Kevin Durant Says Multiple Cavaliers Players Were Trying to Get Him Ejected

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 25, 2017

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 25:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors looks on while there's a break in the action against the Cleveland Cavaliers late in the fouth quarter of an NBA basketball game at ORACLE Arena on December 25, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Kevin Durant believes the Cavaliers were baiting him into an ejection during Monday's game.

The Warriors star nearly earned his second technical foul and an automatic ejection during the first quarter of the Christmas showdown. However, he explained after the game that he was unconcerned, per Chris Haynes of ESPN:

"Man, I understand that's a part of the rules, but they didn't want me out the game. They didn't want to win that way. It meant nothing to me. Technically, they were trying to get me to get tossed. It wouldn't have felt the same if they would have gotten me tossed and they would have won that game. So, I moved past that. It wasn't serious."

He stayed in and scored a team-high 25 points in a 99-92 win.

Durant picked up his first technical foul during the first quarter after arguing about a non-call on his three-point shot. A few minutes later, Jose Calderon fouled him, and Durant immediately went face-to-face with the opposing point guard:

A second technical foul would have forced Durant from the game, which both Calderon and LeBron James seemed quick to point out to the referee. While none of these players earned technical fouls for the incident, Draymond Green earned one himself for extended arguing with the official.

Durant has already been ejected from three games this season after being tossed from just one game in his first 10 years combined. His eighth technical foul on the year matches his mark from all of last season.

However, the national audience likely wouldn't want to see one of the league's top stars thrown out in the first quarter of arguably the biggest games of the regular season. On the other hand, the Cavaliers would likely have preferred a win regardless of who was in the lineup.