Pacers coach Rick Carlisle was stunned and Nets star Kevin Durant was still playing late in the second half of Friday night’s game between Indiana and Brooklyn — and for good reason.
With less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Durant got a pass from Patty Mills and attempted to push the ball with a transition. Pacers guard TJ McConnell mistook Durant to stop play, and Durant fired the ball over the basket and into the crowd.
Durant had a technical foul, but should have been fired based on NBA rules regarding player behavior. He finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in a 105-97 Nets win.
“Any player who throws or kicks the ball directly into the stands aggressively, regardless of the reason or where it lands, will be assessed for a technical foul and sent off.” The rulebook states. “All other cases where the ball ends up in the stands will expose the player to a possible technical foul and expulsion.”
Sean Wright, who was the chief of the game’s crew, Greg Logan from Newsday said: That Durant should have been sent off for throwing the ball hard. During his media availability after the match, Carlisle expressed his disbelief that Durant had not been sent to the locker room.
“I think I saw Kevin Durant end up throwing the ball with his hand up, 10 or 15 rows into the stands and he wasn’t sent off,” Carlisle said. “I think that’s what I saw. And so that was shocking… I’m not going to share the explanation because I just don’t want to embarrass the officials. I don’t want to embarrass the league. These guys are nice guys, they made a big mistake, and the league is going to address that.”
“You don’t want to hear the explanation. At this point, it doesn’t matter because it won’t change the outcome. But it’s an important thing that can’t be missed. That’s it.”
Carlisle on Durant throwing the ball into the stands, but staying in the match after: “That was shocking. … at this point it doesn’t matter because it won’t change the score, but it’s an important thing that can’t be missed.” pic.twitter.com/0Yq6BsP0RG
– Bally Sports Indiana (@BallySportsIN) October 30, 2021
Durant told reporters he was trying to hit the backboard, but knew he shouldn’t have thrown the ball at all.
“I don’t know, man,” Durant said. “I thought I was in the gym by myself for a little game and not an NBA game.” “I can’t do that. I could have paid the game cost for my team. But it won’t happen again. I hope so. … I didn’t know you could be fired for that, but I’m glad I stayed in the game. I’m sure a big fine is coming, But I don’t mind giving. I’m sure someone in the NBA office will use that to fund college, so I don’t mind.”