About Last Night

About Last Night: Warriors face challenge with Green's suspension

How will Warriors respond taking immediate action to address Green's emotional confrontation with Kevin Durant?

Dan McCarney, NBA.com

Let the speculation begin.

Was Draymond Green’s sideline eruption Monday in Los Angeles merely the latest in his periodic series of blowups, or a symptom of deeper issues plaguing the seemingly impervious Warriors?

What we know for sure: The Warriors certainly didn’t take the ugly incident lightly, suspending the combustible All-Star one game without pay.

That amounts to peanuts for a player slated to make more than $17 million this season. But the larger statement speaks volumes. Even for a team accustomed to Green’s volatility, the sight of him angrily cursing out teammate Kevin Durant on the bench was a bridge too far.

How Green will respond to his punishment is anybody’s guess.

Warriors general manager Bob Myers described the seven-year veteran as “professional” when told of the suspension before Tuesday’s 110-103 victory over the Hawks.

And coach Steve Kerr is no stranger to internecine strife. Not only has he managed Green for five seasons, he played alongside — and memorably fought with — the notoriously demanding Michael Jordan, as well as one-man sideshow Dennis Rodman, with the Bulls.

In Kerr’s telling, his skirmish with Jordan actually brought the two together. It surely helped that Jordan called within hours of their fight.

According to Myers, that had yet to happen between Durant and Green as Tuesday’s game tipped off. But neither he nor Kerr expect Monday’s blowup or the ensuing suspension to significantly impede the Warriors in their quest to win a third straight championship.

“I know it may appear as if it’s looked easy over the last however many years; it’s not,” Myers said. “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.”

“I think we’ll be fine,” Kerr said. “Draymond is always going to be who he is. He’s a powerful force. He’s a huge reason why we’ve had so much success here.”

Others, however, aren’t so sure. Various observers described Myers and Kerr as being visibly shaken over the incident during their media availability. Some wondered if Green’s anger stemmed less from Monday’s game than lingering resentment over Durant’s refusal to commit to the Warriors long term.

Durant’s first public comments were more cranky than conciliatory. While minimizing the incident — “(Expletive) happens in the NBA,” he said — Durant didn’t exactly bend over backwards to extend any olive branches.

“What happened, happened,” he said. “I don’t really think that matters at this point (whether he and Green are friendly).”

If you want to get really deep in the weeds, enterprising lip readers found footage of Durant seemingly muttering “this is why I’m out” under his breath while heading back on the court Monday — a possible allusion to his impending free-agent decision.

Will Durant stay, or will he go?

Will Green’s temperament sink the Warriors again?

With DeMarcus Cousins nearing his return to give them an unprecedented fifth active All-Star, are they simply too good for any of it to matter?

“Who knows?” Durant said. “We’ll see.”

Back on track?

Two games do not a turnaround make. But the Rockets are finally starting to look like their old selves with another solid offensive performance in Tuesday’s 109-99 road victory over the Nuggets.

Two days after shelling the Pacers with 20 3-pointers, the Rockets shot 54.9 percent from the floor to pull within a game of .500 at 6-7. That’s still light years from where they expect to be. But after a miserable 1-5 start compounded by the Carmelo Anthony saga, the Rockets will surely take any lifeline they can get.

”It’s going to take time, but we’re getting there,” said James Harden, who racked up 22 points and 11 assists. “If we keep guarding and defending at a high level our offense will come around. Once we put both together, it’s going to get scary.”

Why they play the games

The Cavaliers entered Tuesday’s action with the worst defensive rating in the entire NBA at 114.4 points allowed per 100 possessions. Not only that, they were down five rotation players.

So of course they promptly locked up the Hornets, limiting the NBA’s fourth-best offensive team to 89 points on 34.7-percent shooting. Adjusted for pace, Charlotte’s rate of 91.8 points per 100 possessions for the game was nearly 23 below its usual production.

The Cavs did an especially impressive job on Kemba Walker. The league’s third-leading scorer coming in at 27.9 points per game, he managed a paltry seven while missing 14 of 16 shots.

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