By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
Thunder fans (not to mention the team) can breathe a bit easier going into Monday’s Game 5 with the Dallas Mavericks, the NBA decided to merely fine Kevin Durant instead of suspending him for his flagrant 2 foul on Justin Anderson.
The league is also docking Russell Westbrook some cash for cursing at (or at least in the direction of) a Mavs fan or fans. It’s not clear when Westbrook’s incident occurred but he’s been known to fire out an f-bomb here and there.
Here is the official statement from the NBA office:
“NEW YORK, April 24, 2016 - Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook and forward Kevin Durant have each been fined for separate violations, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
Westbrook has been fined $25,000 for directing inappropriate language toward a fan during the Thunder's 119-108 win over the Dallas Mavericks on April 23 at American Airlines Center.
Durant has been fined $15,000 for his Flagrant 2 foul on the Mavericks' Justin Anderson with 50.6 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of the same game.”
There had been some concern Durant could be forced to sit out Monday’s game with a suspension. KD will have to be mindful going forward though and a suspension could come if he gets either one more flagrant 2 or a pair of flagrant 1s.
He now has two flagrant points, two more during the playoffs earns a one game suspension. Durant was asked about that at Sunday’s practice.
“That’s not who I am, it was accidental, so no I don’t have to be cautious with what I’m doing out there because that’s not how I play, so I’m fine.”
Accidental or not, the league still ruled his block attempt on Anderson that ended up being a swipe to his head, a flagrant 2. Obviously the Thunder can’t afford to go into a playoff game against anyone without Durant.
The Thunder take a 3-1 series lead into Monday’s game and so they’ll have a chance to closeout the series in front of the home fans.
The Mavericks will again be short-handed. Head coach Rick Carlisle announced earlier Sunday in Dallas that point guard Deron Williams would not make the trip to OKC and is out for the rest of the playoffs after aggravating an abdominal strain.
Carlisle said center Salah Mejri who left Saturday’s game with a hip injury has improved and should be able to play. Point guard J.J.Barea and forward David Lee are questionable.