When the Oklahoma City Thunder came to TD Garden on March 31 and beat the Celtics 109-104, the Celtics players were more infuriated about a loss than usual. That’s because they took issue with Kevin Durant attempting 15 free throws, just two fewer than the Celtics as a team.
That caused Kevin Garnett to refer to Durant as “Michael (Expletive) Jordan” in the postgame news conference. And during the NBA playoffs, Lakers coach Phil Jackson, playing his usual psychological games, piggybacked those statements and accused Durant of receiving favorable treatment from officials.
Durant responded to those statements before the Celtics took on the Thunder for the first time since the “Jordan” game and he took the controversy as a compliment.
“I guess that was cool you know,” Durant said. “When he said it I was kind of shocked because he said it at a press conference. He thought that was about me. I was just happy to get that win in Boston that night. A lot of people say they gave me fouls and that started the whole thing with Phil Jackson, but it was pretty cool to go through that.
“KG is a top 50 greatest ever to play the game and for him to say that about me is kind of flattering. That’s when people started recognizing me a little bit. But I couldn’t let that affect how I play or our team. I appreciated it, but it was time to move on.”
When asked if he talked to Garnett since then about the topic, Durant said, “Nah man, I don’t talk to KG.”