Phil Jackson’s opinion of officials’ treatment toward Kevin Durant this season might fall on deaf ears with whatever referee crews are assigned to the first-round matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
But the Laker coach’s comments certainly drew the ire of the Thunder’s franchise player.
Jackson on Tuesday became the second person in the past two weeks to question the foul calls Durant has been awarded. Jackson told Los Angeles-area reporters that Durant, who leads the league with 10.3 foul shots per game, gets preferential treatment.
"Yeah, by the calls he gets, he really gets to the line a lot, I’ll tell ya,” Jackson is quoted as saying.
Durant, before wrapping up the scoring title Wednesday against Memphis, had his chance to respond.
"I respect Phil Jackson,” Durant started. "It really doesn’t matter, to be honest.”
But the longer Durant spoke, the more his true emotions surfaced.
"Ever since KG said something, everybody’s been questioning how I get to the line,” Durant said, referring to Boston forward Kevin Garnett, who claimed after losing to the Thunder he thought he was playing, "Michael (expletive) Jordan.”
"If you watch our games, you wouldn’t question it. The NBA should put us on national TV more, I guess.”
When asked whether Jackson’s comment fired him up more, Durant, "Yeah, it does.”
"Because it’s taking away from what I do,” Durant said. "That’s a part of my game, getting to the free-throw line and being aggressive.
Box score: Thunder 114, Grizzlies 105