In his second game back from a hamstring injury, Durant lit the Nets for 30 on 11-of-18 shooting, plus six rebounds and five assists. It was vintage Durant, a “quiet” 30 that was done methodically with pinpoint precision. The Nets threw young defender Rondae Hollis-Jefferson on Durant from tipoff, trying to let the rookie use some of his tenacious energy to make it difficult on the Thunder’s scoring savant. Durant just saw an opportunity. “I seen fresh meat and I was ready to eat. And I was hungry,” Durant said. “He’s a really, really active defender though, I really like him. Long, athletic. But I seen something in his eyes that I could exploit.”
Skiles informed Oladipo that the Orlando Magic’s starting lineup was going to change and that Oladipo would move to the bench. That information must have jarred Oladipo, but as tipoff approached Wednesday, Oladipo insisted he would embrace his new role. He kept his vow.
The referees’ union now has another incident to watch after Wednesday’s game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. With the visiting Kings up 120-109 at the 1:49 of the fourth quarter, Bucks head coach Jason Kidd attempted to call a timeout before an inbounds pass from O.J. Mayo on the other side of the floor. Kidd apparently had some trouble getting the officials’ attention, because he ran over to the opposite sideline. Something happened as he walked back with referee Zach Zarba, though, because Kidd straight-up slapped the ball out of his hands.
Kidd said he was sticking up for himself and protecting his players before he was tossed. “I walked all the way down to get a timeout,” Kidd said, “and then we had our discussion. He gave me the T. “From there, I’m trying to protect my guys. Understanding we felt we were getting fouled and the whistle wasn’t being blown. What happens in this league, you have to stand up for yourself, and my job is to protect those young guys.