The OKC Thunder are playing with passion alright. Trying to make quick work of the formidable Dallas Mavericks in the first round, OKC is pulling out every trick it knows. Even the bench is in on the action — even when they haven’t entered the game. When the Mavericks Salah Mejri tried to recover a ball that bounced into the Thunder bench in the 2nd quarter of Game 4, OKC reserve Anthony Morrow wouldn’t give it back. Not a classy move — or a legal one — but that didn’t stop the Thunder from making it a class action suit. Russell Westbrook got so fired up about Mejri’s audacity (in trying to get the ball back in play) that he drew a tech from the bench. Mejri got one too.
The referees, under a microscope during these playoffs as the physical NBA game has become increasingly hard to officiate, assessed OKC a delay of game violation too. OKC beat Dallas 119-108, taking a 3-1 series lead. OKC could be making its last playoff run with Kevin Durant, who becomes a free agent after the season. Durant got a (retroactive) technical in the previous game for taunting. It’s become an OKC style, for better or worse.