With 50.6 seconds left, Durant bit on a pump fake by rookie Justin Anderson and swiped at the ball as Anderson went into his shooting motion. Durant's forearm hit Anderson in the face, and after review, Durant was tagged with a flagrant 2, which leads to an automatic ejection.
"I wasn't trying to hurt him," Durant said after the game. "Plenty of plays this season where I blocked shots like that from behind. Just unfortunate I fouled him over the head. It was a flagrant, even though I wasn't trying to intentionally foul him. The refs had to make a decision and they made the right one. It was just bad timing. I wasn't trying to hurt him.
"What happened tonight was unfortunate. I didn't mean to flagrant foul Justin Anderson."
Further discipline for Durant, including a suspension, is possible. The NBA office reviews all flagrant 2 fouls.
Durant walked to midcourt following his ejection and tapped his chest toward the Mavs' bench, saying, "My bad." He said he also texted Anderson following the game to apologize. Durant and Anderson, who both attended Montrose Christian High School, took a picture together after the game in the hall of the arena with their coach at Montrose, Stu Vetter.
Anderson told ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon that he hasn't seen the replay of Durant's flagrant foul. Asked if he thought there was any malicious intent by Durant, Anderson said, "I have no clue. I haven't talked to him about it."
On Friday, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle called out the Thunder for their "physical" tactics, naming Durant specifically for what he perceived to be a dirty play in the third quarter of Game 3. Durant elbowed Salah Mejri and was assessed a technical foul a day later.
"I thought that Durant foul was tough, obviously," Dirk Nowitzki said. "They were up, whatever, double digits with under a minute to go. I think that was unnecessary. Everything else was in the flow of the game to me. I don't think anything else was bad, but I think that foul was just not necessary at all."
Carlisle declined to discuss the foul or the physicality of the game or series.
"I'm not commenting on the extracurricular physical activity in the series," Carlisle said in a text message to Mavs beat reporters. "I'm sure the league office is looking at all that stuff in high definition."
There were double-technical fouls called in the second quarter of Game 4, when Thunder guard Anthony Morrow, who was sitting on the bench,wouldn't give the ball to Mejri after an OKC turnover. Mejri tried to grab it, Morrow gave a shove and words were exchanged. It ended with Mejri and Russell Westbrook being issued technicals. The series has had a flurry of altercations and hard fouls, leading some to wonder if the teams are crossing the line.
"I don't believe they're trying to hurt us, and we're not trying to hurt them," Durant said. "That's the most important thing we should try to get out of it. Nobody's looking to injure anybody. We're just playing the game. There's some stuff, we're going to do some talking, we're going to do some shoving here and there because that's how competitive both teams are. But for the most part, no one's dirty. I know Carlisle and [Mavericks owner Mark] Cuban will tell you guys that, but we're just going out there and playing."
Durant failed to score 20 points in a game for the first time since Nov. 10, 2015, against the Wizards, when he left at halftime with a hamstring strain after scoring 14. Durant finished the regular season scoring at least 20 points in 64 straight games, and he carried that over to the first three games of the series against Dallas before leaving with 19 in Game 4.
The Thunder lead the series 3-1. Game 5 is Monday in Oklahoma City.
Durant: I wasn't trying to hurt Anderson
During his postgame news conference, Kevin Durant explains that he wasn't trying to hurt Justin Anderson when he hit him in the face and subsequently was tagged with a flagrant foul 2.
KD gets ejected after flagrant foul
Kevin Durant gets a flagrant foul for smacking Mavs forward Justin Anderson in the face and gets ejected from the game.