Phil Jackson Already Playing Mind Games With OKC

by April 14, 2010

Jackson pulled a Kevin Garnett yesterday by becoming the latest to gripe about Kevin Durant’s ability to earn free throws from the refs. The LA Times reports: “And for a series Jackson said will be predicated on ‘an adjustment to the unknown,’ he just threw the first fastball. All season, the Zen master has been largely complimentary of Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant, who currently leads the league in scoring at 30.1 points per game. But when I asked whether Durant could eventually become the torchbearer of the NBA, Jackson’s praise came in a different context. ‘Yeah, by the calls he gets, he really gets to the line a lot, I’ll tell ya.’ Jackson said Tuesday after the team’s shoot-around before Tuesday night’s game against Sacramento … Durant ranks first in the NBA in free-throw attempts (825) and per game (10.3), while Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is ranked 10th in free-throw attempts (541) and ninth per contest (7.4). In fairness to Durant, however, there is at least one call the officials missed in his favor. The NBA recently acknowledged that referees missed a foul on Utah forward C.J. Miles, which would’ve given Durant three free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining in the Jazz’s 140-139 overtime win over the Thunder. After the laughter subdued, Jackson continued. ‘There’s a couple plays in the last game where I was pretty curious how he got there,’ he said. ‘He really has a reputation as one of the hot points in the league.’ ‘So, you think it looks like Durant has learned the tricks of the trade,’ I asked Jackson. ‘Yeah, you go there,’ he said, ‘create contact and you hope you get to the line.”‘