All of a sudden, Kevin Durant can’t stop getting ejected from NBA games. The formerly mild-mannered Warriors forward was tossed for the third time this season after a confrontation Monday with Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins.
Durant entered this season with two ejections in 810 career games (per Anthony Slater of the San Jose Mercury News), but this has apparently become the new normal for the reigning NBA Finals MVP, who was also ordered to leave Friday’s Golden State game after hurling some choice words at the referees.
During the Warriors’ 125-1115 win Monday over the Pelicans, Durant and Cousins had been jawing at each other throughout the night, but matters got more tense late in the fourth quarter. Cousins appeared to come close to head-butting Durant, who got into his antagonist’s face at the next dead ball. Even after both were assessed their second technical fouls of the game and ejected, they continued to engage in verbal hostilities and had to be pulled apart.
Durant’s three ejections leads the NBA; Cousins is the only other player thus far with as many as two (per ESPN). Apart from Golden State, New Orleans is the only team with as many as three combined ejections, with Anthony Davis accounting for the other one; Washington is the only other team with more than one — Markieff Morris and Bradley Beal have one each.
Beal’s ejection came in an October game against the Warriors in which Golden State’s Draymond Green also was tossed. All told, the Warriors have accounted for six ejections this season, including one in each of their past three games, due to Shaun Livingston being thrown out of Sunday’s win over the Heat for bumping heads with referee Courtney Kirkland while arguing a non-call. The NBA gave Livingston a one-game suspension Monday, and it removed Kirkland from the officiating rotation for a week.
Steph Curry accounted for Golden State’s other ejection when he was tossed for throwing his mouthpiece in the direction of an official during a game in October. Durant argued against that decision and was also ejected.
“Every time I get ejected, I make sure it’s late in the game,” Durant said with a smile Monday after his team’s win. “I’m not messing up like that in the first or second quarter, I make sure it’s late in the game if I want to do something, but I’ve got to be more focused than that, I’ve got to be more poised, I can’t let anybody take me off my game.
“I’ve been in the league for too long, especially with somebody like Cousins, we know that he’s feisty, we know that he’s emotional. We know that he plays that way, so I can’t get involved with that — that’s just who he is, I’ve got to be me.”
Cousins now leads the NBA with seven technical fouls; Green is in second with six. Players who collect 16 technical fouls in a season that are classified as unsportsmanlike receive an automatic one-game suspension. Cousins has led the NBA in technical fouls in each of the past two seasons and four of the past six.
(H/T SB Nation)
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