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Too Short For A Column

4/16/2010

Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant has himself all bent out of shape -- and, at 6-10, that's a lot of bent -- because Lakers coach Phil Jackson wondered if Durant doesn't receive cushy treatment from referees.

"As far as the calls that he gets on the floor," Jackson said prior to Los Angeles' game against Sacramento, "I think a lot of the referees are treating him like a superstar; he gets to the line easy and often."

Durant took this as a colossal dis, answering, "If you say that I get superstar calls or I get babied by the refs, that's just taking away from how I play. That's disrespectful to me."

Wrong, Kevin. You didn't get disrespected. You just got respected.

Jackson doesn't go that far out of his way to step on just anybody's neck. He only does this to great players who terrify him. He's been doing it for years. He's dissed everybody from Isiah Thomas to Patrick Ewing to Dwight Howard. Not only that, but his comments about Durant just cost him a $35,000 fine to the league, as he knew they would.

And it's not just Jackson who's respecting Durant. Two weeks ago, Boston's Kevin Garnett said Durant was getting calls like he was "Michael [expletive] Jordan."

Durant should be grinning. They're both trying to put a dent in a key part of his game: the third-year player leads the league in free throw attempts this season on his way to becoming the youngest scoring champion in NBA history. They want refs to think twice before tweeting, and we're not talking cell phones here.

This is actually Jackson's way of SHOWING respect. He might as well have said, "Best pure scorer since Jordan. Kid is unstoppable. He peoples my nightmares." Even more proof: This is only the first round. Jackson usually saves this stuff for the conference championships. Maybe he's doing it because the Lakers come into it with zero momentum?

Put it this way. Jackson's not trying to screw Serge (deleted) Ibaka.

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