Why constant arguing and dirty plays make the Warriors as annoying as entertaining
The Warriors don't have any interest in winning a popularity contest. They're fine winning titles.
In an utterly shocking development, Draymond Green was hit with his 15th technical foul of the season in the Warriors' 112-80 win over the Thunder on Saturday. One more tech and he'll be suspended for a game, and then another game for every two additional techs after that for the remainder of the regular season.
The 16-tech limit resets for the playoffs, where you get six freebies before being suspended a game for your seventh. If anyone is in danger of picking up seven technicals in a single playoff run, it's Green -- who was, of course, hit with one of the most infamous suspensions of all-time in the 2016 Finals for flailing at LeBron James' man parts, which was his fourth flagrant-foul point (also a suspension) during those playoffs.
The dude has zero self control over these matters.
Before we go any further, there is a chance Green's tech from Saturday gets rescinded when the league as a chance to review it. Decide for yourself, but it certainly looks like he was merely firing up the crowd after he seemingly blocked the shot of Jerami Grant pretty cleanly.
Draymond got his 15th tech of the season for this: pic.twitter.com/4ZI6kdHP92— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 25, 2018
Again, it appears Draymond was aiming his emotion at the crowd, but here's the deal: He was called for a foul on the play, and when you have that kind of response to a whistle (even if you have a case), and more importantly, when you have the reputation that Green has, more times than not you're going to get hit with a tech. You have to know that. It's pretty simple, really.
So maybe the league rescinds it, and maybe it doesn't. Either way, this is on Green, and the Warriors as a whole, as they've become almost as annoying as they are brilliant with the way they whine and argue -- or, often in the case of Green, go on a full tirade -- damn near every time a call goes against them, particularly when the emotion of the game has been ramped up and they somehow think they're owed a different level of latitude.
To be fair, complaining about calls is a basketball tradition, everyone in the NBA and everyone on every playground in the world does it, but the Warriors take it to particularly petty level. Durant leads the league with four ejections, and he also picked up his 12th tech of the year against OKC on Saturday, so he's four more from a suspension himself. Andre Iguodala has never committed a foul in his life. Stephen Curry might be the baby-faced assassin when he gets cooking from three, but when an official dares to ding him for all that slapping and reaching he does on the other end, he just turns into a baby, his eyes wide and hands on his head with that "Who me?" look all over his face.
In fact, that should be the Warriors' slogan.
The Saints are "Who Dat."
The Warriors are "Who me?"
Just before the All-Star break, the Warriors' nightly tantrums had become such a thing that GM Bob Myers felt the need to address the team. Later that night, Steve Kerr doubled down with this summation: "We all need to do a better job of staying poised. I don't like the look of the constant complaining, myself included. We have to get better with that. We need to represent our team in a better light."
It's a tricky thing for the Warriors, who walk a fine line on both ends of the court -- teetering between poetic brilliance and sloppy turnovers when they're slinging the ball around on offense, and suffocation and hackery when they ratchet up the defensive pressure -- as they did Saturday night against OKC as they're clearly shifting into playoff mode. If they just accepted that there's an occasional cost to pay for their energy and at times overaggressive style and just moved on to the next play, we wouldn't be talking about this. Their fouls don't hurt them. Their reactions do.
If the Warriors do actually believe they're the victim of bad calls more often than other teams (they're not), they would be wise to consider the very astute words of ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy, who has long said that when it comes to playing defense in the NBA, not only do you have to do so without fouling, you have to do so without appearing to foul.
That's a very important distinction. You chop down as hard as Iguodala does when he's going for his patented strip, you're going to get whistled here and there even when you got all ball. You reach the way Curry does, just accept that you're asking for trouble. For his part, Draymond has long since blown any benefit of the doubt he may have ever gotten -- and that's too bad, because the truth is, Draymond isn't a guy who tends to argue as a matter of habit. He tends to have a pretty good case. He just has no idea how to state that case rationally.
We all understand that Green's emotion is what makes him the player he is, and that it's hard to just turn that off and on, and if you asked anyone with the Warriors if they'd rather Draymond pick up a few techs but keep his fire or tone himself down completely, they would definitely take the techs, because the good far outweighs the bad, and anyone with half a basketball brain knows this.
But you can't just completely ignore the bad. Green's reputation now precedes him every time he steps on the court, and just as, say, James Harden having a reputation as a star player who deserves the benefit of the doubt can help swing borderline calls in his favor, Draymond's reputation, which he has more than earned, often works against him. Again, you could argue that Green shouldn't have been hit with that tech on Saturday, but what he really shouldn't have done was get hit with the 14 techs that came before that.
Speaking of reputations, let's not forget the Zaza Pachulia, who just happened to fall right onto Russell Westbrook's legs in what could appear to be yet another dirty play by perhaps the league's dirtiest player. Take a look for yourself.of
As San Jose Mercury columnist Dieter Kurtenback pointed out in the tweet above, if you watch closely, you can make a case that Nick Young hooks Zaza's leg and the big man simply didn't have the coordination to stay upright. But again, his reputation precedes him, so he doesn't get the benefit of the doubt. Kyrie Irving chimed in with a call for the league to " ." Westbrook with his, shall we say, strategic stumble.
So you start to add all this up, the whiniest team with the dirtiest player in the league, the owner saying his organization is "light years" ahead of everyone else, and then the team actually backing that up by dominating the whole league with about 70 percent effort most nights, and yeah, the Warriors have gotten pretty annoying.
Not that they care one lick, and they shouldn't. They don't have any interest in winning a popularity contest. They're fine winning titles. But remember, there is a limit on technical fouls in the playoffs, too. Seven gets you a one-game suspension, and if the atmosphere in Oracle on Saturday night is any indication, this season's playoffs are about to get pretty heated.
OKC has dusted the Warriors twice this season before Golden State returned the favor on Saturday. Houston has definitely closed the gap. You get the Warriors in enough close, hotly-contested games, and their worst traits are more likely to come out. A bad technical at a bad time, and this becomes a much bigger problem than simply being annoying.
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