Steph Curry and Kevin Durant Find a Nemesis Worth Taunting

The Warriors aren’t fans of Marat Kogut.

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 08:  Stephen Curry #30 and Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors during the first half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 08, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Durant and Curry find a new nemesis. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After years of unchecked dominance, the Golden State Warriors have finally found a worthy rival: Marat Kogut. He was a hot topic amongst the Warriors’ stars after Friday’s 131-130 overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Steph Curry said Kogut was “the MVP of tonight.” Kevin Durant called him “the best player on the floor.” This Kogut guy sounds pretty good! Let’s see what he looks like in action.

ATLANTA - JANUARY 15:  Head coach Alvin Gentry of the Phoenix Suns and referee Marat Kogut #68 (R) against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on January 15, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Oooooooh. He’s a referee. I get it. The Warriors were being sarcastic.

Kogut earned Golden State’s ire in the final seconds of overtime on Friday, when it looked as if Durant was fouled while hitting a game-tying 3-pointer. Kogut blew his whistle, but the official declared it a non-shooting infraction and didn’t let Durant attempt a 4-point play. Bad call or not, the Warriors still had a chance to tie the game, and Curry seized upon the opportunity with an absurdly difficult 3-pointer from the corner. Afterwards, he and Durant gleefully pointed at Kogut’s face in a rare moment of player-on-referee taunting.

The game was as good as over with 0.5 seconds remaining, but the officials called Durant for a foul on the ensuing inbounds play and sent Karl-Anthony Towns to the line for the win.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was unimpressed when asked about that final foul. “You mean when the lob was going 10 feet over the rim?” he said after the game.

During the postgame press scrum, Durant cited the potential fines he’d incur for complaining about the refs. “I wanna keep my money because they gave me two bullshit techs. Lemme just stop talking about the officiating,” he said, before continuing to talk about the officiating.

With LeBron James missing out on the playoffs, a new superstar has emerged to give the Warriors fits. “Marat is his name?” Durant asked reporters. “He’s one of the greatest refs of all time.”