HOUSTON -- Now that Kevin Durant and Draymond Green have addressed the quarrel that shook the walls around the Warriors, there is the distinct sense within the team that the house will not come tumbling down.
Given the history, that’s a reasonable reaction. There was tension last season, certainly in the postseason, and the Warriors overcame it and thrived.
This time, however, they need some repair.
Durant and Green participated in the team’s shootaround Thursday, eight hours before facing the Rockets. They walked into Toyota Center together. They were shooting at the same basket. They spoke. They fist-bumped at the end of the session.
This doesn’t mean there are no remnants of anger and disappointment lingering in the wake of their heated squabble Monday night in Los Angeles. There is.
Green was suspended and, pending appeal, that could cost him roughly $120,00. And still looming in the background is the decision Durant will make about his future when he becomes a free agent in July.
But Green, considered the antagonist in this tiff, as indicated by the team’s decision to suspend him for the game against Atlanta on Tuesday, insists a few tempestuous days won’t keep the Warriors from achieving their goal of a third straight championship.
“I’ve read a lot about how ‘Is this the end of the run?’ Or 'Is it over?’ Or ‘Did I ruin it?’ Or ‘Did I force Kevin to leave?’” Green said. “At the end of the day, as I’ve said before, whatever Kevin decides to do, whatever Klay (Thompson) decides to do, whatever who decides to do, we’ve had great years together. And I support everybody, whole-heartedly, 100 percent. Because as a man, as a human being, you’ve got the right to do whatever you want to do with your life. So I’ll never question that.
“But what you must know is that nobody in this organization from a player -- not myself, not Kevin, not anybody else -- is going to beat us. If you’re one of the other 29 teams in the league, you’ve got to beat us, because we’re not going to beat us. We’re going to continue to do what we do.”
Coach Steve Kerr met with Durant and Green before shootaround to “address some things that will remain private.” Kerr came away feeling “extremely confident” that this will not derail the season.
“I know what this team’s made of,” Kerr said. “I know the character of the group. I know the history of this group. And it’s way too strong and way too powerful to be upended by the type of adversity that can hit any team in the season.”
Though the game features the two teams that less than six months ago played an epic seven-game Western Conference Finals, all eyes will be on the interaction between Durant and Green.
How will they coexist? Will the splinters in their relationship be evident? It was apparent Tuesday night that Durant was stung by Green’s overheated reaction to his pleas for the ball in the final seconds of a tie game. If Green has expressed any contrition, it was within the confines of the team.
“There’s no secret that I am an emotional player,” Green said. “I wear my emotions on my sleeve; I play with that same emotion. Sometimes, it gets the best of me and it doesn’t work to my favor. I’m going to live with that because it works to my favor, to the good -- as my resume speaks and as this team’s resume speaks -- more so than it doesn’t.
“I’m never going to change who I am. I’m going to approach the game the same way I always do and, like I said, we’ll continue to move forward.”
Green is the seasoning in the team’s successful recipe. Durant is a crucial ingredient. Each knows he is needed and each is a professional. That’s why this is not likely to unravel what has been built.
As insurance, though, the Warriors brought team leader Stephen Curry along for the four-day road trip, even though his groin injury could keep him on the sideline for another two weeks.
“It’s great to have him on this trip while we’re going through this adversity that we’ve hit,” Kerr said. “Steph’s always going to be a guy who smooths out bumps and keeps us rolling, so it’s great to have him here.”
Smart move. Having the essential component to this team’s prosperity can only help.
There is work to do, and plenty of it. The passage of time will help. Though the fabled team chemistry of the Warriors definitely took a hit, there is no reason to firmly believe the involved parties can’t be appeased.