Kevin Durant‘s poor temper could prove costly for the Warriors down the stretch of the playoffs, with the two-time NBA Finals MVP already accruing two technical fouls in the first game of the postseason, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports writes.
According to NBA rules, a player will receive a one-game suspension if he reaches seven technical fouls during the playoffs. Durant was one of the league’s leaders with 15 techs during the regular season, often times expressing his displeasure with missed calls or getting into it with opposing players. In Game 1 on Saturday, it was Clippers guard Patrick Beverley who got in Durant’s head, leading to both players being ejected.
“Oh, sure, we took the bait,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Durant’s ejection, according to Haynes. “[Kevin] took the bait. That’s two technicals. You get seven technicals, your seventh one is a suspension in the playoffs. Whether you play four playoff games or 24, seven is the magic number. He’s got four to play with after one game. But that’s what Beverley does. We talked about it for the last couple days. He’s a hell of a defender. He plays hard. Got a lot of respect for him.”
The Warriors are seeking their fourth championship in five years and need Durant’s production, sporting an elite starting lineup that consists of him, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins. The team took a 121-104 victory in Game 1 despite Durant being ejected, though it’s imperative he maintains his composure as the team looks to make a deep playoff run.
“I’ve been playing against Pat Beverley since he was at Arkansas, so I kind of know what he brings,” Durant said. “He’s a Chicago kid, grew up and played in the Chicago area, so those dudes play with a different type of grit, so I can appreciate that about Pat. You know what he’s going to bring to the table, just physicality, the mucking up the game a little bit with his physicality, his talking, everything. That’s what he brings to each team he plays on. That’s his identity, and they support him with the Clippers. For me, I know that coming into the series. I thought it was fun tonight.”
There’s more out of the Pacific Division tonight:
- Jason Jones of The Athletic examines how new head coach Luke Walton could make the Kings a better team. Walton, who was hired by the team one day after mutually agreeing to leave the Lakers, holds a strong record with several NBA players and officials. He was an assistant on the Warriors’ 2015 championship team, proving his worth as a coach under Steve Kerr and registering interest from multiple teams around the league at the time — including the Kings.
- Clippers coach Doc Rivers had a problem with Patrick Beverley‘s play earlier in the season, eventually leading to a positive turning point for the team, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times wrote. “Early in the year we struggled with Pat,” coach Doc Rivers said last week, “because he was struggling buying in.” Beverley has since bought in, leading the Clippers at the point guard position and helping the team obtain a 48-34 record on the season.
- The Kings’ sudden decision to fire head coach Dave Joerger caught him by surprise, agent Warren LeGarie told Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “Obviously, it’s a great disappointment,” LeGarie said as part of a larger statement. “Dave thought, in light of the youth of the team and other challenges, he did a good job, certainly one that other people have recognized around the league. And, more importantly, exceeded expectations.” Joerger spent full three seasons with Sacramento as coach before being dismissed.