Warriors

Sources: Draymond Green crossed line bringing up Kevin Durant free agency

Sources: Draymond Green crossed line bringing up Kevin Durant free agency

OAKLAND -- Neither Warriors general manager Bob Myers nor coach Steve Kerr shed much light on the reasons for their decision to suspend Draymond Green on Tuesday. There is no doubt both men were deeply bothered.

That much was clear from their austere responses in separate pregame news conferences.

Multiple sources say Kevin Durant and Green exchanged profanities while quarreling late Monday night, as the Warriors were losing to the Clippers in Los Angeles. That happens, at some point, in most competitive locker rooms. It has happened with the Warriors, between Durant and Green.

What pushed this dispute to another level, according to sources, is that Green also brought up Durant’s upcoming free agency.

That, according to a team source, is where Green crossed the line. And it’s why Myers and Kerr, both accustomed to Green’s customary outbursts, felt a suspension was warranted.

Name-calling is one thing, contract-baiting another. It’s disrespectful.

“Something you don’t do in the NBA is talk about another man’s money,” one league source said Tuesday, prior to the Warriors' game against the Atlanta Hawks at Oracle Arena.

Which might explain why Kerr, usually willing to engage in conversation, kept most of his answers brief, looking as if he’d rather discuss anything else. And why Myers never looked so tired, his eyes redder than I can ever recall.

[RELATED: Steve Kerr recalls Michael Jordan fight in discussing Draymond ban]

The Warriors’ flight from L.A. didn’t arrive in Oakland until about 2 a.m. Tuesday, and we can safely assume neither Myers nor Kerr slept well.

Yet both insisted Durant’s free agency isn't a topic in the Warriors' locker room and that it was unrelated to the dispute between Durant and Green on Monday in LA.

“Nobody ever talks about Kevin’s free agency,” Kerr said.

“I don’t think it is [a topic],” Myers said. “I’m sure that’s going to be the idea in some people’s minds. But being around this team, being around these players ... it’s hard to win a championship. You can’t allow anything else your locker room, in the narrative. This team has done a good job of that.

“I know it may appear as if it looked easy over the last [few years]. It’s not. If you’re in the locker room, if you’re in our organization, it’s hard. We’ll get through it and we’ll keep moving.”

[RELATED: Warriors show Draymond where the third rail is by suspending him]

Given the history between Green and Durant, it’s altogether likely that this incident will not have lasting consequences. It’s not likely to drive the decision Durant will make in July. They fuss. They get on each other’s nerves. They hang out.

“I think we’ll be fine,” Kerr said. “We’re a team that goes through stuff just like everybody else. Things happen, bumps in the road. You’ve got to move forward. It’s all part of coaching a team and it’s part of being on a team. You have get through adversity, and there are some difficult time and you get through them.”

Though the Green-Durant squabble started with a basketball decision made by Green -- he dismissed Durant’s pleadings for the ball in the final seconds of a tie game Monday night, and the Warriors failed to get a shot -- that is not the basis for the suspension.

“As far as what decision coaches and player make, there’s a thousand decisions they make out there,” Myers said. “So I don’t get into this or that, as far as what he should or shouldn’t have done.”

It was, however, what set off Durant. It also bothered a few other Warriors who questioned Green’s decision. Passing the ball to Durant for a potential game-winning shot “would have solved multiple problems,” according to one source.

Instead, the Warriors have to hope any animosity will be brief, as it has been in the past. They have to hope Green still will be the fiery presence that stirs their offense and fuels their defense — and that he makes peace with Durant.

They also have to hope Durant is willing to forgive and move on.

Both conclusions are likely. That’s the history of the Durant-Green relationship. It’s at times tempestuous, but that always has passed for the sake of a greater goal.

Warriors glad to be done with Kings ... until potential playoff series

Warriors glad to be done with Kings ... until potential playoff series

OAKLAND – The Warriors have 24 games remaining on their regular-season schedule. They’ve got the Houston Rockets, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers on the slate, and they welcome them all.

They’re eager to face anyone, home or away. Well, as long as they are not the Kings.

There were two collective sighs of relief emanating from the Warriors late Thursday night after a 125-123 victory over Sacramento at Oracle Arena. The first was for the win, which wasn’t assured until Kings guard Buddy Hield pulled the string on a midrange jump shot with 2.6 seconds left. The second, and more palpable sigh, was because this was the last of four games against Sacramento this season.

That is unless the teams meet in the postseason, something at least one member of the Warriors would rather avoid.

“Every game we play those dudes, I leave the game exhausted,” Draymond Green said. “I go home and I’m dead.

“So, hopefully not.”

The Warriors swept the season series, four games to none, but every game was decided inside the final minute.

“This is the fourth game that we deserved to lose against this team,” Kevin Durant said.

“I can tell you the common issues that keep us from getting separation: turnovers and offensive boards,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr noted. “Down the stretch tonight ... just felt like they got every offensive board. When the game is on the line, you have to get the ball.”

The Kings pose problems not only for the Warriors, but also for most of the NBA, because they are the fastest team in the league and have plenty of length on the wings.

They are relentless. They’re on their toes, seemingly at all times, and that sometimes catches the Warriors flat-footed.

“They’re never out of it,” Stephen Curry said. “They put pressure on you all over the floor with certain lineups they have.”

Sacramento may be the only team in the league capable of making the Warriors look, dare we say, old and slow – because that happened at times Thursday night, and also in stretches of the three previous games this season.

“They are athletic and energetic, so they got a lot of extra possessions, probably seven or eight more possessions,” Kerr said. “It’s tough to beat a team when you have to do that, so we had to get some big contributions from Steph, KD and some big baskets from Klay (Thompson) just to squeak it out.

“If we happen to play them in the playoffs, we’ll have to clean that up.”

The Warriors emerged victorious because they have the kind of winning habits the Kings are trying to build. The Warriors reached the NBA Finals in four consecutive seasons, while the Kings have not reached the playoffs at all since 2006.

For the Warriors, this is business as usual. Curry submitted 36 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Durant delivered 28 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a career-high-tying seven blocks. Green made three 3-pointers, only the second time this season he has drained more than two in a game. DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Find a way. That’s how the Warriors roll and it’s how they’ve had to play to beat Sacramento.

[RELATED: Kerr credits 'ahead of this time' Nelson for modern NBA]

For the Kings, this season is an awakening. There was some stirring last season, during which they beat the Warriors twice in four games, but now they’ve got an identity – and nearly as much confidence as young talent.

“They’re just lacking experience, in my opinion,” Durant said. “They’re going to be one of those teams to be reckoned with soon.”

For now, the Warriors would just as soon reckon with the Los Angeles Lakers, or the San Antonio Spurs or the Timberwolves. Yes, anybody other than the Kings -- particularly if you’re Draymond Green.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in nail-biting 125-123 win vs. Kings

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in nail-biting 125-123 win vs. Kings

OAKLAND -- The fourth time against the Kings was no different from the previous three for the Warriors, who once again needed all the moxie their championship DNA could muster.

This one wasn’t over until Kings guard Buddy Hield was short on a jumper with two seconds remaining, allowing the Warriors to escape with a 125-123 victory Thursday night at Oracle Arena.

All five Warriors starters scored in double digits, led by Stephen Curry’s 36 points and 28 more from Kevin Durant.

The Warriors (42-16) concluded the season series with a 4-0 record against Sacramento (30-28), the four games decided by a total of 12 points.

Here are three quick takeaways from another thriller:

The superstars shall lead

When all else fails, turn everything over to Curry and Durant. What a luxury.

Curry was the closer, scoring 11 points in the final seven minutes. He was 12-of-23 from the field, including 10-of-16 from deep and 2-of-2 from the line. He also recorded seven assists. He played 36 minutes and was plus-six.

Durant scored 17 of his points in the first half, 13 in the opening quarter. He was 10-of-20 from the field, including 1-of-5 from beyond the arc and 7-of-7 from the line. Durant also totaled nine rebounds and a career-high seven blocks.  He played 37 minutes and finished plus-seven.

On a night when the Kings proved yet again that they are to be taken seriously, the Warriors surely understand that their greatest offensive advantage is having Curry and Durant to pour in the points at critical times.

Second-unit blues

One of the goals for the Warriors over these final weeks of the regular season is finding an effective second unit, one capable of holding, if not extending leads built largely on the exploits of Curry and Durant.

That need was on full display in the second quarter. The Warriors entered with a 35-30 lead it took only three minutes -- and a 15-5 run by Sacramento -- to fall behind 45-40.

The Kings pushed the lead to 11 (54-43). The Warriors were down eight (54-46) when coach Steve Kerr turned to the Hamptons 5 (Curry, Durant, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson), who outscored the Kings 14-8 over the final four minutes of the half.

Sure, they missed Shaun Livingston, who was at home with his wife, who is expected to deliver their second child at any time.

But the second unit dug a hole the Warriors spent the rest of the evening trying to climb out of and didn’t gain another five-point lead until 6:36 remained.

Near-death by turnover

Maybe it was because this is the first game after a week-long break. Or maybe it was because after three previous games, the Warriors still haven’t adjusted to the quickness of the Kings.

But the live-ball turnovers just . . . kept . . . coming. They committed a total of 15 giveaways -- including an astonishing 11 in the first half -- off which Sacramento scored 22 points.

Durant and Curry each committed three, while Thompson, Kevon Looney and Cousins each coughed up two.

It was enough to keep the Kings in the game.

Turnovers are a pet peeve of Kerr's, and the Warriors spent most of January and early February keeping them to a minimum. They reverted to the worst of themselves in that regard Thursday night.