Kevin Durant Picks Up 15th Technical Foul, 1 Short of Single-Game Suspension

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 21, 2014

Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant (35) argues a call with official Brian Forte during an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

So much for toning it down. 

One night after he picked up technical foul No. 14 of the 2013-14 campaign, Kevin Durant was whistled for his 15th tech this season. That leaves him just one shy of the magical 16th, which would result in a one-game suspension that the Oklahoma City Thunder can't afford as they chase the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. 

The reason this time? Anthony Slater explains below, and he provides some video evidence of the increasingly common Durant tech:  

Perhaps the slight nature of that shove will lead to K.D. getting this particular technical foul rescinded (or maybe even the fact that so many seem provoked by Tyler Hansbrough), though it's hard to believe the league will take action after he's gone back-to-back nights getting involved in a bit of extracurricular activity. 

Two factors make this tech more interesting than the average one, and I'm not just talking about the referees picking on one of the league's premier MVP candidates. First, it elevates Durant all the way up to the top of the leaderboard: 

Durant and DeMarcus Cousins each have 15 techs, which puts them two ahead of Blake Griffin and three whistles clear of Dwight Howard. Seems strange for a player with such a nice-guy reputation, right? 

But hey, Durant racked up 12 technical fouls in 2012-13, according to ESPN's counter, which was a significant step up from the five he earned in 2011-12. Apparently the Durantula has been adding a bit of venom as he ages and starts to enter his prime. 

Secondly, Durant made a point out of telling the world he'd make an effort to tone things down for the rest of the season after he received No. 14 on March 20: 

So much for that. 

As I wrote the night before this tech, "The NBA better watch out for Kevin 'Rasheed Wallace' Durant."

Apparently he really wants that nickname to stick. I mean, it's pretty awesome, after all. 

Durant had a bit of leeway after No. 14, but that's now completely gone. He can't afford another slip-up that gets caught and whistled by the refs. 

If he wants to avoid the suspension and keep suiting up every night for the Thunder, he's going to have to keep his head screwed on straight and play with extreme care throughout the rest of the 2013-14 campaign. 

Or he could just go ahead and get it over with. Either one.