Tonight, the Oklahoma City Thunder are traveling to Golden State to play the Warriors. The Thunder are 4-0 while the Warriors are 3-1, but this is still an early November game, the beginning of a marathon NBA season. None of this changes the fact that this is the most important gamein Oklahoma City Thunder history.

Oklahoma City Thunder history

The key adversary in their game tonight is Kevin Durant. Prior to this season, Durant was on the roster for every game the Oklahoma City Thunder had ever played. The team, formally the Seattle Sonics, drafted Durant in 2007 and he played the 2007-08 season in Seattle before making the move to Oklahoma City.

Since then, Durant was joined by James Harden and Russell Westbrook, among others, and Oklahoma City became the model small market franchise in the NBA. They found success off and on the court. Durant won the 2014 MVP Award and the team made a run to the 2012 NBA Finals where they succumbed to the Miami Heat, granting LeBron James his first NBA championship.

This past July, everything for the Thunderchanged.

Why this game matters

So now Durant is on the Warriors. His relationship with Westbrook, which went from frosty to friendly is back to being extremely frosty, with the two reportedly have yet to speak to each other in person since Durant bolted.This feeds into the popular storyline: this game is important because it's Westbrook's chance to exact revenge.

In a sense this is true, even if Westbrook won't cop to it. Westbrook has been playing out of his mind since the start of the season, leading the Thunder to their undefeated start and earning MVP praise. Perhaps he wants to show Durant what a mistake he made.

For Oklahoma City, it's deeper than that.

Even in times of injury, Durant was always the leading presence in Oklahoma City, the only one they had ever known. Westbrook will play great again tonight, and he's the undisputed leader of the team, but this game goes beyond him.

This game is the chance for the Thunder to show they are a franchise, bigger than any one player and determined to keep roaring for years to come.

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