The rivalry between the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors didn’t need more fuel thrown on its fire this season, but don’t tell that to Draymond Green. The Defensive Player of the Year candidate has amped up tension in basketball’s most heated matchup since 2014-2015 tipped off.
First he taunted Blake Griffin with a tongue-wag in early November. He traded media barbs with Doc Rivers in March following a post-game run-in – literally – with Dahntay Jones. And then he came down with a case of “Blake-itis” before the teams’ meeting last week.
The 25 year-old doesn’t like the Clippers, basically, and you don’t even need his frequent quips to realize it – Green’s extra physical, extra contentious play versus Blake Griffin and company is evidence enough. In a must-read story by Grantland’s Jonathan Abrams, though, the Warriors forward delved deeper into his disdain for Los Angeles’ best team.
“They have a cocky arrogance, like they’ve won something, and they haven’t done nothing,” Green said. “They pretty much been to the same spot in the playoffs we’ve been to. But they have this cockiness like you’re supposed to bow down to them. They ain’t proved nothing. They ain’t earned nothing. What respect have you earned?”
But couldn’t any Clippers player say the same thing about Green?
“I wouldn’t say that, because I don’t expect anybody to bow down to me,” Green said. “Nor do I expect you to respect me. I’m going to earn your respect. When it’s all said and done, you’ll respect me and our team.”
Sounds about right.
Hate for the Clippers isn’t restricted to fans. Well-connected national writers frequently touch on the league’s annoyance with Rivers’ club, mentioning Chris Paul’s antics, the team’s wild post-highlight celebrations, and its general disposition towards the game as justification for that rep.
And it’s easy to see why, especially considering Green’s comments.
Los Angeles really hasn’t won anything yet, but still carries an air of superiority of a group that has. That doesn’t necessarily bother us – we believe a team should hold whatever mindset it deems most conducive to winning – but we aren’t on the court with Paul, Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan, either. CP3’s constant jabbing of officials and subtly dirty play is far easier understood and brushed off from the couch than the floor, for instance.
While Green isn’t alone in his dislike for Los Angeles, though, he’s the only one in the league quite so transparent about it. Let’s just say we hope these Western powers meet in the playoffs, a prospect something close to likely assuming Los Angeles can hold-off the surging San Antonio Spurs for fifth-place.
You thought last year’s seven-game first round series between the Clips and Dubs was intense? Just wait until May.