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Three musings on a bemused Durant, cheap fouls, and the reborn Clippers

Durant and Green get into a tiff, KD gets got on his own move, and the Clippers are looking to steal the Pacific Division from the champs.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The shorthanded Golden State Warriors took an open-hand slap to the face from the Los Angeles Clippers last night in a 121-116 overtime loss. In the time we have in between this hiccup and tonight’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, I figured we could deliberate over three gold-blooded musings.

Sounds good? Cool!

Draymond Green and Kevin Durant have a disagreement

This morning, the top headline on the ESPN ticker was “Emotions flare between Durant, Green in loss”. Basically, with the score tied 106-106 in a hotly contested bout on the road, Green snatched a defensive rebound with five seconds left and turned up court. Eschewing a timeout (which the Dubs often do in these situations), he picked up his pace, ignoring the waving arms of Durant (a clutch MVP).

Klay Thompson (second greatest shooter alive) anxiously ran over to Green, looking for a pass that never came. So now you have Green turboing across half court with the two best scorers on the floor trailing behind him like two collies chasing a farmer’s truck down a long dirt road.

It appeared Green was on the verge of collecting the ball for a pass, but had it knocked away by the Clippers defense, sending him tumbling harmlessly to the floor as time expired.

Clearly, Durant couldn’t have been happy about that exchange.

One of my favorite Bay Area sports scribes Monte Poole summed it all up in his usual succinct, clear fashion:

There’s a good chance Green will tap his chest and offer a “my bad.”

Green also might wonder why Durant didn’t race up the floor along with him.

Durant may not have a good answer for that.

In the end, Green can justify his decision to keep the ball, while Durant can justify his desire to have it. They both have a point, but Durant’s seems a bit more valid.

“Just team spirit,” Shaun Livingston said per the ESPN article. “Team spirit. Guys wanted a different outcome than what happened. Obviously, Dray had the turnover, guys might have thought they were open or wanted the basketball, didn’t get it. Things happen like that in sports. But it was good to see some fire, some emotion.”

In that situation, all three Olympians reacted with their gut instincts according to their strengths. Green wants to push the floor and set teammates up, because he’s one of the greatest passing forwards of all time. Durant wants to get the ball early and survey how to dagger the opponent because he’s one of the greatest clutch scorers of all time. Thompson wants to probably shoot it as soon as he touches the ball because no one’s made more threes in a single game in NBA history.

They’ll figure it out.

KD gets fouled out on his own move

Oh man, this literally cracked me up when I saw it for two reasons.

1.) This is a HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE, ticky-tack judgment call on the reigning NBA Finals MVP in overtime of a contested game. KD had a triple-double at that point, slapping up 33 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. The refs had the audacity to kick him out of the game for incidental contact on a random swiping motion from Montrezl Harrell (who was killing the champs all night)?!

Wow. I personally feel that swiping motion is a bush league, ref baiting maneuver! An egregious affront to the game of roundball!

2.) Kevin Durant is the guy who patented that tricky, ref baiting foul in his many years of toiling in Oklahoma City.

It’s called the “Rip Through”. Check out this excerpt from Ben Detrick for ESPN’s now defunct Grantland back in 2011, discussing how the NBA was addressing the move:

The most egregious exploiter of the rip-through is easy to single out. Almost by himself, Kevin Durant turned an infrequent incident that lacked any specific name into a problem the league was compelled to address.

When Durant is hassled by a bulldog like Tony Allen, he swoops his arms in a half-moon arc into the defender’s arms and flings the ball feebly toward the basket. Visually, the result is a shot attempt so deformed and hideous that referees blow the whistle with the same instinct that might possess a Darwinist to stomp on a mutated, four-eyed frog. It’s unnatural.

While Durant is the poster child for the rip-through, other players have integrated the chintzy gimmick into offensive repertoires that otherwise consist of fine, polished china.

So yeah, I had to chuckle at KD’s brilliant trick coming full circle and being used against him. Unfortunately, it may have cost us a win against those damn Los Angeles Clippers.

Those Damn Los Angeles Clippers

The Clips-Dubs Pacific Division rivalry defined both franchises over the last five years. The Clippers were the last Western Conference foe to eliminate the Warriors out of the playoffs, and the Warriors responded with a 12 game win streak over L.A. that effectively buried the “Lob City”-era forever.

Since then, Clippers coach Doc Rivers has remade the franchise around a bunch of gritty, unselfish underdogs who play with heart. Last night they made the Warriors pay for any lapses.

Per Andrew Greif of the L.A. Times:

“We didn’t play very well at all for about, probably 40 minutes-plus,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Went through the motions. Not putting up a stand. And then our defense turned it up the last six minutes and that got us back in the game and gave us a chance to win. But we didn’t deserve it. It was their game. They outplayed us.”

The Clippers have a “different approach, a different attitude now,” Kerr said. “There’s been a lot of changes, and I think just from the outside looking in it looks like they’re refreshed and recharged. I’m impressed.”

Losing to the Clippers no longer feels like a referendum on the state of the Warriors potential. Three championships in four years and a roster chock full of Olympians has erased that concern for the Golden Empire. But the Clips are right behind the Warriors in the division race with an 8-5 record, only 2.5 games back behind the champs. If the Dubs don’t get it together, the Clippers might just make a run for the division.

Warriors laughing about the idea of the Clippers stealing the division crown
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Then again, let’s see how the Clippers respond to playing the back-to-back champions when the greatest point guard alive Stephen Curry and the behemoth DeMarcus Cousins join heal from their injuries.