In addition to pouring in 51 points and hitting the game-winner in Friday’s double-overtime win over the Raptors, Kevin Durant picked up his 15th technical foul of the season, which tied him for the league lead with DeMarcus Cousins.
It was flimsy from the very start, as noted by Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman immediately afterward:
Also in the first half: KD’s 15th technical foul. It came with 27.3 seconds remaining in the half. It was bogus. Referee David Jones ruled that KD pushed Tyler Hansbrough. While technically true, it was the most harmless, “Let me go” push you’ll ever see. I’d be surprised if it’s not rescinded.
Trust your local beat writer, folks.
The technical was indeed rescinded, as Mayberry reported on Sunday.
Durant received another very questionable technical a few days back, after taking a few steps toward Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao in a small show of emotion following a put-back slam.
If he gets two more over the final 13 games of the season, it’ll mean an automatic one-game suspension, which on the surface seems hard to understand given Durant’s normally pleasant demeanor. But with the second highest usage rate in the league behind only his teammate Russell Westbrook, Durant has the ball in his hands more than anyone else, and is therefore the recipient of more contact from defenders that the referees let go without a whistle.
It’s something he needs to get in check, but the regular season numbers won’t hurt him in the playoffs; the count is reset once the postseason begins.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.