Wizards rip McGee over 'disrespectful' late shot; Warriors respond

Wizards rip McGee over 'disrespectful' late shot; Warriors respond

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.


Without Green, Iguodala, fourth quarter turns into disaster for Warriors vs Rockets

Without Green, Iguodala, fourth quarter turns into disaster for Warriors vs Rockets

OAKLAND -- The defending champion Warriors started cracking in the hours before tipoff Tuesday night and broke apart when they usually come together.

The fourth quarter was a disaster area and it cost the Warriors, as the Houston Rockets wiped out a 13-point deficit and tagged them with a 122-121 loss before a stunned sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

So ends, as it should, the spurious notion of a rubber-stamp championship for the Warriors. A strain here and a tweak there and they found themselves on the painful end of the score.

The Warriors learned prior to the game that forward Andre Iguodala, their valuable Sixth Man, would be out nursing a strained back. They were hit with another injury, this one to Draymond Green, who was highly effective, late in the third quarter.

“He was our best player tonight,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was the guy who was bringing the energy and the life.”

Green’s numbers -- 9 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists -- barely hint at his value in this game. Green and Iguodala are the primary defensive communicators, and Green held it down fairly well -- until he, too, was gone.

“Our communication wasn’t very good and we didn’t stick to the game plan; we gave them too many wide-open threes,” said Klay Thompson, who scored 11 first-quarter points but only 5 over the final three.

“We did a good job in the half-court of keeping them in front,” said Kevin Durant, who also scolded himself for committing eight turnovers. “But in transition we got cross-matched so many times and we just didn’t communicate well enough.”

Games aren’t always lost in the fourth, despite the frequent narrative, but this one most assuredly was. With Green in the locker room accompanied by ice, the Warriors were outscored 34-20 in the fourth quarter.

After shooting 45.8 percent through three quarters, the Rockets took it to 56 percent in the fourth, closing the game on a 13-5 run over the final 4:01.

The Warriors don’t yet know when Green and Iguodala will return, whether it’s as soon as Friday at New Orleans or a matter of weeks. Until they do, Kerr will have to resort to patching things together.

Problem is, aside from the scoring of Nick Young (23 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 6-of-7 from deep) and Jordan Bell (8 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 12 minutes), the bench did not distinguish itself.

That was particularly true on defense, which happen to be where Iguodala and Green make their greatest impact. The reserves accounted for 13 of the 25 fouls called on the Warriors.

“We’ve got to be better,” Durant said. “We’ve got to be better, and we’re looking forward to practice Wednesday.”

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

Draymond Green usually gets the last word.

Not this time.

"Somebody said we don't take it seriously on defense. Well obviously they don't take it seriously either," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said after the Rockets knocked off the Warriors 122-121 on Tuesday night., according to Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Phil Barber.

The jab stems from Green's comments after practice on Monday.

"You should believe that. I'm turning over a new leaf. Number 1 -- they want it to be a shootout, which is fine. But we're gonna play some defense. We score pretty well, but we're a damn good defensive team, too. So we're gonna play some defense.

"I don't know how serious they take defense with that comment, but I know they added some good defensive players," Green told reporters Monday.

Green won't get his next shot at D'Antoni and the Rockets until January 4 in Houston.