instant classic between the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder had it all — several stars operating at or near their peaks, one of the most incredible game-winners we’ll ever see, a record night for Stephen Curry, and several very dramatic plays in crunch time. It also had one of the weirder stat lines in recent memory courtesy of All-Star forward Draymond Green — two points on 0-of-8 shooting, 14 rebounds, 14 assists, six steals, and four blocks.Saturday’s
Unfortunately for Green, he gained even more attention for a halftime tirade in the locker room that allegedly involved him saying he wouldn’t come out for the second half due to a lack of involvement. Details on its substance have been scant, but Green apologized for his actions to the media on Monday. From Janie McCauley of the Associated Press:
”I admit my mistakes. I made a mistake. I admitted my mistakes to my teammates, my coaching staff,” Green said after practice Monday. ”I apologized to my teammates and my coaching staff, this organization. That wasn’t the right way to handle what needed to be handled. As a leader of this team, I can’t do that because it sets a bad precedent how everything is ran around here, how everything should be ran, how everything has been ran and how everything will run going forward. It won’t happen again. It’s something where my emotions kind of got ahead of me and I let my emotions get the best of me.” […]
”This is the way life is these days. There’s 24-hour sports talk shows on the radio, on TV, and we’re in the spotlight because of our record,” [Steve] Kerr said. ”It doesn’t bother us that everyone’s talking about it. We know it was handled internally. We all love each other and we’re good. … You guys all know how emotional he is. That’s one of the things that makes him great, is his passion and his intensity. I think we’re doing OK. We won the championship last year, what’s our record now, 53-5? I think his emotion is good for us.
”At times it bubbles over but for anybody to say, ‘Oh no, we should look out, what’s coming next?’ Come on.” […]
”I would never quit on my teammates as some have reported,” Green said. ”I would never quit on my coaching staff, I would never quit on this organization. This organization has given me everything I could ask for. I support and represent this organization to the best of my ability. That’s not who I am, that’s not who I’ve been and that’s not who I will become.” […]
”We know he’ll never quit, he’ll never do anything to put our production on the floor in jeopardy,” Curry said. ”He’s invested in what we’re doing. Obviously he’s an emotional guy, a fiery guy. That’s what we love about him, what he brings to the court. It spilled over to the locker room but I’ve been in this league a long time, that wasn’t the first time it’s happened. The way we were able to respond was a testament to our team and him as an individual to understand it probably shouldn’t have happened. We came out and stayed united.”
Whatever happened in the locker room, it should be fairly apparent that Green did not quit on the Warriors in any demonstrable fashion. He played 44 of the 53 minutes and made plays all over the court. His scoring touch was not present on the night, but a guy does not put up the numbers he did without being interested in the game. We call rebounds, steals, and blocks “hustle stats” for a reason.
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The lingering question is if the views he put forth in the locker room affect the Warriors over the long term. It’s impossible to predict due to both the vague details of his statements and the intricacies of the personalities involved, but we should probably take the Warriors at their word when they say it’s not a huge deal. For one thing, Green is a talkative and emotional player, so it probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that he would get upset at something in the middle of a competitive game. The result of the night is sure to help things, too.
If this story has become bigger than it is to the Warriors, then it’s likely because anything that could possibly derail the team’s historically fantastic form stands out as potentially important. In the absence of key injuries or on-court issues, a locker room tirade seems like a potential source of strife. On the other hand, the fact that the Warriors appear ready to put the incident behind them is in keeping with recent history. As ever, Golden State looks on the same page.
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