Kevin Durant's final line against the Cleveland Cavaliers during a March 20 victory was impressive, as he finished the victory with 35 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and a block on 12-of-21 shooting from the field.
But there was one major flaw:
The reaction to that play, which involved Durant staring right at the poor soul he just posterized during a surprisingly intense first quarter, led to a technical foul. And it's not exactly the first time that Durant has been whistled for extracurricular activity during his astounding 2013-14 season.
As The Oklahoman's Anthony Slater made clear, this is Durant's 14th technical of the season:
Kevin Durant gets a technical for taunting after a dunk. His 14th of the season. Two from a one-game suspension.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 20, 2014
With the cut-off point at 16 before suspensions start being doled out, he's going to have to be more careful. The Thunder can't afford to lose him down the stretch of a tight race for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, even if it's only for one game.
Fortunately for OKC, Durant recognizes this, and he's also going to work on getting the technical foul rescinded:
Durant said he will try to get tonight's technical rescinded since he was just reacting to the play. But he said he needs to be more careful— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) March 21, 2014
Now there's always a chance the league does something unexpected, but this is a pretty textbook tech. You simply aren't allowed to stare at a player after dunking (as much as we hate that rule), and referees are taught to give that whistle for taunting without hesitation.
At least he's going to make an effort to tone down the passion when it isn't directly related to playing winning basketball.
Does Kevin Durant need to tone down the "nasty"?
Durant has a "nice guy" reputation, but Gregg Popovich probably loves how much "nasty" he inserts into his on-court persona. The OKC superstar has made a habit out of jawing with the opposition during intense moments, and this isn't the first season in which he's racked up quite a few technical fouls.
According to ESPN's technical foul tracker, only DeMarcus Cousins has more than Durant now, as the league's scoring leader moved out of a tie for second with Blake Griffin. Last year, he finished in the No. 8 spot with 12 techs to his name.
The NBA better watch out for Kevin "Rasheed Wallace" Durant.