It has been a topic of discussion throughout the playoffs, NBA players are calling each other out saying that guys are intentionally trying to hurt each other. It has even been an issue with the Wizards forward Kelly Oubre. During Game 3, Oubre shoved Celtics player Kelly Olynyk to the ground after an illegal screen which caused Oubre to be ejected and suspended for Game 4.
Has this always been an issue though during NBA playoffs? Former Wizards player and current NBA analyst Antonio Daniels gave a passionate response to the Sports Junkies Wednesday morning ahead of Game 5.
"I think because of this series, is the most physical series of any of the other series, said Daniels. So you have everything that has gone on prior to this series starting. You know, you understood that this is two teams that don't like each other, it's a throwback series. And now you come into the series and then everything happens with Kelly Oubre and Kelly Olynyk and then Morris and so all these little things that continue to happen. So now you get Isaiah Thomas complaining. Now what you're going to get possibly, possibly is an overreaction from the referees to kind of [say] OK let's get this game under control from the beginning. So I'm sure in the referee meeting, before the game start, that's one thing they're going to talk about."
Now when it comes to Oubre being handed a suspension for his reaction to Olynyk, Daniels had a response that Wizards fans would like;
"You get a suspension from Oubre, for doing what I felt, he was justified to do. I didn't think he should have been suspended for doing that but he did it, OK you take the repercussions and you move on. So what you see is an overreaction with the whistle tonight and in Game 5 because the last thing these referees want to see is this game get out of control."
On Monday Golden State Warriors player Draymond Green added fuel to the fire by saying that Kelly Olynyk is, in fact, a "dirty player." This was a surprise to many as Green doesn't have the cleanest track record himself. He was suspended during the 2016 finals for committing too many flagrant fouls. Daniels had some thoughts on this as well;
"Well first, OK, Draymond Green is the wrong guy to talk about that. Out of all people to speak on being a dirty player or not being a dirty player, look you gotta find somebody else. I understand Draymond Green is very good, he's very versatile, he's an all-star, but you gotta get that comment from somebody else. 'Cause that's the pot calling the kettle black. Big time. Big time. Kelly Olynky has done a few things that are borderline, suspect of being dirty. You know what he did to Kevin Love a couple years ago, yeah I definitely thought that was over the edge. NBA players will play hard, will play hard at all the times. You may not like guys, but ill tell you what, guys never intentionally hurt one another. Will never intentionally hurt one another. If you're intentionally trying to hurt somebody that's something that happens off the floor, that's personal. But on the floor, it's a fraternity. Guys want to win. Guys may not like guys, but you never intentionally trying to hurt somebody. And what Kelly Olynyk did a couple years ago, it kind of seemed like he intentionally tried to hurt Kevin Love. I don't know, I just think there's certain ways to go about doing things but there's been dirty players throughout history.
So how do players deal with this? Especially with it being known that the NBA finals are much more physical than the regular season.
"I mean if he is dirty, so be it. If that's who you are, that's who you are. You embrace in and you move on."