Brooklyn Nets star small forward Kevin Durant was ejected against the Detroit Pistons on October 31 after committing a Flagrant foul type 2 on Kelly Olynyk. Fortunately for the Nets, they still beat the lowly Pistons by a final score of 117-91.
The Pistons game was the first contest Durant got ejected in this season. However, it should have been the second time he was tossed.
Kevin Durant should have been ejected vs. Pacers
Durant threw the ball into the stands versus the Indiana Pacers on October 29. The two-time Finals MVP was assessed a technical foul. However, he should have been ejected.
“In real time, the official that made the call did not think the ball entered the stands with force,” crew chief Sean Wright said after the game. “After seeing the video postgame, we did see that the ball did go into the stands with force, and Kevin Durant should have been ejected.”
A day after the Pacers-Nets game, Durant was fined $25,000 by the NBA. However, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle wasn’t happy Durant stayed in the game.
Rick Carlisle: “I’m not going to share the explanation because I don’t want to embarrass the officials”
During his postgame media session with Pacers reporters after the Nets game, Carlisle basically ripped the officials for not throwing Durant out after the future Hall of Famer threw the ball into the stands.
“I’m not going to share the explanation because I don’t want to embarrass the officials,” Carlisle said. “I don’t want to embarrass the league. I just don’t. These guys are nice guys, and they just made a big error. The league will address it. You don’t want to hear the explanation. At this point, it doesn’t matter because it’s not going to change the outcome, but it’s something that is a significant thing that … it just can’t be messed with.”
Durant finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists in the Nets’ win while shooting 7-of-10 from the field. The Pacers could have possibly won had the officials tossed Durant in the third quarter. It certainly wasn’t a good look for referees Phenizee Ransom, Dedric Taylor, and Sean Wright.
Durant was fined $2,000 for his ejection during the Nets-Pistons game. He lost $27,000 over two games, which is pocket change for the All-Star. Still, Durant needs to keep his composure moving forward since he’s the leader of the Nets. He’s setting a bad example for his teammates if he keeps losing his cool and acting immaturely.
The Nets will go as far as Kevin Durant can lead them
Durant is averaging 27.7 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 5.3 assists while shooting 58.3% from the field, 37.9% from beyond the arc, and 79.5% from the free-throw line through the Nets’ first seven games of the season. Since Kyrie Irving will miss the entire campaign unless he gets the COVID-19 vaccine, Durant and James Harden will have to carry the offensive load every game.
Despite how talented Harden is, the Nets will go as far as Durant can lead them. The one-time MVP is arguably the best scorer in the NBA, but he needs to put his LeBron James hat on and make his teammates better for Brooklyn to win the title. That starts with being a mature leader and not acting out during games.
Durant’s two titles with the Golden State Warriors were reasonably easy since he was playing with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Although he’s playing with Harden, a one-time MVP and three-time scoring champion, KD’s path to a championship this season will be difficult since Irving is out, and there are plenty of contenders in the NBA.
With that said, it will be interesting to see how deep the Nets go in the playoffs this season and if Durant can capture his third championship.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference