Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 12/30/11

The Thunder are off to a hot start in 2011.  They’ve begun the season 4-0, already proving they can win close games down the stretch on multiple occasions.  In a Western Conference that features a weakened Lakers team, an aging defending champion that lost several role players, and an overhauled Clippers team that could take a season to gel, the Thunder have a chance to make a deep playoff run.  Seemingly the only thing that can stop Oklahoma City is a rift between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.  Since the two have already needed to be separated on the bench, the situation will be one worth monitoring going forward.

The always outspoken Stan Van Gundy has a solution that could help the Thunder get past the dispute between their two superstars.

“When you’re together as much as we are in very competitive situations, you’re going to have those conflicts,” Van Gundy said according to The Oklahoman. “You’re going to have player-coach conflicts and player-player conflicts. You know, you just are. Because everybody is competitive, everybody wants to win, everybody wants to do well and a lot of times you see situations differently.

“I think it’s very serious, and I think the only thing they can do is split those two guys up. And I think they need to get them a long way away, I think here to Florida, to diffuse that problem; Kevin Durant here.”

I bet you would enjoy that, Stan.  That way Dwight Howard would stay and everyone lives happily ever after. Unfortunately for Orlando, the Thunder are going to be just fine.  Westbrook and Durant will likely realize the potential of this year’s squad and learn to coexist — even if they don’t like each other.  Van Gundy shouldn’t need a psychology professor to tell him that.

Chest bump to Ball Don’t Lie for the story.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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