OAKLAND -- Though coach Steve Kerr acknowledged discomfort with JaVale McGee launching a 3-pointer in the final seconds of a game in which the Warriors led the Wizards by 22 points, his players generally defended the backup center.
“What’s JaVale supposed to do? Let the clock run out and get a turnover?” wondered Klay Thompson after a 139-115 victory Sunday night. “It’s basketball.”
The Wizards, notably John Wall and Brandon Jennings -- who purposely fouled McGee on the play -- lit into McGee and the Warriors for taking a shot they considered disrespectful.
“Whenever a team’s up like that, you’re supposed to just hold and ball and take a shot clock violation,” Wall said. “What Brandon did, I don’t think it was dirty. I think it was the right play. You don’t let nobody try to embarrass you. I think that’s what they were trying to do.”
The Warriors were up 137-115 when McGee, with about eight seconds left in the game and six seconds left on the shot clock, fired a 3-pointer from the right corner. Jennings shoved the airborne center in the midsection, with McGee sprawling out of bounds afterward.
“I shot it because we’d rather have a missed shot than a turnover,” McGee said.
“It’s just a rule; I learned it when I first came into the league not to do that,” Jennings said. “You’re already up 20 almost (actually 22), and then for him to do it, it was like, ‘All right, come on. Chill out. Now you’re trying to embarrass us.’ ”
The officiating crew reviewed the play, determining the Jennings committed a flagrant-1 foul (unnecessary contact). McGee went to the line and made two of three free throws.
“Thank God he didn’t go to the rack,” said Jennings, who after fouling McGee walked away with an expression of disgust. “It probably would have been worse for him. At a time like that I think you should just let the clock run out.”
Though Kerr doesn’t believe in letting the shot clock run out, he also thought a 3-pointer under those conditions was superfluous.
“When you have a lead like that, you shouldn’t be shooting a 3-pointer,” he said. “I told (McGee) that. I think he understands that. I don’t have a problem taking a shot when there is a shot-clock differential. 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 3 either.”
Though Kerr said he apologized to Wizards coach Scott Brooks, his players had a different interpretation of the rules of basketball etiquette.
“We had to shoot a shot or take a turnover,” Draymond Green said. “We always shoot the ball in that situation. We don’t really take turnovers. Whether you shoot a 2 or a 3, it’s a shot.
“I think because it was JaVale, people may say it’s disrespectful,” Green added. “But JaVale actually works on it. I’m not in favor of him working on it, but he works on that every day.”
Though McGee said he was unbothered by the postgame fuss put up by the Wizards, Jennings was annoyed prior to McGee’s 3-point attempt.
“I think it was already disrespectful that they were trying to get Draymond Green his triple-double and Steph was out there with 40,” Jennings said. “I just felt it was disrespectful.
“I’m old school. Like I said, he better be glad he shot that 3 and didn’t go to the rack.”
Given the Warriors’ position atop the Western Conference and Washington’s status as a solid top-four team in the East, it’s conceivable, if not probable, these teams could meet in the NBA Finals.
In which case things could get very interesting.