A competitive Game 1 between the Warriors and Clippers saw Kevin Durant and Patrick Beverly ejected in the fourth quarter.
The final 17-point margin in the Warriors’ Game 1 win doesn’t do justice to how competitive the game was. The Warriors were certainly in control and Stephen Curry’s volcanic eruption threatened to break things open at any moment but the Clippers never backed down at all. Particularly Patrick Beverly.
The Clippers starting point guard was tasked with guard Kevin Durant for much of the game, despite the enormous height disparity between the two of them. Beverly is the Clippers best perimeter defender and in the past, Durant has struggled at times with smaller, aggressive defenders focused on ball denial.
The two were going after each other all game but the stage was set by a hard fourth-quarter foul from Beverly on a Durant drive. This incident ended with Durant walking away, clapping and laughing, but something was clearly under his skin.
That was followed just a few possessions later by Durant ball-hawking and colliding with Beverly, sending him to the floor. Durant stood over him and when Beverly popped up to get in Durant’s face, Ed Malloy sent both players to their respective locker rooms.
By this point in the game, the outcome was pretty much decided so the ejections didn’t have much to do with the Warriors win or the Clippers loss. But with at least three more games coming between these two teams and, presumably, plenty more possessions with Beverly defending Durant, there may be more fireworks in store.
Game 2 between these two teams will be played Monday, April 15, at 10:30 p.m. EST. Win probability models at Nylon Calculus give the Clippers just a six percent chance of winning the series so every game is crucial.