OAKLAND -- Roughly 15 hours after he was ejected from a game after receiving back-to-back technical fouls seconds apart, Kevin Durant walked to the edge of the accusation cliff and then backed away.
"Something happened over the last few years," he said Friday afternoon, "that has people thinking, ‘Oh, man, KD has changed.' I wonder what it is."
Let's see. What has happened over the last few years? Most notably, Durant became a free agent in July 2017 and changed addresses, moving from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Warriors, a move that was unpopular in the NBA commissioner's office and also spawned a level of ridicule directed at Durant, as well as the Warriors receiving a degree of resentment among some fans and around the league.
That seemed to be what Durant was hinting at, without actually saying it.
It is fact that Durant has been ejected five times this season. He was ejected twice in his first 10 seasons, both with his previous franchise, once in the 2012-13 regular season and once in the 2015-16 postseason.
Durant insists that he has not changed his on-court demeanor. He often has disputed certain calls and non-calls, he says, without being tossed from the game.
"If I've done it before and didn't get kicked out...last night I did and this year I have. I'm not the only guy that...never mind," he said.
"It's not like the dialogue has changed when I feel as though I can't get a call," he added. "Now, they might be throwing me out a little quicker than they did before. They're doing their job, man. That's all they're doing. After the game, I didn't go try to find a ref to give him my 2 cents."
Durant's 14 technical fouls ranks third in the NBA behind teammate Draymond Green (15), Charlotte center Dwight Howard (17). Durant's five ejections lead the NBA, two more than two more than Green and Detroit's Blake Griffin.
In the second quarter of the Warriors-Bucks game, Durant confronted referee Tre Maddox to protest non-calls and received the technical fouls, warranting automatic ejection. Bill Kennedy, crew chief of the officiating crew, said the two calls were the result of Durant doubling down on vulgarity while protesting.
Durant surely believes he is being targeted and he has supporters. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said late Thursday night that he thought Durant was fouled several times by Bucks players without getting calls. ESPN analyst Tracy McGrady, a retired player in the Hall of Fame, on Friday said: "He shouldn't have been ejected on this. If anything, the ref was wrong for this."
Durant has pledged at least $13 million in charitable donations in recent months. He was named Thursday morning as one of four finalists for the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship award, presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association to a player, coach or athletic trainer who demonstrates outstanding service and dedication to the community.
Then on Thursday night, he was ejected for berating of a referee with a stream of profanities.
"You can't tell me who I am because of how I act on the basketball court," he said. "That don't make sense to me. That's not fair to me. But life ain't fair. It's all good. I know who I am. My teammates know who I am. My family does.
"I was upset at a missed call and I let him hear about it and he did what he's supposed to do, kicked me out of the game."
Durant conceded that player-official relationships are frayed, something the NBA is trying to address. He added that would be open to a conversation on the issue.
"I'm sure that'll happen between the players and the refs in the offseason," he said. "But in the meantime, that's not going to be the last time I argue a call. Probably won't be the last time I get ejected in a basketball game."