The player-referee relationship this season has been on thin ice constantly, it seems. Earlier this month, Rockets star Chris Paul called out referee Scott Foster after Houston's victory. In December, Golden State's Shaun Livingston and referee Courtney Kirkland were suspended for their on-court scuffle. Oklahoma City Thunder stars Russell Westbrook, Paul George and their coach, Billy Donovan, had criticism for officials in November, and Warriors stars Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry got upset with officials after they were ejected in mid-October.
The latest incident of such strained relations comes from last night's Warriors-Knicks game at Oracle Arena, which Golden State won. Durant finished with a career-best 14 assists, but was ejected with 2 minutes, 50 seconds left in the game. He received his second technical from referee James Williams, who hit him with a technical in the third quarter with 3:24 remaining. After the game, Durant said he felt Williams had it out for him after a disagreement between the two over a crossover move Durant made in the first half.
Melissa Rohlin of The Mercury Newshas more from Durant on his view of why he was ejected:
“I was dribbling up on the right side,” Durant said. “I made a right-to-left cross. He said I carried. He kind of let that go. I asked him where did you get the carry from? He said I froze the defender. I said that’s what a crossover is for, and that’s why I do it, to freeze my defender. He tried to make a bunch of excuses and I told him he was wrong. He went to halftime probably with an attitude.”
“So second half, his whole thing was like he’s trying to get me,” Durant said. “Look at my first tech. I got the rebound and I dribbled the ball hard and he teched me up. He was searching for me. He was looking to try to tech me up to get me back because he was still in his feelings from the first half. That’s what’s been going on around the league the whole year is a bunch of that. You know what I’m saying? I’ve got to keep my head a little bit. But I was upset. I’m a human being too. I get upset.”
Durant said he didn’t want to get another technical foul, but he felt a need to express himself. He added that Williams could now hold a grudge against him going forward.
“When we see James again, I’m sure he’ll still be in his feelings,” Durant said.
After Durant spoke candidly, he said he wasn’t going to dwell on the officiating, which has been a source of contention throughout the season between the players and the referees.
“This is a bad season for us and the refs, as far as our relationships are concerned,” Durant said. “But we’ll be all right.”
Kevin Durant on his ejection and officiating pic.twitter.com/uicljZ8luP— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 24, 2018
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