It had been a frustrating Wednesday night for Kevin Durant. He’d watched his Oklahoma City Thunder — once again perched atop the Western Conference and boasting the NBA’s best record, after the Denver Nuggets snapped the Los Angeles Clippers’ 17-game winning streak on Tuesday — struggle to contain a Brooklyn Nets squad that had thrown up a 2-for-20, five-point quarter in its last outing, with a combination of disinterested OKC defense and finally-alive Brooklyn offense putting the Thunder in a 23-point first-half hole despite his own 6-for-7 start.
Then, after the Thunder finally woke up in the third quarter, putting on the clamps and kicking its own offense into gear long enough to get all the way back to an 85-all tie with just over seven minutes left, he watched a black-and-white parade to the free-throw line. OKC was called for fouls on six of Brooklyn’s next 12 possessions, translating into 11 points in 4 1/2 minutes that, combined with OKC’s own offensive disintegration — they shot 2 for 8 with three turnovers during that same stretch — all but ended any hope of a comeback, sealing a bad loss at home, where the Thunder has been dominant this year.
After Thunder center Kendrick Perkins received an offensive foul for an illegal screen with 1:57 left in the game and OKC down 14, Durant couldn’t take it anymore, chewing out referee Dan Crawford for what he believed was a bad call. Crawford T’d Durant up, but that didn’t stop the heated 24-year-old from spitting venom, so Crawford hit redial and rang KD up for the second time, triggering an automatic ejection — the first of the Thunder star’s five-year, 454-game (regular-season and postseason combined) NBA career — and sending him to the showers before the final buzzer of the Nets’ impressive 110-93 win.
After the game, Durant discussed his rare outburst with reporters, including Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:
“I said it was a bad call,” Durant said when asked what he said to get tossed. “They got a quick trigger now on techs.”
Maybe, KD, but that’s not all you said — as you can probably tell based on the judicious blurring in the clip above, thanks to our friends at the Yahoo! Sports Minute, Durant responded to getting tossed in not-safe-for-work fashion. I’m no lip-reader, but Durant appeared to say something along the lines of “Duck shoe,” “Zuck flu” or perhaps “Puck stew,” which sounds like the kind of thing the bosses here at Y! could really get behind. Then again, the apparent F-bomb came after Durant had already picked up his fourth and fifth technical fouls of the season in just his 31st appearance — as many as he had while playing in all 66 games of the lockout shortened 2011-12 campaign, and more than he’d received in any of his first four years in the league — so perhaps it was an unjust reaction that led the Thunder star to work blue.
Regardless of what Durant actually said to earn his techs, it’s clear that he’d worked himself into quite a lather, and there was plenty of cause for distemper on a night spent largely dealing with the active defense of Nets forward Gerald Wallace — which he did quite well, finishing with 27 points on 11 for 17 shooting, but also turning the ball over five times — and watching Nets stars Joe Johnson (33 points on 11 for 19 shooting), Brook Lopez (25 points on 11 for 17 shooting) and Deron Williams (19 points, 13 assists, five steals, just two turnovers) find the sort of offensive rhythm that paced Brooklyn to an 11-4 start to the season.
“I think I’m allowed to be frustrated, especially in this league [that's] full of ups and downs,” Durant told reporters. “Players are allowed to be frustrated. It is what it is. [I'll] move on from it.”
According to Jeff Latzke of The Associated Press, Durant “said it wasn’t a disparity in foul calls or any cumulative complaint about the officiating” that got him in such a state. You’d hope that’s right, because if we’re being truthful, as Royce Young was at Daily Thunder, the glaring foul disparity in the Nets’ favor — 23 personal fouls called against OKC compared with 13 for Brooklyn, 29 Nets free throws against 17 for the Thunder, and a big 21-6 edge in free-throw attempts in the final quarter — was the result of (gasp!) actually committing fouls:
Bad fouls put Brooklyn in the bonus. And bad fouls helped the Nets go on an 10-1 run. Of the 10 points, eight came at the foul line. The Nets shot 21 free throws in the fourth with 12 of the Thunder’s 23 fouls getting called in the last 12 minutes. [...]
The officiating surely didn’t help, especially as the Nets put the Thunder away mostly at the foul line, but it was the poor execution offensively, the sloppy defense and the stupid mistakes that did OKC in. Once the game got tied, the Thunder got stupid.
And once the game got out of reach, their leader got bleepin’ angry. Chalk up another win for the “KD Is Not Nice” campaign.