Warriors

Confused by ruling, Kerr insinuates reputation played role in Draymond's fine

Confused by ruling, Kerr insinuates reputation played role in Draymond's fine

OAKLAND -- Draymond Green’s NBA past resurfaced on Friday and again on Sunday, biting him on both days.

The league announced Sunday that it was fining Green $25,000 for his part in a Friday-night skirmish with Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who took a $50,000 fine. Both players were ejected after their clash late in the second quarter.

That Beal appeared to be the aggressor on Friday was confirmed upon review of NBA discipline czar Kiki VanDeWeghe.

Still, Green, who frequently attracts the attention of the league office, was fined.

“We all saw the video,” Green said quietly, with a measure of resignation, before the Warriors-Pistons game Sunday afternoon at Oracle Arena.

“I’m a little confused,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said during his pregame news conference. “I don’t know how you get fined 25 grand for being attacked.”

The clash unfolded late in the second quarter, seconds after Green blocked a shot from Beal and had a few words for the guard. Four seconds later, as Green boxed out Beal on a 3-point attempt by Washington forward Kelly Oubre Jr., Beal swung from behind Green and connected to his face.

Green turned and grabbed Beal around the chest area and began walking him backward. When they feel a few steps later, Beal landed on top of Green, by which time members of both teams were rushing into the scuffle.

Two Wizards players, Markieff Morris and Carrick Felix, received mandatory suspensions for leaving the bench, while Oubre was fined $15,000 for “aggressively entering the altercation.”

Green was the only Warriors player to receive a measure of discipline.

“(There was) some curious stuff in there,” Kerr said. “It looked to me like Oubre came out there running into the crowd and caused a lot more . . . Draymond was the one who was attacked in the first place. Seems like maybe those fines could have been reversed.

“But it’s not my job, fortunately.”

VanDeWeghe’s wing of the NBA office has had a number of interactions with Green over the past several years, partly due to his fiery temperament and most famously when slapping him with a one-game suspension during the 2016 NBA Finals, which the Warriors lost in seven games to the Cavaliers.

Insofar as he was whacked twice -- once in the face and once in the pocketbook -- Green in some ways absorbed more pain than Beal, who initiated the scuffle, and surely was hit harder than Oubre, who charged into the scrum throwing punches.

“I don't know what I'm supposed to do if someone hits you twice," Green told ESPN on Friday. "Man, you're taught as a kid not to allow that. What was I supposed to do?”

While Beal was fined by the league for “initiating the incident,” the NBA cited Green’s fine was because he “continued the incident by confronting Beal and failing to disengage from him.”

“It seemed like maybe there’s some prior reputation involved,” said Kerr, who had not yet spoken to VanDeWeghe.

Jordan Bell: Rookie year with Warriors 'like being a freshman all over again'

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AP

Jordan Bell: Rookie year with Warriors 'like being a freshman all over again'

Warriors rookie Jordan Bell made an instant impact for the team this season. But as of late, his playing time has dwindled. In four of the Warriors' last five games, Bell has been inactive. 

“It's just the life of a rookie,” Bell said to The Athletic. “That's what Steve Kerr always tells me. It's not because I'm playing bad. Just gotta be professional about it and stay ready. It's like being a freshman all over again.”

While Bell wants to be on the court with his teammates, what he appreciates most from Steve Kerr is his communication. Kerr is always honest about when he won't play Bell and he keeps the former Oregon Duck encouraged. 

“He talks to me about it every time he sees me,” Bell said. “Lets me know I'm not going to be active. Keep doing what you're doing, you're doing good. But it still f------ sucks. You're playing well and it doesn't mean anything because you're younger. It sucks, but you got to be professional about it.”

Bell has played in 12 of the Warriors' 18 games this season. The 22-year-old is averaging 3.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game over 8.3 minutes per game. 

The Warriors bought the 38th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft from the Chicago Bulls and selected Bell. On Friday night, the Warriors, and perhaps Bell, play the Bulls for the first time this season. 

One thing is pretty clear about these Warriors after 2-2 road trip

One thing is pretty clear about these Warriors after 2-2 road trip

The Warriors are not ready to flip their seek-and-destroy switch. Not yet.

They’re closer to being ready than, say, their longtime rivals in Cleveland, but in going 2-2 on this four-game road trip the Warriors showed they are nowhere near full annihilation mode.

They went into Oklahoma City Wednesday night and, in gulping down a 108-91 loss on national TV, came away looking more vulnerable than they have in any game this season. The 17-point loss was their largest margin of defeat and this was awful close to being a wire-to-wire rout.

The Warriors defense, so splendid during the seven-game win streak they took out of town last week, was inconsistent throughout and downright atrocious by their standards as they concluded the trip.

Their offense, which had begun reducing the turnovers to acceptable levels, came apart like a pair of $3 sneakers.

Even their body language, aside from two well-deserved technical fouls, seemed to mostly vacillate between whispers and a whimpers.

“We didn’t have any focus or concentration,” coach Steve Kerr said. “The ‘millennials’ couldn’t lock in tonight. And their coach couldn’t do much either. Long night for us.”

These were not the Warriors who posted seven consecutive double-digit wins, and they’re certainly not the team that found its competitive blowtorches last April. They weren’t visible in this game, nor were they seen for most of this road trip.

This, ahem, regular-season road trip.

That’s the catch. Last April is when the playoffs got underway, and next April is when the 2018 playoffs begin. The time between now and then is for experimenting, fine-tuning and fighting through the monotonous joys of victory -- a factor on vivid display Wednesday night.

“We played with some decent energy,” Stephen Curry said. “We just didn’t play smart.”

“They completely outplayed us, outcoached us,” Kerr said. “It was just their night. It was absolutely their night. They brought the energy, they brought the juice, they brought the intelligence. And we didn’t bring any of that.”

The Warriors entered the game after studying video and stats that illustrated OKC’s ability to disrupt an offense. The Thunder leads the NBA in steals, deflections and -- this one punches the Warriors in the gut -- forcing turnovers.

The Warriors committed 22 giveaways, leading directly to 34 Thunder points.

“Thirty-four points off turnovers, you can’t win like that,” Draymond Green said.

“I’ve got to do a better job of getting them ready to play,” Kerr said. “We have a pretty loose, fun atmosphere around here. That’s great, but there are certain times where it’s like, ‘All right guys. Let’s throw it to our team. Let’s execute the play. Let’s remember the play.’ ”

Kevin Durant bemoaned the “silly turnovers” that were such a factor in the game, blaming it players rather than Kerr and his staff.

“For the most part he can’t control that type of stuff,” said Durant, whose four turnovers were second to Curry’s team-high six. “We’ve got to be better at keeping the ball in our hands, shooting more shots than our opponents and playing defense.”

Added Green: “We were pretty well-prepared. We just played bad.”

That happens to even the best of teams, a category in which the defending champions fit quite snugly. No team, not even the Chicago Bulls of the maniacally competitive Michael Jordan, is able to bring its best for 82 games a season.

The Warriors blew two 17-point leads, one in second quarter and another in the third, in losing at Boston.

They fell behind by 24 in the third quarter to the 76ers before coming back to win in Philadelphia before recovering the next night to submit their best performance of the trip in routing Brooklyn.

And in OKC, against a Thunder team that would seem to get their full attention, the Warriors were outhustled, outsmarted and played with considerably less fury.

“Right now, we’re just in a little bit of rut, where we’ve got to focus,” Kerr said. “And I know we will. We’ve done this many times in the past and bounced back. And we’ll bounce back. We need to lock in and tighten up everything.”

They will, eventually. It could happen next week, or next month, or after the calendar turns to 2018. They’ll turn it on and become the team of terror, punishing all before them. It might be April, though.

This road game indicated some truth, though, which is there will be games over the next four months in which they will lose the battle with themselves.