Kevin Durant took the court for the Warriors for the first time in more than two weeks on Thursday night. He’s spent most of March on the sidelines recovering from a rib injury. But unfortunately, KD’s return didn’t last as long as he probably hoped it would, as he was ultimately ejected from Golden State’s 116-107 loss to the Bucks before the first half even ended.
KD’s night came to an abrupt halt with 2.4 seconds remaining in the second quarter after he went off on NBA referee Tre Maddox in the middle of a play. The Warriors star was upset about not getting a foul call on a drive to the basket, and he responded to the no-call by getting up in Maddox’s face while the game was still going on. Maddox hit KD with a technical foul as a result of his reaction to the play, and after KD ran towards him and continued yelling at him, Maddox hit him with another tech and sent him to the showers. KD finished the game with 10 points in 17 minutes of action.
After the game, KD was asked about the ejection by reporters, and he downplayed what took place between him and Maddox. "I got fouled and told ‘em how I felt about it, and they kicked me out," KD said. "Pretty simple."
But head referee Bill Kennedy said it wasn’t quite that simple. He suggested KD went over the line by cursing at Maddox repeatedly.
"Mr. Durant was ejected due to the fact of two technical fouls," Kennedy said. "The first technical foul was issued for vulgarity. After the first technical foul was issued, the official tried to walk away, started to walk away and the vulgarity escalated and then he was assessed a second technical foul for the escalation of the vulgarity, resulting in an ejection."
KD now has 14 technical fouls on the season, which puts him just two away from earning himself an automatic one-game suspension. He has also been thrown out of five games this year.
That might be cause for concern for some Warriors fans since Golden State is already playing without Steph Curry and Klay Thompson due to injuries. They can’t afford to have a guy like KD getting ejected repeatedly when they’re shorthanded. But KD said fans shouldn’t worry about the recent trend of him getting ejected from games.
"It was a tech," he said. "I got thrown out of the basketball game. I wish I didn't. I wanted to play. I'm sorry. Well, I'm not sorry, but I wish I could finish the game...Definitely wanted to finish the game. That's why I'm more so upset about—that I didn't finish the game I wanted to play after being out a couple of weeks. Like I said, I'll be there tomorrow at practice and be ready to do my job, which is to work hard and get better. That's the good thing about it, I can move past it when I wake up."
KD also scoffed at the idea of him not being able to control himself once the NBA Playoffs come around.
"C’mon, man, you know me better than that," he told one reporter who asked if it would be an issue. "We’ve had some nice conversations before. You think I’m really like that because I got thrown out of a game?"
While KD and the Warriors were dealing with questions about his ejection, James Harden, Chris Paul, and the Rockets were locking up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. Although Houston had the night off on Thursday, the Warriors’ loss assured them of home-court advantage throughout the postseason.
The Warriors will return to the court on Saturday night with a game against the Kings before taking on the Suns on Sunday night.