For a guy that is surrounded by All-Stars and has a clear path to the NBA Finals, former Texas forward Kevin Durant has been carrying a lot of controversy this season.
Durant played decently by his standards in game one, scoring 23 points, dishing out three assists and grabbing four rebounds in just over 32 minutes of action. However, Durant got into a heated exchange with Clipper guard Patrick Beverley, leading to a double ejection for both players.
The Warriors would go on to beat the Clippers by a comfortable 17-point margin and were up just as big when Durant got ejected.
But Durant wasn’t done yet. Durant played worse in game two. He scored fine — getting an easy 21 points — but he only took eight shots. That’s not enough for possibly the best player in the league.
You could argue that Durant wasn’t really needed since the Warriors were up by 31. However, the Clippers made a run in the third quarter to start cutting into that lead. Head coach Steve Kerr noticed it immediately, calling a timeout as soon as the deficit came down to 27. But the players weren’t having it. Durant racked up six fouls and fouled out of the game after setting a moving screen. He complained to the referee to no avail then threw his hands in the air out of frustration.
The Clippers aren’t going to beat Golden State barring any major injury. However, the Warriors should have swept through the first round of the playoffs. Perhaps the champs aren’t as invincible as we thought.
Although many Longhorns were covered this year, Texas alum D.J. Augustin often was not. But why would he? The Magic were near the bottom of the Eastern Conference for much of the regular season. Augustin started for the Magic despite being a backup guard for most of his career.
But the Magic did the improbable and finished the season on an astounding 22–9 record to sneak into the playoffs. Both the Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets, who played better for much of the season, failed to make the playoffs thanks to the Magic’s late-season push.
And their propensity to do the improbable continued into the playoffs as the Magic stole home-court advantage away from the highly regarded Toronto Raptors in a three-point win on Saturday evening.
And they couldn’t have done it without the surprising play of Augustin. Augustin played a fantastic game, scoring 25 points and dishing out six assists in about 30 minutes. He also held All-Star guard Kyle Lowry to zero points. Augustin also hit the game-winning shot to give the Magic their first playoff win in over half a decade.
Augustin didn’t have nearly as great of a game in game two. He scored just nine points on an abysmal 16.7 percent from the field while Lowry returned to form and recorded 22 points.
We shouldn’t expect much from Augustin or the Magic in the short term, but so far they have pulled off what no one thought was possible just a few months ago. Perhaps their series against the Raptors will be the next step in that process.