OAKLAND, Calif. — With every sport comes a set of unwritten rules, or implied customs, if you will. Traditional games like golf and baseball tend to have more of these rules. Why? Perhaps because some people still like to pretend we live in the year 1887.
But even the most popular professional sports, like football and basketball, have sets of unwritten rules. Well, maybe not so much for NFL players, because those dudes are straight ruthless. But, in basketball, we got to see first-hand last night what happens when a player doesn’t follow an unwritten NBA rule that was established to encourage players to show respect for their opponents.
With 6.9 seconds remaining in regulation and the Warriors up by 22, JaVale McGee attempted a three-pointer from the right corner. Wizards’ guard Brandon Jennings gave McGee a full, two-handed shove to the chest and was rightfully given a flagrant-one foul for his actions.
I may be in the minority on this one, but I don’t blame Jennings for his actions.
Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr said that the end of the game was strange and that McGee should not have taken a three at that particular moment. But this is where it gets tricky. There was a 2.1-second differential between the shot clock and the game clock, which is significant because if the Warriors did not shoot the ball they would have taken an unnecessary turnover. The entire point of the shot clock is to force teams to not hold the ball and run the clock out.
“I don’t have a problem taking a shot when there is a shot-clock differential,” Kerr said after the Warriors 139-115 win over the Wizards. “I never understood why a team would be offended if there is a shot-clock differential. Why dribble out the clock and take a turnover? I don’t think you should shoot a three either. I guess that’s what (Brandon) Jennings was upset about.”
Now, I don’t think it was the fact that the Warriors were taking a three in that particular moment that made Jennings and the Wizards upset. Until a couple of days ago, the Warriors held the NBA record for most three’s made in a single season and they have two of the deadliest three-point shooters in league history in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Shooting three-pointers is what the Warriors do.
But, in this case, it was not the shot type but who shot the three. JaVale McGee is a center who is 1-for-10 lifetime from deep. He is not someone who shoots (or makes) a bunch of three-pointers.
If Curry had chucked up a 30-footer as the clock expired, I feel the Wizards could live with that ... because, you know, Steph’s gonna Steph. But imagine if McGee hit that three-pointer. It not only would have the Warriors at 140 points (which is a shit-ton), but it would have been all over ESPN and sports talk shows the next day.
McGee said after the game that if there was no shot clock he wouldn’t have shot the ball, which I believe. But he shouldn’t have been given the ball in the first place to even be put in that type of situation.
Kerr said that he apologized to Wizards head coach Scott Brooks after the game, who was visibly not happy with the end result. “There was absolutely no offense on our part,” Kerr said. “We weren’t trying to pour it on or offend anybody.”
“I’m not worried about what they’re trying to do,” Brooks told reporters after the game. “I’m focused on how we play and how we want to continue to play. That’s none of my business.”
Whether Jennings was right or wrong for his actions is a moot point in the grand scheme of things. It’s not the first time that the Warriors have been seen lambasting their opponents.
Meanwhile, Golden State had its best offensive game since Kevin Durant’s injury. The Warriors shot 56.2% from the field and 44.4% from three-point range. Draymond Green recorded a triple-double and Curry dropped 42 points and dished out 8 assists. The Warriors are the most arrogant team in the league, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
Golden State also has a rested Kevin Durant set to return in the coming weeks. This upcoming playoff run will not be for the faint of heart.