What Draymond Green must learn from Kevin Durant in return to Warriors

What Draymond Green must learn from Kevin Durant in return to Warriors

OAKLAND -- Kevin Durant dismissed Draymond Being Draymond No. 127, but not with charity or forbearance.

As the Warriors star said Tuesday, “I’m not gonna give anybody any headlines,” but as he showed, reconciliation after Monday's sword-crossing still is a ways off.
When he was asked after Golden State’s desultory 110-103 victory over the Atlanta Hawks if he had spoken to Green since Monday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in which Green apparently referenced Durant's pending free agency in a brief argument in the huddle, he simply said, “No.”

And when asked if he thought it will all blow over quickly, he used the old line, “S--t happens in the NBA” way, and said with equal terse disdain, “I’m sure it will. We have a long season ahead.”
Durant clearly figures to use a few of the remaining 149 days of the regular season to sort out just how much Draymond Being Draymond he intends to tolerate from here on out. And, while we're there, how much Green has to alter the way he applies his messages to Durant and his other teammates going forward from here.
It is instructive that coach Steve Kerr, when asked before the game if Green’s suspension was solely based on his actions Monday or an accumulation of events, hesitated awhile before not answering. And while Durant clearly has decided that Green went beyond the line Monday in Los Angeles, there seems to have come a line of demarcation that will define the future limits of Draymond Being Draymond.
In short, maybe Draymond Being Draymond, or DBD as we will come to know it in this acronymic culture we have built, finally is running its course in its present form and requires some modifications. 
To be sure, Durant isn’t going to make this easy, or hasten its disappearance from the national debate-a-thon. This one will linger as long as Durant wants to let it linger, lest the myth of the happy-happy-joy-joy Warriors be damned. Being repeatedly yelled at by anyone ages quickly, whether lines of propriety are crossed or not as they were here (though Durant declined to say what the offending phrase was), and Green certainly is at his limit, at least with the team’s most desired potential free agent.
But maybe Green’s message has grown a bit wearisome in general. It should be remembered that this is a team that not only has been together awhile but is made up largely of 30-somethings now. They are less likely to find the medicinal value in being repeatedly harshed by the guy next to them on the factory floor, no matter what the message is.
In other words, in suspending Green, Kerr and general manager Bob Myers clearly chose a side, and it was not one of tolerance toward this latest manifestation of DBD, but even great tolerance has its limits, and Green sat at home reflecting on his.
Presumably he watched from a discreet distance as the Warriors struggled to master the deeply underclubbed Hawks. Nobody shot well, the game was largely arrhythmic, and there was an air of nervous meh hovering over the proceedings as though this was a duty dance before things get interesting on Wednesday’s flight to Houston.
There Green can craft his apologies, explanations or just plain bygone bygones, and then he can decide how much he can modify how he engages with his teammates, and how much DBD still is effective as the Warriors enter athletic middle age.
When and whether Green chooses to share his views with the outside world remains to be seen, and heard. And how he chooses his words in that moment might influence how the basketball cognoscenti view him and how many people and how much order he disturbed Monday in Los Angeles.
First things first, though, and that will be if and how he can acknowledge his excesses toward Durant and how well he can make his amends both appealing and adhesive. Durant seems at least momentarily resistant, but you know what they say about s--- happening.
After all, part of the mythos of Draymond Being Draymond is based on his ability to learn from his errors as well as pointing out those of others. The next move is Green’s.
And the one after that will be Durant’s. 

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.