Draymond Green competitive fire led to an open conflict with a teammate Kevin Durant last night that apparently didn’t end on the court. On the final possession in regulation of last night’s eventual 121-116 overtime loss to the LA Clippers, Green drew the ire of teammate Kevin Durant. Green decided to keep the ball following a critical stop and the score tied in the final seconds of regulation. Despite Durant’s pleading, Green dribbled the length of the court for a would-be last shot and promptly lost control of the ball as time expired.
Kevin Durant & Draymond Green get into a heated exchange after Draymond failed to get a shot off at the end of regulation during the Warriors loss to the Clippers. pic.twitter.com/uYROz4bld1
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) November 13, 2018
That led to an angry exchange on the bench before Durant fouled out in OT — he finished with 33 points to Green’s six.
As you can see, Kevin Durant appeared to confront Draymond Green about the decision as Golden State huddled together before overtime. The frustrations spilled over into the locker room in what was described as “one of the most intense” locker room scenes to date for this Warriors regime.
The discord between Durant and Green carried over into the locker room after the game. Additionally, the conflict wasn’t just limited to Green and Durant as others confronted Green for his late-game decision-making.
“Just team spirit,” Livingston said. “Team spirit. Guys wanted a different outcome than what happened. Obviously, Dray had the turnover, guys might have thought they were open or wanted the basketball, didn’t get it. Things happen like that in sports. But it was good to see some fire, some emotion.”
The Warriors certainly didn’t sound concerned that any hard feelings between Durant and Green in the moment would linger. They knew they didn’t execute at times when they needed to and are confident they will bounce back on Tuesday night against the Atlanta Hawks — another game they will be without Curry, as he continues to recover from a strained left groin.
“When we lock in we’re the best defensive team in the world,” the Warriors’ Klay Thompson said. “We proved that the last few years, we got the best switching ability in the league. … Unfortunately we lost, but we’ll see them again a couple times and be better.”
As for whether he was impressed by the Clippers’ defensive acumen, Thompson brushed off any major praise.
“I mean they’re good,” he said. “But they’re nothing special.”
Draymond Green confronted Kevin Durant about his impending free agency as Green was being confronted by multiple teammates about his decision making at the end of regulation during Monday’s loss by the Golden State Warriors to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Durant will be a free agent in 2019 and his status with the Warriors remains uncertain.
This isn’t the first public confrontation between the two. Following an overtime loss to the Kings in February 2017, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant yelled in each other’s faces. A couple of months before that, after yet another overtime loss, this time to the Grizzlies, Green shouted at Durant after a botched play. KD downplayed the events to reporters: “We’re grown men, ain’t nobody hollering at me,” he said when asked about the Kings incident the following November.
Draymond Green is the only Warrior Kevin Durant could argue with. Steph Curry is a charmer who winks at the crowd, the “I’m a dad who does Brita commercials” kind of leader. Klay Thompson is best known for his selfless 3-point shooting (the kind that once allowed him to drop 60 points in a game after only holding the ball for a whopping 90 total seconds), for looking stoned, and for dancing in China (not necessarily in that order). Green is the most ignitable. A bench argument is not necessarily a sign of a broken relationship, especially when Green is on one end of it. (As Minnesota and Washington have taught us, that can happen behind closed doors, like, say, in a practice, or a locker room.)
The exchange continued in the locker room, with other Warriors teammates also confronting Green, describing it as “one of the most intense” moments this iteration of the Warriors has had. Even if this is something the team quickly moves past (Green’s done worse; for context, watch Game 4 of the 2016 Finals), it will look terrible in hindsight if Durant leaves this summer.
This latest flare-up puts Green’s role with the Warriors into focus: He could be the player who ends the dynasty prematurely—or keeps it going. He’s reportedly eyeing a supermax when his contract is up in 2020, which Green would be eligible for if he is voted MVP or Defensive Player of the Year, or makes one of the three All-NBA teams next season. It would be the most lucrative contract in NBA history, and Green would be 30. Because Curry and Durant will always come first contractually, that makes Green, his relationship with KD, and whether he’s inclined to give up what he believes he’s owed for the better of the team, the central figure of all future plans in Golden State. The question is whether or not he’s willing to pass.