Clint Capela was feeling himself, and the Houston Rockets, and their chances to win this year’s title, following Saturday night’s win over the Golden State Warriors. Although the sportsbooks like SBGGlobal Sportsbook still have the Warriors as the clear odds on favorites to win the title again.
And Kevin Durant didn’t take too kindly to the 23-year-old’s moment of self-indulgence.
As a refresher, here’s what Capela said, per ESPN.com’s Tim MacMahon:
“We’re confident because we know if we’re doing what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to beat them,” Rockets center Clint Capela told ESPN. “We’ve got to keep playing. We know that they’re going to come back if we have the lead, and we’ve just got to keep that mindset. Sometimes I feel like, in the past, we were all dragging down after mistakes. But today, we were ready. I think that if we’re doing what we’re supposed to do on defense — all the switches, the weak side — and keep playing our offense by keeping that mentality all game long, we have the weapons to beat them.
“We are better than them.”
Now we fast forward to Monday, and Durant’s response to Capela’s confident take, per ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes:
“You hear it from guys like Capela,” Durant said. “Usually he’s catching the ball and laying it up from CP [Chris Paul] or James Harden. His job is not as hard. When your job is that hard, you know you can’t just come out there and say s— like that. I don’t expect that from CP and James and [Trevor] Ariza and the rest of the guys like that because they know how hard it is to come out and do that every night. Capela, catch and dunk every night. It’s pretty easy for him.”
Almost as easy as, say, joining a 73-win team in free agency, Kevin?
Durant’s response is oddly personal. Capela gave more of a rah-rah response, highlighting what his team does well. And him believing they’re the better squad is hardly worthy any type of reaction. Professional basketball players have faith in themselves and their team. This isn’t new.
For Durant to come back and fire shots at Capela’s job description feels over the top. Maybe he’s still bent out of shape about Saturday’s loss. Or perhaps the quote was relayed to him haphazardly—delivered out of context, by design, in order to incite an out-of-context response.
At any rate, both Capela and Durant are wrong. The Rockets are not better than the Warriors, but Capela shouldn’t be any less vocal than other players simplify because he fills a hyper-specific role (that he’s damn good within).