Did Kendrick Lamar take shot at Kevin Durant on latest single?

Did Kendrick Lamar take shot at Kevin Durant on latest single?

Hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar's new album "The Heart Part 4" drops on April 7, but his lyrics are already making waves.

Lamar, who hails from Compton, California, appears to take a shot at Kevin Durant for his decision to leave the Thunder and join the Warriors this past offseason in free agency.

From the single titled "IV":

     Tables turned, lessons learned, my best look
     You jumped sides on me, now you 'bout to meet Westbrook
     Go celebrate with your team and let victory vouch you
     Just know the next game played, I might slap the s--- out you
     Technical foul, I'm flagrant, I'm foul
     They throwin' me out, you throw in the towel

If the Warriors face the Thunder again this season, it will be in a playoff series. Golden State swept Oklahoma City 4-0 during the regular season, winning 122-96 on Nov. 3, 121-100 on Jan. 18, 130-114 on Feb. 11, and 111-95 on March 20

Their average margin of victory was just under 20.

NBA Gameday: Without Durant, Warriors still favored at OKC

NBA Gameday: Without Durant, Warriors still favored at OKC

The Warriors make their second trip of the season to Oklahoma City, and though once again there will be hatred in the air, the storyline this time will be very different.

Whereas that Feb. 11 game featured the return of Kevin Durant to the city he represented for eight years, the matchup Monday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena pits reigning MVP Stephen Curry against rampaging MVP candidate Russell Westbrook.

Though Durant is injured and unavailable, the animosity is starting to feel personal between these teams, and certainly between some of the individuals.

The Warriors (55-14) are trying to win four straight for the first time this month, while OKC (40-29) has won five in a row, the longest active streak in the NBA.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 1

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Klay Thompson vs. Russell Westbrook. It’s a fairly simple equation to beating the Thunder, and it starts with limiting the damage done by Westbrook. OKC is 12-23 when he does not post a triple-double. The problem, however, is that he has 34. The Warriors will alternate defenders on Westbrook -- it takes a team to have any hope of containing him -- but Thompson, four inches taller, will get the bulk of the work.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain, tibial bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Thunder: No injuries listed.

LAST 10

Warriors: 5-5. Thunder: 6-4.

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won the first three meetings this season, the last six in the regular season and nine of the last 10. The teams met in the 2016 Western Conference Finals, won by the Warriors in seven games.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE 3-BALL GAME: Behind Klay Thompson and Curry, the Warriors are one of best, ranking third in shooting percentage (38.1) beyond the arc. The Thunder (33.0) are among the worst, ranking 28th. The Warriors will work to prevent penetration -- OKC leads the league in paint points -- and force jump shots.

THE GLASS WAR: OKC is a proficient rebounding team, particularly good on the offensive glass. With the Thunder ranking fifth in second-chance points, the Warriors will have to emphasize such fundamentals as blocking out -- something they sometimes neglect.

THE TURNOVER BATTLE: Though the Warriors are susceptible to turnovers, they generally have gotten better in recent months. OKC, however, is in an entirely different league, ranking 27th in assist-to-turnover ratio. The only teams worse are the Suns, Nets and Lakers. This is a formula that could allow the Warriors to trigger their transition offense.

Legitimate tests await Warriors in Oklahoma City, Dallas

Legitimate tests await Warriors in Oklahoma City, Dallas

The Warriors left town Sunday grateful they had rediscovered the impact and importance of defense.

Maybe they’re back to being the team favored to win the NBA Finals. Maybe.

There can be no certainty before Monday night, when the Warriors enter the ear-splitting cave called Chesapeake Energy Arena to face the Oklahoma City Thunder.

With the exception of the opening minutes of their rout of the Bucks on Saturday night, the Warriors over the last three games played nine impressive quarters during which their defense was by turns effective to devastating.

“That’s kind of what we’ve been talking about this entire time,” Draymond Green said. “We have to get into a groove defensively and everything else will take care of itself after that.”

Those wins, however, were against the 76ers, the Magic and the Bucks. Philadelphia and Orlando are light years away from contending in the Eastern Conference, and Milwaukee is fighting like hell in hopes of simply getting in.

The Sixers gave the Warriors fits for three quarters, taking a 12-point lead into the fourth before Green whacked his teammates awake with his defense and led them to the comeback victory.

Orlando is abominable, surrendering 21 turnovers -- for 36 points -- that were as much about its sloppiness than it was the Warriors defense.

The Bucks were on the second night of a back-to-back, following an emotionally charged victory over the Lakers the previous night in Los Angeles.

These victories were somewhat preordained and may be fool’s gold. Indeed, whether the Warriors have completed the mental and physical adjustments required to beat quality teams without Kevin Durant remains uncertain.

The Warriors often talk about how “defense travels.” Neither the defense nor the offense went with them on their last road trip, the most treacherous of the season. If they bring it this time, they’ll be fine against Russell Westbrook and Co., as well as against the Mavericks on Tuesday night in Dallas.

“I’m actually going to show them a map, show them how close it is from Oklahoma City to Dallas, so we shouldn’t be intimidated by the geography,” Kerr said, referring to the roughly 205-mile distance.

Fatigue, as well as the time needed to absorb the jolt of losing Durant, surely played a factor in the poor performances earlier this month. The fatigue surely faded with a week at home, playing every other day. And much of the bold self-assurance lost with Durant’s absence can be regained if Curry starts cooking, as he was Saturday.

Having Durant with them on the road also should provide an emotional lift.

That’s the intrigue of these next two days, for they are consequential enough, particularly the game against the Thunder, to tell us where the Warriors stand as they enter the final 22 days of the regular season.

At the point of the season when most every team is scrambling, OKC’s five-game win streak is the longest currently active. Westbrook is on a mission and he’ll want to make a statement against the team he considers his primary nemesis.

The Warriors, based on their work last week, believe they’ll be ready.

“It’s a direct reflection of our defense,” Curry said.

“We’re getting into the open court a lot more,” he added. “The morale is better when you’re not taking the ball out of the basket every possession. For the most part, we’ve done a good job of staying away from fouling too much so we can keep the pace of the game up. We’re being a lot smarter with the ball and taking care of it when we do have half-court opportunities to find an open guy, keep the ball moving, create flow. And we obviously have to knock down open shots when we get them.”

Sounds good. Worked well, too. But this Warriors recovery won’t feel complete unless the defense make trip to Oklahoma and Texas.