This by itself is not cause for a technical foul, but the referees in Cleveland on Thursday obviously felt differently.
Late in the first quarter of the Thunder’s win over the Cavaliers, Kevin Durant corralled an offensive rebound and went back up for the relatively pedestrian slam. After he threw it down, he took a few steps toward Anderson Varejao, and that was enough for the officials to stop play and whistle KD for the tech.
As is always the case in these situations, we don’t know what might have gone down between these two players on previous possessions, and the referees were likely just trying to gain control of a contest in its early stages. But looking at this play in a vacuum, it certainly seems as though this small display of emotion from Durant should have gone unpunished.
The Cavs are shorthanded in the backcourt right now, with Kyrie Irving still out and Iman Shumpert sidelined for up to three months. Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re bringing in former Temple guard Dionte Christmas, who played for the Suns in 2013-14:
In 31 games for the Suns two seasons ago, Christmas averaged 2.3 points and 1.2 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game. He probably won’t get very many minutes if he makes the Cavs’ final roster, but there’s a chance they’ll keep him around on a non-guaranteed deal until Irving and Shumpert are healthy, just to have another body in the backcourt.
LeBron James sat out the Cavs’ preseason game against the Sixers on Thursday night, but Cleveland still held the lead for all but the final 5.4 seconds. Then, Sixers rookie Scottie Wilbekin did this:
Wilbekin, who played college ball at Florida, has a chance to earn legitimate minutes for the Sixers this season as they try to find young talent on the cheap. This is a good start.