Every NBA fan, except Golden State Warriors fans, wants last season’s NBA finalists and especially Kevin Durant to fail miserably this season. Timofey Mozgov rejecting his alley-oop attempt in a preseason game with the Los Angeles Lakers is a small W which doesn’t mean anything, but still put a big smile on everyone’s faces.
Preseason games don’t matter, and the Golden State Warriors still won 123-112, taking the game quite seriously. Stephen Curry scored 32 points. Kevin Durant finished with 27. The Warriors might have been motivated by what they call a ‘hit piece’ on Draymond Green on ESPN. It doesn’t mind. Mozgov blocking Durant is what everyone will remember from this game.
Why? Well, Durant is the big bad villain of the league right now, along with Draymond Green. However, bullies seem to be easier to understand than perceived traitors, and Durant trying to make himself look good is even more infuriating to most. And so, even the usually hated Lakers take a place above the Warriors with Durant in the popularity and likability rankings. Mozgov, who was ridiculed when the Lakers signed him, is now a one-minute folk hero thanks to this block.
In the long run, it doesn’t matter. This isn’t the first time Durant has been blocked, and it didn’t make a difference in the game, or on the season. But don’t be surprised if teams will be targeting him for moments like this specifically. Durant choosing the Warriors and then “covering his tracks” has rubbed a lot of players and NBA personnel the wrong way. The Warriors and Durant have a target on their back, and if you can’t beat them, humiliating them for momentary celebrations is the next best thing.