Kevin Durant-Draymond Green tiff not as bad as it looked for Warriors

Kevin Durant-Draymond Green tiff not as bad as it looked for Warriors

It was a peek behind the curtain of the most successful professional team in current major American sports. The family business of the Warriors played out at Staples Center on Monday night, leaving behind sights and sounds that are sure to live on in Internet infamy after a 121-116 loss to the Clippers.

DeMarcus Cousins trying to calm an exasperated Draymond Green on one side of the huddle, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston trying to soothe an indignant Kevin Durant on the other.

It’s probably not as bad as it looked. But it definitely looked bad.

This was seconds after Green and Durant shouted toward each other on the bench, with Klay Thompson sitting placidly between them in strategic separation. This isn’t the first time the Green and Durant have had words, and it won’t be the last.

The root of their dispute was simple: Each wanted to give the Warriors the best chance to win the game, and neither did.

Green had a slim chance, though, and Durant had no chance at all.

The Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers were locked in a 106-106 tie when Green cleared a rebound with about five seconds remaining in regulation. Durant immediately signaled for the ball. Green ignored him.

Instead, Green went dribbling up the court. His reasoning was transparent and rational. He wanted to push the pace in hopes of creating some offense before the Clippers could set their defense.

Green was following the Warriors’ usual script. Don’t call timeout in such situations. Go. Try to get something good.

Durant’s reasoning, also transparent and rational, was that he’s Kevin Durant. He had scored 33 points and is one of the most unstoppable scoring forces in NBA history. He wanted to bring this one home.

That’s why he clapped so furiously for a pass that never came.

Green dribbled into a crowd of four Clippers, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander poking the ball away and Green losing control, tumbling after it as the buzzer sounded. Durant, clearly frustrated, barely crossed the half-court stripe.

What followed was the kind of squabble that happens between strong-willed teammates in the wake of failure. The Warriors eventually trudged out of the building with a richly deserved loss.

“It’s just team spirit,” Shaun Livingston told reporters. “Guys wanted a different outcome than what happened. Obviously, Dray had the turnover. Guys might have thought they were open and wanted the basketball, didn’t get it. Things happen like that in the sport.

“But it was good to see some fire and some emotion.”

Green usually brings emotion. Durant can emote with the best of them.

There still was plenty of emotion when the Warriors came out for OT. Green appeared to be defending his decision. Durant fouled out 74 seconds later, and the Warriors faded, losing a game they should have lost.

The bizarre thing about the sequence over the final five seconds or regulation is that Green derives more pleasure from creating for teammates than scoring himself. He’ll review the play and realize he should have given Durant the kind of chance he usually does.

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 might 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.

They’ll get over this. It’s one game of 82, plus whatever comes in the postseason. Don’t be surprised if they’re laughing together as soon as Tuesday night, when the Warriors face the Atlanta Hawks at Oracle Arena.

[RELATED: With Steph Curry out, Kevin Durant gets to expand his leadership role]

[MORE: Warriors fail to make a move in latest NBA Power Rankings]

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 121-116 OT loss to Clippers

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AP

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 121-116 OT loss to Clippers

BOX SCORE

The Warriors didn’t have Stephen Curry at all, or Kevin Durant for the final four minutes. But they nearly found a way to steal a win in Los Angeles.

After wiping out a 14-point deficit inside the final seven minutes of regulation to pull into a tie with the Clippers, the Warriors pushed Monday night's game into overtime. They took their first lead of the game with 4:05 left in OT.

Nineteen seconds later, Durant fouled out, and that pretty much handed the game to the Clippers, who posted a 121-116 win at Staples Center.

Here are three takeaways from a game that the Warriors (11-3) didn’t deserve to win:

The Dubs were outworked ... until the final 11 minutes

The Warriors saw the scouting report and watched video. They realized one of the keys to the Clippers' success is their tenacity. They don’t have the most talent, but they’ve been outworking opponents.

So what happened? For 42 minutes, the Warriors still were outworked.

They dragged on defense and paid a steep price, as the Clippers shot 60.5 percent in the first half and 54.1 percent through the first three quarters. L.A. was beating Golden State badly on the glass (23-13 in the first half) and in second-chance points (9-0).

Though the Warriors turned those numbers around late in the fourth and OT, it wasn’t quite enough.

Durant didn’t get enough help on offense

KD had another strong game on offense, with a triple-double: 33 points (10-of-24 shooting from the field), 11 rebounds and 10 assists. He did about what was anticipated.

He needed a sidekick, though, and for most of the game, neither of the Warriors' other primary scoring threats -- Klay Thompson and Quinn Cook -- were up to the task.

Not until late in regulation and in overtime did Thompson rediscover his stroke. He finished with 31 points -- 20 in the fourth quarter and OT. He was 5 of 19 from the field before rallying to finish 13 of 31.

Cook, coming off a 27-point performance Saturday, managed just seven points on 3-of-7 shooting. He was as toothless Monday as he was terrific Saturday.

The one portion that held up its end was the bench. The reserves combined for 39 points on 15-of-22 shooting. On a normal night, that tips the scales.

On this night, it wasn't enough.

The young big men got cooked by L.A.'s

The Warriors are committed to relying mostly on their young centers -- Damian Jones, Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney -- to be a presence in the paint. They failed miserably in this game.

All three, and a few of their teammates, were taken to school by none other than Montrezl Harrell. L.A.’s hyperactive young big man spent the evening controlling most everything within 10 feet of the basket.

Jones, Bell and Looney played a combined 42 minutes, and submitted 11 points and six rebounds. Looney, who played 26 minutes, had a few moments, but he eventually wore down.

Harrell came away with 23 points (10 of 13 shooting), eight rebounds and four blocks. He was too good to take off the floor, and a big reason for L.A.’s 62-36 advantage in paint points.

The Warriors don’t need much from the youngsters. But they do need them to provide more resistance.

[RELATED: Warriors offer $100 monthly pass at Oracle Arena with no view of court]

[MORE WARRIORS: Jacob Evans says none of rookie season with Warriors 'how I thought it would be']

Warriors vs. Clippers watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

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USATSI

Warriors vs. Clippers watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

When the Warriors left Oakland for a flight to Los Angeles on Sunday, they took reinforcements along for the trip.

Draymond Green and Shaun Livingston will be active Monday night when the defending NBA champions face the Clippers at Staples Center.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30 p.m., with Warriors Pregame, followed by tipoff scheduled for 7:35 p.m.

Green missed the last two games with a sprained toe on his right foot, and Livingston missed the last seven games with soreness in his right foot. Warriors coach Steve Kerr confirmed the availability of bothplayers after the morning shootaround.

The Clippers (7-5) bear little resemblance to the team the Warriors (11-2) once considered Enemy No. 1. Forward Luc Mbah a Moute is the only player on the current roster that was a member of the Clippers' 2017 playoff team, and he returned this summer after one year with the Rockets.

Projected Lineups

Warriors
F Kevin Durant
F Draymond Green
C Damian Jones
G Klay Thompson
G Quinn Cook

Clippers
F Tobias Harris
F Danilo Gallinari
C Marcin Gortat
G Patrick Beverley
G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Injury Report

Warriors
C DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles tendon surgery rehab) and G Stephen Curry (groin strain) are listed as out.

Clippers
G Avery Bradley (ankle sprain) and F Luc Mbah a Moute (knee soreness) are listed as questionable.

Rotation Outlook

Warriors
The return of Green and Livingston puts most of the rotation intact, allowing Kerr more flexibility. The veterans will need to knock off some rust, however, so there might be some ugly moments.

With the added depth, the Warriors are better positioned to match up with a Clippers team that often relies on small lineups with relatively position-less players. Kerr won’t mind doing so.

Expect to see plenty of Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney. The Warriors likely will cross-match in the backcourt, with Thompson defending Gilgeous-Alexander and Cook on Beverley.

Clippers
Veterans Harris and Gallinari, both small forwards, share the team scoring lead at 19.6 points per game.

Though Gortat starts at center, he’s averaging just about 17 minutes per game, giving way to Montrezl Harrell and Boban Marjanovic. Harrell, the former Rocket, is a terrific athlete who's off to a terrific start.

The Warriors know Lou Williams, the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year, as he cooked them for 50 points in a game last season. He’ll see a rotating crew of defenders.

Coach Doc Rivers, a former NBA point guard, has trusted rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to run the team. Results so far have been mixed.