Thursday night’s Game 3 between the Bucks and visiting Nets was ugly in more ways than one. Not only was Thursday’s rock fight in Milwaukee the lowest-scoring game of the playoffs (the teams combined for just 169 points), but it was also quite contentious at times with officials stepping in to separate Kevin Durant and P.J. Tucker, who got literally nose-to-nose with each other during a heated third-quarter exchange (both were charged with technical fouls). Though he had hoped to diffuse the situation, a security guard’s actions seemed to have the opposite effect, escalating the conflict with Tucker, who took exception to being shoved. Enraged, the Bucks enforcer had to be restrained by teammates Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.
In his post-game wrap for The Athletic, NBA reporter Joe Vardon shed light on the dustup, noting that the security member who got between Durant and Tucker was actually Durant’s personal bodyguard, who Vardon claims is on the Nets’ payroll. There seem to be conflicting reports, however, as Brandon Robinson of Bally Sports was told the guard who rushed the floor Thursday was not specifically assigned to Durant, acknowledging that teams around the league have heightened their security presence in the wake of recent fan behavior, including an incident in Boston where a Celtics supporter launched a water bottle in the direction of Kyrie Irving.
True or not, Thursday’s events have already inspired a parody account with Twitter user “nihilist_bucks” now going by the pseudonym “KD’s bodyguard.”
It’s not unusual for celebrities to hire their own security staff to serve as a buffer when out in public, though what we witnessed Thursday with Durant’s alleged bodyguard rushing to his defense in the middle of a game may have been a first. Durant led Brooklyn with 30 points in Game 3 but was highly inefficient, shooting just 11-of-28 from the floor (39.3 percent) while committing four turnovers in the losing effort. The Nets, who also lost Game 3 of their first-round series with Boston, will look to pick themselves up when they return to the hardwood Sunday at 3 PM ET on ABC.