The Warriors dropped their second game in three tries on Monday night in Los Angeles, as the Clippers pulled out a 121-116 overtime win over the defending champions.
Steph Curry’s absence was notable as he works his way back from a groin strain, and in his stead, Kevin Durant took on the role of main option. However, Durant was not the focal point late, as Klay Thompson caught fire down the stretch. On the Warriors final possession, Durant was pleading with Draymond Green for the basketball after a Clippers miss, but Green put his head down and took off up the floor, ultimately turning it over before Golden State could get off a game-winning shot attempt.
Afterwards, Durant and Green had to be separated on the bench by teammates, with DeMarcus Cousins walking Green away. Durant could be seen saying “just pass the damn ball” as he strode back out on the court for overtime. The Warriors ended up losing, and that five minute overtime period was apparently not enough to allow cooler heads to prevail. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears, the argument on the bench spilled into the locker room as teammates got onto Green for decision making.
It’s not the first time Durant and Green have had disagreements on the bench in a late-game situation, but it’s the first we’ve heard of such an argument lingering and causing continued tensions after the game. The Warriors aren’t known for having much in the way of locker room issues, but after the Finals last year, it was hinted at by some that they had to work through a lot internally to get to their second title.
This year, not only is the same core group back, but they have Durant’s free agency lingering over them again after he took another deal with the option to opt out and hit the open market this summer. There are plenty of reports indicating Durant may leave after this season, and one has to wonder if that will change the Warriors’ internal approach, as every time something like what happens with Draymond pops up, the whispers of Durant’s eventual departure will only grow louder.
According to Woj and Spears, there wasn’t a threat of physical altercation, but it was an “intense” exchange with Green defending himself against Durant and other teammates, who confronted him about his decision to charge up floor with the ball. The report also notes Durant’s impending free agency “heightens the sensitivity” of the incident. That said, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, he was told the argument didn’t involve much yelling and “emotions stayed in check” for the most part.
Still, the idea that the Warriors are doomed to implode this season seems far-fetched, but every seed of discontent planted in the Golden State locker room is a glimmer of hope for teams looking to swipe a title away from them this season.