up by showering praise on the point guard and acknowledging the level he has been playing at throughout the campaign.

"I thought Westbrook played beautiful basketball this year," he said. "I don't think there were many people in the basketball world who thought he'd be able to turn his game into both a scoring and distributing game, but he led the league in triple-doubles.

"That's a great credit to him, and I think his coach Billy Donovan probably had some influence there, too. But he was special to watch all year."

Westbrook, a five-time All-Star, averaged 23.5 points, 10.4 assists, and 7.8 rebounds this term and his 18 triple-doubles were the most by any player in a season since Magic Johnson. 

The Thunder's star duo have bigger things to worry about now as they have set up a round two series with the San Antonio Spurs that will tip-off on Saturday.

The two teams split their regular season series at two games apiece and will both experience a much tougher test on the court than they did in their opening rounds. 

Dallas Mavericks
Southwest Division
Western Conference
Oklahoma City Thunder
Northwest Division
Russell Westbrook
Kevin Durant

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