Kevin Durant was fined $15,000 by the NBA on Thursday for his comments about referee James Williams.
Durant criticized Williams after he was ejected from Golden State’s 123-112 victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday night.
Durant apologized Wednesday, saying after watching replays that he acted like a “diva” and a “jerk” and vowed to apologize directly to Williams in person.
“I wish I had handled that better obviously but it was kind of a heat-of-the-moment for me. I could be better. It was a great learning experience for me though,” Durant said. “ I wasn’t getting picked on last night. I was being a diva last night. I’ve got to just own up to it. I watched it when I got home. I was wondering why he was coming at me so hard but then I watched the plays I was like, `Yeah, I looked like a jerk out there.’ It was bad. Luckily we won and we can move past it and I kind of owned up to it. I’ll be better next time.”
Durant had 14 points, a career-high 14 assists and two blocks before his ejection with 2:50 left in the win.
“Kevin knows he should not have said what he said after the game,” coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday. “But this has been such a big topic this year. It does seem like maybe there’s a little bit more relationship stuff than there used to be. I don’t know why, I don’t know why that is.
“I know the best officials to me are the ones who will talk to me and I also know they deserve my respect. And I’ve snapped a couple times this year and said some things that I shouldn’t have. So it’s a matter of trying to maintain composure and dignity and you still have to be able to complain about a call and the ref needs to be able to accept that he’s wrong sometimes.”
Lineup changes for Cavaliers
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue has tweaked his starting lineup in hopes of reviving a team that has lost 10 of 13 games. Lue had been resisting changes, but after Thursday’s practice he said he’s dropping forward Jae Crowder to the second team, returning center Tristan Thompson to the starting lineup and moving All-Star Kevin Love to power forward.
The defending Eastern Conference champions have had a tumultuous few days, highlighted by a team meeting Monday when players aired grievances. Love was targeted by some teammates, who were unhappy he went home sick during a game last weekend and missed a practice. LeBron James is confident the team can mend any differences, saying “We’ll be fine.”