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Steve Kerr, Doc Rivers, Draymond Green, Lou Williams don’t think Kevin Durant, Patrick Beverley deserved to get ejected in Game 1

Kevin Durant, Patrick Beverley, Clippers, Warriors

OAKLAND – The Golden State Warriors and L.A. Clippers wasted little time lighting up the fireworks in their first round playoff series. Kevin Durant and Patrick Beverley, who played about as physical as you can without being malicious, were both ejected with 4:41 left in the 4th quarter.

The Warriors went on to win 121-104, but the most discussed topic after the game was the physicality, chippiness, and subsequent ejections of both Durant and Beverley.

“Yeah, it was talk,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said with a smile after the game. “I mean, listen, I don’t even know what to say with that one. That was — Pat is going to talk, and that’s legal. You know, and Kevin can talk, too. I don’t think either one of them — I don’t know, I think Eddie had to throw them out because it looked bad. So I thought that was the right thing to do, I guess. But it was much ado about nothing.”

Durant, arguably the Warriors’ second-best player, finished with 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting to go along with four rebounds and three assists. Beverley had just three-points, but added seven rebounds and seven assists.

The two had an exchange in the first half where Beverley mocked Durant for flopping his way into a foul call. The 6-foot-1 Beverley was whistled for pushing the 6-foot-11 Durant out of bounds, and Beverley let him have it.

“Oh for sure, we took the bait,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr after the game. He took the bait. That’s two technicals, you get 7 technicals and your 7th is a suspension. That’s what Beverley does. We talked about it for the last couple of days. Hell of a defender, we’ve gotta lot of respect for him and he plays hard, you’ve cannot take the bait because that’s a bad trade for us. The Clippers have made a lot of good trades this year and that was maybe their best.”

After a day to watch film, speak with the team, and process Game 1, both coaches agreed the ejections weren’t exactly warranted.

“Seeing the highlights from last night, I’m not sure anybody deserved to get kicked out of the game,” added Kerr at Warriors’ media availability on Sunday afternoon. “I didn’t think it was that bad.”

“I didn’t think it was that emotional,” Rivers said just prior to the team’s practice on Sunday. “It’s funny, neither one of those guys were trying to fight or anything like that, and it looked like both of them were actually enjoying it and having fun. We just overreact to it so much now that we’ve got a stop it. They actually respect each other, they like each other, but they’re gonna compete against each other, and they wanted to tell each other about it. I thought we made too much of it, you have to do what you did and Eddie [Malloy] throwing them out was probably the right thing to do. I get where he was coming from, so I understand that.”

Lou Williams, who finished with 25 points and nine assists’ off the Clippers’ bench, also thought the ejection was too quick.

“[They were] just competing. I thought the ejection was too quick, especially being playoff basketball. Everybody knows what Pat brings to the table and the type of competitors that he is. I think it was quick. It might have went quick because of the back and forth they had right before that, but I thought it was quick. I think both guys were competing, and that was it. A little trash talk, you know, and you’re a competitor, you work all year to get to the Playoffs, and you kind of want that atmosphere, you want that energy. So I thought for both sides it was too quick.”

“There’s always little games within the game,” admitted Draymond Green. “So there’s always stuff going on out there on the floor. You know, meanwhile, K (Durant) was 8-for-16 with 23 points. That’s pretty good. I like to see people battle, and I love that.”

Many of the reactions, from both players and coaches, showed that the only person who considered the chippiness an issue was referee Ed Malloy, who handed each their double technical fouls as well as their ejection technicals.

“I’ve been playing against Pat Beverley since he was at Arkansas, so I kind of know what he brings,” said Kevin Durant after the game. “He’s a Chicago kid, grew up and played in the Chicago area, so those dudes play with a different type of grit, so I can appreciate that about Pat.

“You know what he’s going to bring to the table, just physicality, the mucking up the game a little bit with his physicality, his talking, everything. That’s what he brings to each team he plays on. That’s his identity, and they support him with the Clippers. For me, I know that coming into the series. I thought it was fun tonight.”

Patrick Beverley agreed, saying that he wasn’t attempting to ‘egg’ anyone on and was just playing his brand of basketball.

“No, I was not,” said Beverley after the game. “It was fun out there. We really wish we could’ve played a little bit more without the chippy calls, but I understand it’s Game 1. They are trying to set the tone, but this is the playoffs. People are trying to see a good basketball game and not so many fouls, but these are things we cannot control.”

Game 2 between the Warriors and Clippers will be Monday night back at Oracle Arena. Saturday’s Game 1 wasn’t the first time Beverley and Durant exchanged words. If that’s any indication, it certainly won’t be the last time, either.