Durant said the beef with Williams began early in the game.
“Well, the first half, I was dribbling up the right side and I made a left-to-right cross, and he said I carried,” Durant said. “I kind of let that go. I asked him where he got the carry from. He said I froze the defender, and I said that’s what the crossover is for and that’s why I do it, to freeze my defender.
“And he tried to make a bunch of excuses, and I told him he was wrong, and he went into halftime probably with an attitude. So the second half, his whole thing is like he’s trying to get me.”
Tension between players and officials has been a dominant theme this season, with multiple star players criticizing the manner in which they have been treated by the referees.
Williams hit Durant with his first technical foul in the third quarter, after Durant slammed the ball down in frustration, believing he had delivered a clean block at the rim on Knicks big man Willy Hernangomez. Williams was actually calling the personal foul on Warriors forward Kevon Looney.
Late in the fourth, Durant drove to the basket and there was contact, but no call was made. He slowed to get back on defense. Draymond Green had to commit a quick foul to prevent a 5-on-4 advantage.
Once Durant made it past half court, he screamed, “Why the f— that’s not a foul?” at official Brett Nansel and began to stare him down while on defense.
Williams, not Nansel, issued the second technical that sent Durant to the showers early.
“Look at my first tech,” Durant said. “I got the rebound and I dribbled the ball hard, and he teched me up. He was searching for me. He was looking to try to tech me up to get me back because he’s still in his feelings from the first half. That’s what’s been going on around the league the whole year. A bunch of that. I got to keep my head a little bit, but I was upset. I’m a human being too. I get upset.”
It marked Durant’s fourth ejection and 10th technical on the season. He had only one ejection for his entire career prior to 2017-18.
Right before the ejection, Green, who has 11 technical fouls and two ejections on the season, did his best to keep Durant from going off by shoving him away from the official. But Durant had his mind made up that he was going to let his voice be heard.
“The irony,” Durant jokingly said about Green playing the levelheaded role. “I was not trying to hear that. I didn’t want to get teched up or thrown out, but I did want him to hear what I had to say. It is part of the game. I’m sure when I see James again, I’m sure he’ll still be in his feelings.”
Durant finished with 14 points, a career-high 14 assists and two blocks in 32 minutes.