Kevin Durant’s ejection is a reminder that only the Warriors can beat the Warriors

Kevin Durant’s contact with Patrick Beverley was careless.

In the fourth quarter of Game 1 between the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers, Durant forced a loose ball and bodied Beverley out of bounds and onto the floor. Officials ejected Durant and Beverley for their run-in. Durant’s Warriors would win, 121-104, without him.

The victory didn’t erase the mistake: Durant should know better.

In Durant’s defense, the call was a soft one. He played physical defense, which put Beverley on the court. It’s not clear why Beverley got ejected for the play. And perhaps the same argument could even be made for Durant, who was probably not deserving of the ejection. The two players already had technicals from an earlier confrontation in the game. This double technical meant an early end to their night.

Beverley got his job done. He clearly wanted nothing more than to frustrate Durant and to bring out this hotheaded side of the two-time Finals MVP. Beverley’s antics didn’t result in a win. Still, it was a mission accomplished.

Durant has a history of these heated mistakes, with one ejection and 15 technicals in 2018-19. His relationship with officials has been particularly contentious in recent months. Officials seem to be looking for any evidence of a Durant tantrum. His run-ins with Beverley were just enough for officials to justify an ejection.

I get that Durant’s physicality made a statement. It served as a reminder that the Clippers are not in the same stratosphere as the Warriors. But that statement was already immediately obvious. The scoreboard made it clear. The difference in talent made it clear. Durant’s towering presence over Beverley made it clear.

While Durant’s teammates awarded him high fives and Oracle Arena cheered him loudly during his exit, Durant’s actions weren’t commendable. Durant became consumed with an unimportant personal beef. He made a mistake, even if it wasn’t a consequential one, but he can’t risk testing officials as the Warriors’ run continues.