OKLAHOMA CITY -- As Kings coach Michael Malone continues to praise his star’s restraint in not picking up a technical foul in more than a month, Oklahoma City’s star is trying to keep his technical fouls in check.
Kevin Durant has 14 technical fouls, second only to Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, who has 15.
Durant is two technical fouls away from an automatic one-game suspension. For the Thunder, that could be costly as it chases the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the NBA.
Durant said he doesn’t go into games thinking about technical fouls but acknowledged he needs to avoid them the rest of the season.
“Sometimes, to be honest, I wanted the tech this year, I guess, to inspire my team, to do something,” Durant said. “I wanted the tech to kind of psych myself out and make me feel a little bit stronger and better than what I was doing a little bit. I just can’t do that anymore.”
Durant leads the NBA in scoring and had 29 points in leading the Thunder to a 94-81 win over the Kings Friday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Durant is the favorite to replace Miami’s LeBron James as league MVP this season and is widely viewed as one of the good guys in the league.
He just can’t let his emotions get the best of him this late in the season.
“I’ve got to be better and smarter in how I approach the refs, how I approach the other team,” Durant said. “I guess I’m done with techs – I hope I’m done with techs. I can’t for sure guarantee that I am, but I don’t want to think about it and go out there and not play my game and worry about two more techs. I hope I’m done with them.”
Rebounding from injury – Kings forward Quincy Acy grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds after missing the previous three games because of a sprained right ankle. Acy’s previous best was 12 boards, on Feb. 19 against Golden State.
More career highs – Kings swingman Travis Outlaw made a career-high five three-pointers. Outlaw had made four threes in a game nine times in his career.
Outlaw finished with 17 points, reaching double figures for the third time in the last four games.
Health update – Kings forward Derrick Williams missed Friday’s game because of illness. Malone said Williams began feeling ill Thursday but was feeling better by the end of the game.
Williams stayed in the locker room during the game.
Streak continues – The Kings have never won in Oklahoma City, having dropped their last 11 here. The last time the Kings beat this franchise on the road was on March 30, 2008, when it was still in Seattle.