Thunder forward Kevin Durant has been fined $25,000 for making what the NBA deemed “a menacing gesture” during Thursday's game against the Golden State Warriors, the league announced Friday.
The incident occurred with 1:36 remaining in the second quarter. Durant celebrated an authoritative fast break dunk by motioning to his throat horizontally, giving a pretend slicing effect before clasping his hands together.
“Just kill ‘em and pray for ‘em after the game,” Durant explained after the game.
Durant initially appeared reluctant to discuss the uncharacteristic celebration when asked, and prompted to provide further explanation of its origin Durant attempted to elaborate by making it clear that he meant no disrespect.
“Somebody gave it to me. I do it when I dunk,” he said. “It's nothing against the team I'm playing against. But it's just come out with a mindset and, you know, be friends after the game.”
Though the Thunder led by as many as 22 points before cruising to a 19-point win, Durant refused, even figuratively, to agree that his team “killed” 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. Locked in on every possession on both ends.
“We knew what we were playing for and we knew that every game is, like I said, important. So we was locked in from the beginning. That's what we need to do.”
Durant scored a game-high 31 points with 10 rebounds and eight assists in the win.
The victory moved the Thunder a half-game ahead of San Antonio for first place in the Western Conference while dropping the Warriors just a half-game ahead of Houston for sixth place. Golden State potentially could fall to the eighth seed and meet the Thunder in a first-round matchup.
“They played playoff basketball and we didn't,” said Warriors coach Mark Jackson. “That was a team that's chasing the No. 1 seed and was trying to send a message, ‘Just in case I see you at some point down the road.'”