Madison Square Garden was rocking like the old days as the Knicks fended off the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 of their first-round series on Wednesday. Fifteen thousand fans packed the venue and helped buoy the home team as it battled back from a double-digit deficit.
Raucous chants from the crowd have toed and often crossed the line as Hawks star Trae Young has shined at MSG — but one fan took things too far on Wednesday. A day later, another NBA superstar in New York weighed in.
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Kevin Durant Chimes In
There’s aggressive chants aimed at opponents, which Knicks veteran Derrick Rose said is “just basketball, man.” And then there’s something that just has no place in the sport.
After New York’s Game 2 win over the Hawks, a video went viral on Twitter that appears to show a fan spitting in the direction of Young.
In a statement, the Knicks said an investigation determined that the fan did indeed spit on Young, and that the fan would be banned indefinitely from Madison Square Garden.
“We apologize to Trae and the entire Atlanta Hawks organization for this fan’s behavior,” the statement read, per SportsCenter.
Nets star Kevin Durant took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the matter — and he didn’t mince words.
“It’s all fun and games until ya a** banned for life,” Durant tweeted.
The 11-time All-Star could have also been referencing the fan who was banned from Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia this week. That fan dumped popcorn on Wizards star Russell Westbrook, a former teammate of Durant’s while the two future Hall of Famers played for the Oklahoma City Thunder, during a first-round matchup against the 76ers.
“We apologize to Russell Westbrook and the Washington Wizards for being subjected to this type of unacceptable and disrespectful behavior,” the 76ers said in a statement, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. “There is no place for it in our sport or arena.”
At a post-game press conference, Westbrook said he had had enough.
“To be completely honest, this s*** is getting out of hand, especially for me,” Westbrook said, per ESPN. “The amount of disrespect, the amount of fans just doing whatever the f*** they want to do — it’s just out of pocket. There are certain things that cross the line. Any other setting … a guy were to come up on the street and pour popcorn on my head, you know what happens.”
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Knicks Fans Go off on Durant Too
Durant has nothing to do with the Knicks-Hawks series, off course. But that didn’t stop Knicks fans from going after the 2014 NBA MVP at Madison Square Garden, too.
In a video posted to social media, a fan lifts a jersey of Durant while in the MSG corridors and gets quite the response.
Durant chose the Nets over the Knicks in free agency two years ago, and it appears Knicks fans are still very much bitter — or they were so amped up from New York’s win on Wednesday that they were just happy to indulge in another disrespectful bashing of an NBA superstar.