OAKLAND (CBS SF/AP) — The Golden State Warriors suspended Draymond Green for Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks after a heated exchange with teammate Kevin Durant following an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The team said it took the action for “conduct detrimental to the team.”
Team General Manager Bob Myers and Head Coach Steve Kerr addressed the situation with reporters Tuesday afternoon ahead of the Warriors’ game against Atlanta at Oracle Arena Tuesday evening.
“We just felt like this rose to the level of acting the way we did,” Myers said, noting of Green: “He was professional. He loves to play basketball, which is all you can ask of him.”
The Warriors made the announcement about four hours before they were set to host Atlanta, and the 28-year-old Green was serving the suspension against the Hawks. He wasn’t at Oracle Arena and didn’t immediately respond to a text message seeking comment.
“I think we’ll be fine,” Kerr said. “We’re a team that goes through stuff, just like everybody else. And things happen, bumps in the road. You’ve got to move forward. It’s all part of coaching a team, it’s all part of being on a team. You have to get through the adversity and there are some difficult times and you just get through them.”
Golden State had rallied Monday night, outscoring Los Angeles 11-0 in the final five minutes to tie the contest at 106-106. With the final seconds ticking down, Green attempt to dribble through traffic only to lose the ball and fail to get a shot off as time expired.
Emotions boiled over on the bench between Green and Durant before the overtime session began with injured center DeMarcus Cousins acting as a peace keeper.
The Warriors rally fell short in overtime as two turnovers in the final minute led to a 121-116 Clippers win.
Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com reported that the heated emotions carried over to the locker room after the game as teammates reportedly loudly confronted Green for his decision-making on the final play of regulation.
For everyone who figures this franchise is perfect, Myers quickly cleared up that notion.
“It’s hard to win a championship. You can’t allow anything else in your locker room, in the narrative. This team has done a good job of that,” Myers said. “I know it may appear as if it’s looked easy over the last however many years. It’s not. If you’re in our locker room, if you’re in our organization, it’s hard.
“And so they’ll get through it, and we’ll keep moving. Hopefully we get to the finals and win a championship. That’s all anybody’s thinking about, because I think that’s all you can think about. That’s something that we’re going to keep doing. This team has proven that they will do that and continue to do that and have done that.”
Myers and Kerr have long supported Green’s fiery nature that leads to technical fouls. Myers even sat with Green next door to Oracle Arena at the Oakland Coliseum when Green was suspended for a crucial Game 5 loss to LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. The Warriors wound up losing in seven.
Green apologized after yelling at Kerr during halftime of a game at Oklahoma City in February 2016.
“My feeling on Draymond and his impact on our team doesn’t change. These things happen sometimes over the course of an NBA season,” Kerr said. “We deal with it — again, internally — so any conversations that are happening or have happened it’s our business.”
This wasn’t the first verbal altercation between Durant, the two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP, and Green. In another overtime loss, 109-106 at Sacramento on Feb. 4, 2017, they shouted at each other and argued near the bench.
“How you handle things after they happen is the most important thing,” Myers said.
Kerr said he spoke to Green, who was part of the recruiting group that worked to sway Durant to the Bay Area from Oklahoma City before the 2016-17 season.
“They’ve won championships together, they’ve been teammates, now this is the third season, they were teammates on the Olympic team,” Kerr said. “Draw your own conclusions.”