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Kevin Durant says this series vs. Clippers ‘isn’t about me and Patrick Beverley’

Kevin Durant, Patrick Beverley

The first-round series between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers will no doubt include many more heated moments before it’s finished. Even if Kevin Durant and Patrick Beverley remain at the center of animosity between the California rivals, though, don’t expect that friction to boil over the way it did in Game 1, which Golden State won 121-104.

Why? It seems the Warriors superstar, after being ejected along with Beverley in the latter stages of Saturday’s contest, will be taking a different approach to the Clippers guard’s incitement going forward.

“This isn’t about me or Patrick Beverley,” Durant said on Monday, per ClutchPoints’ Tomer Azarly. “This is about the Clippers vs. the Warriors.”

Beverley lived up to his reputation as one of the league’s most combative competitors in Game 1, agitating Durant from the opening tip with holds, grabs, and trash talk to help make up for the immense size differential between he and the two-time reigning Finals MVP. Beverley’s strategy worked to a certain extent, as Durant played active bystander to Steph Curry’s virtuosic performance en route to 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting, a solid but unspectacular line for a player of his all-time caliber.

With four minutes and 41 seconds left in the fourth quarter, though, Durant and Beverley each lost their relative cools. After stripping Beverley of the ball near half court, sending him crashing to the scorer’s table, Durant loomed over him in an aggressive verbal taunt, causing Beverley to rise to his feet and immediately get chest to chest with Durant before the pair were separated by referee Ed Malloy. Both players were immediately sent to the locker room by referee Ed Malloy.

Game 2 tips off at 10:30 p.m. EST.