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NBA Coast to Coast

Kevin Durant might be losing 'nice' persona

The Oklahoma City star was fined $25,000 by the NBA for a throat-slashing gesture followed by crossing his hands in prayer. He says it means to come out with a mind-set and be friends after the game.

April 13, 2013|By Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times
  • Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates after a dunk against the San Antonio Spurs.
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates after a dunk… (Sue Ogrocki / Associated…)

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Kevin Durant is not nice?

The marketing slogan may have a sliver of truth to it after the Oklahoma City Thunder star's questionable gesture and explanation Thursday against Golden State.

Durant collected the ball off a Russell Westbrook block and drove for a vicious dunk. If only he had stopped there.

The player who is so polite that he routinely exchanges pleasantries with out-of-town reporters in the hallways of Chesapeake Energy Arena then pretended to slash his throat before crossing his hands in prayer.

"Kill 'em and pray for 'em after the game," Durant said of his celebratory routine.

He left out an important postscript: And then pay for it.

The NBA fined Durant $25,000 for what the league described as "a menacing gesture," one fans are unlikely to see again. Durant told reporters that the motion was not one he designed.

"Somebody gave it to me," he said. "I do it when I dunk. It's nothing against the team I'm playing against. But it's just come out with a mind-set and, you know, be friends after the game."

Was it really necessary to say the Thunder wanted to "kill" the Warriors?

"I wouldn't say we killed them," Durant said. "When I say killed them, I mean our attitude was, like, straight focused, laser focused. Ready to play every possession."

And prepared, apparently, to pay for the consequences of his actions.

Rivalry renewed

The feud between New York Knicks forward Steve Novak and Chicago Bulls guard Nate Robinson escalated Thursday when Robinson forcefully applied the championship belt gesture several times after making a three-pointer during the Bulls' streak-busting victory over the Knicks.

Robinson was mocking one of Novak's favorite moves, popularized by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and featured in a State Farm ad for the company's Discount Double Check. Novak typically uses the gesture after making a three-pointer.

Robinson has unveiled it a few times during victories over the Knicks, prompting Novak to fire back earlier this season.

"It warms my heart," Novak said at the time. "It really does. The best part about doing the belt is hearing the stories about all the little kids who hit a three-pointer and do the belt. One day when little Nathan grows up, his dreams come true and he can be just like me."

Robinson, who is 5 feet 9, responded by calling Novak a "clown" on Twitter.

"I forgot u [sic] invented that move, [you] must play for the Packers and [your] name is Aaron," Robinson wrote.

Robinson certainly upstaged Novak on Thursday, finishing with 35 points. Novak was scoreless in 12 minutes.

Bidding farewell

Stephen Jackson won't be helping the San Antonio Spurs in their playoff push.

Or anyone else, for that matter.

The veteran forward was waived only four games before the end of the regular season, too late to join another team and be included on their playoff roster. Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich told reporters the move to release a disgruntled player who had fallen out of the rotation was "best for our group."

San Antonio was widely viewed as the last safe haven for Jackson considering he had helped the team win a title in 2003.

So much for that.

— Ben Bolch

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