The Warriors spent much of Tuesday clearing the air fouled by the quarrel late Monday night between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. They’ll have a much better chance to succeed a day later than they did in the immediate aftermath.
They’re at home and, this time around, they’ll have Stephen Curry’s assistance.
Curry, out with a groin strain, did not accompany the team to Los Angeles for the game against the Clippers. His presence was missed in ways only the Warriors and those closest to them fully comprehend.
No one in the locker room is more respected than Curry. He’s a voice of reason, impartial and always capable of seeing the big picture. Moreover, no one in the building is more skilled at mitigating the inevitable Green tirade.
Curry’s influence helped the Warriors get past the February 2016 blowup between coach Steve Kerr and Green in the locker room in Oklahoma City. That game, during which they came from behind to win in overtime on a shot by Curry, ended with every member of the team leaving the court in group euphoria.
The blowup was acknowledged, contained and relegated to history. That Warriors team won 73 games, setting an NBA record.
A little more than four months later, Durant left OKC to join the Warriors.
Durant and Green have barked at each other several previous times as teammates, most notably -- prior to Monday night -- when they went at it in Sacramento in Feb 2017. They were angry, throwing profanity at each other like mortal enemies ready to swing.
Neither swung. They spent the next day in the company of each other, watching the Super Bowl, probably laughing about the overblown events of the previous night.
In the latest incident, Durant was irate because he didn’t get the ball in the final seconds of regulation. He should have gotten it.
Green was vehemently defensive because he felt he was following the guidelines of the team’s usual practice in late-game situations. The Warriors choose to push the ball up before the opponent can set its defense.
Should they have called a timeout with about four seconds remaining? That was an option. Perhaps a set Clippers defense still could not have stopped Durant from getting a good look.
Getting no look at all is what infuriated Durant.
Had Curry played, maybe there is no overtime and this entire episode would have been avoided. Had Curry been in the room, maybe the episode is chilled.
Green, one of the smartest players in the league, made an error in judgment. That’s something Curry is best equipped to address and solve. His is the moderating voice in that locker room and Green, even in his most impassioned state, likely would have come to terms with it.
Instead, in the minutes between regulation and the start of overtime, DeMarcus Cousins attempted to pacify Green while Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston did the same with Durant.
That didn’t extinguish the heat between the two. Several teammates reportedly went to Green in the locker room after the game in an effort to explain where he went wrong.
None of those teammates was Curry, who would have known what to say to Draymond and, more important, how to say it.
Is the dispute over? A day later, with Curry on board, don’t bet against it.