Kevin Durant said it will be difficult to adhere to the rule but understands why the NBA informed players they risk a fine if they stand while on the bench. Numerous complaints from fans in NBA arenas across the country led to the announcement earlier this month that an existing rule will be strictly enforced. "People behind us pay good money to see the game,” Durant said. "But on our end, it’s exciting to see a teammate dunk or make a big shot. It’s tough for us, especially for this team. Your reaction is to jump up and cheer them on.” The rule states players are required to remain seated on the bench while the ball is live except to walk to the scorer’s table to enter the game or "spontaneously react to a notable play, but must immediately sit down on the bench afterward.” The rule stipulates players are not permitted to stand at the bench while the ball is in play. That includes the final minute of a game. The rule prohibits players standing until the home team scores its first point, a Ford Center tradition. Last year, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ bench players stood a lot. The previous season, the Boston Celtics were notorious for standing to cheer teammates. "Sometimes teams get criticized for not showing enough emotion,” said Thomas Jones, who had second-row seats for the Thunder’s preseason game vs. Miami in Tulsa. "You like to see your team get excited. But if I paid big bucks for all 41 home games, I’d probably be a little upset.” Thunder coach Scott Brooks understands the delicate balance. He wants his players to cheer for teammates but empathizes with fans. "For 11 years I had the best seat in the house,” said Brooks, referring to his career as a reserve point guard. "But you have to respect the people who have the second-best seat in the house. Cheer your teammates on but sit back down.” Brooks said one factor NBA players sometimes forget is many are 6-foot-7 or taller — while the average male fan is 5-foot-9. Women and children often are even shorter. "The players should be able to stand up and cheer,” said Kendall Tilley, who sat in the third row behind the Thunder bench at the first preseason game. "But obviously it becomes a problem if they stand a lot.” The rule has been in existence for several years but sporadically enforced. An NBA official said the league is committed to stricter enforcement this season, which includes fines. The amount of the fine will vary on a case-by-case basis. Durant said the rule will not be easy to follow. "It will especially be tough for me,” Durant said. "I get excited. Don’t blame us for being excited for our teammates. At the same time, I understand where the fans are coming from, and I understand where the league is coming from.”
Kings at Thunder→Time: 7 tonight →Where: Ford Center →TV: None. →Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM.