Durant was ejected with 3:23 left in the third quarter after being assessed for a flagrant foul two against Kelly Olynyk. The Detroit centre and Brooklyn forward became tangled as Olynyk set a screen, and Durant threw a forearm and then shoved Olynyk to the court following a whistle.
The incident was Durant’s second in as many games. He had received a technical in Brooklyn’s 105-98 win over the Indiana Pacers two days earlier for throwing the ball into the stands after a foul was called.
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“I tried to run through the screen,” Durant said.
“That was the result of me trying to blow the screen up.”
One Twitter user described Durant’s foul as “excessive… to say the least”, while another labelled him “a clown” and said he had dished up “nonsense”.
James Harden had 18 points, 10 rebound and 12 assists in the Nets’ thumping of the Pistons.
Harden is Brooklyn’s all-time leader with 13 triple-doubles, and joined Larry Bird for second on the NBA’s all-time list with 59.
“James was great,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said.
He had help as Durant scored 23 points before being ejected in the third quarter. Durant became the third player in the Nets’ NBA history to score at least 20 points in the team’s first seven games to start a season. LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 off the bench. De’Andre Bembry contributed 15, and Joe Harris finished with 12.
“We’ve shown some signs of being a really good team,” Harden said.
“We’re nowhere near where we would like to be.”
Whereas Brooklyn improved to 4-3 with their second win in succession, Detroit fell to 1-5 with the loss.
“We just didn’t play with any activity,” said Cory Joseph, who led the Pistons with 13 points.
He later said the Pistons had to “play harder”.
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Josh Jackson chipped in with 12, and Jerami Grant had 11.
After Jackson knocked down a pull-up jumper to tie the game at 32 in the second quarter, the Nets outscored the Pistons 32-17 over the final 10:40 to go into half-time with a 64-49 advantage.
The Nets did not let up in the second half, as they extended their lead to as much as 30. Brooklyn’s dominance was encapsulated by Bembry’s alley-oop jam off of a Harden feed with 4.5 seconds left in the third. The 13,507 in attendance at Barclays Center became unglued as Bembry hung on the rim and Harden bounced down the court in celebration.
“We couldn’t get them out of their rhythm,” Joseph said.