HOUSTON (AP) — Draymond Green isn’t apologizing for his part in a dustup with Kevin Durant that led to a one-game suspension by the Golden State Warriors.
But Green vowed Thursday that the Warriors are not imploding, regardless of whatever is, or isn’t happening, following the heated exchange between he and Durant in Monday night’s overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Green said he and Durant have spoken and that they’re “moving forward.”
The Warriors forward spoke on Thursday for the first time since the incident. He opened his session with reporters by saying: “I’m going to speak on this one time and one time only,” and refused to take any questions about it after he was done.
“I think there’s no secret that I am an emotional player,” he said. “I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I play with that same emotion. Sometimes they get the best of me. And (if) it doesn’t work to my favor I’m going to live with that.”
He continued by saying that the passionate way he plays the game has led him to much success in his career.
“It works in my favor to the good as my resume speaks and this team’s resume speaks more so than it doesn’t,” he said. “So I’m never going to change who I am.”
In the closing seconds of regulation during Monday’s 121-116 overtime loss on the road to the Clippers, Green secured a rebound and, with Durant calling for the ball, instead dribbled the length of the court into traffic and lost control as the Warriors failed to get a shot off. Durant was shown on camera visibly upset immediately afterward.
Then, back on the bench waiting for the extra period to begin, the two traded words and gestured with Klay Thompson seated between them and Andre Iguodala, DeMarcus Cousins and others trying to calm the situation.
It wasn’t the first time Durant and Green have been involved in a verbal altercation. In another overtime loss, 109-106 at Sacramento on Feb. 4, 2017, they shouted at each other and argued near the bench.
Coach Steve Kerr confirmed that Green and Durant have spoken but refused to divulge any details.
“I can tell you that I am extremely confident in this team’s ability to get through any adversity,” he said.
Kerr said he’s also talked to Green about the incident but that he wanted to keep what was said private. However, he did rave about Green and what he’s done for the Warriors in his seven seasons with the team.
“We’ve been through too much together,” Kerr said. “We’ve won championships. We’ve lost a Game 7 in the Finals. We’ve had all kinds of ups and downs and I know Draymond’s got a huge heart. He’s a champion. He’s a winner and he’s so passionate that at times he can go over the edge.
He always comes back and I know he’s going to come back and he’ll be his usual competitive, passionate self and we’re going to move on.”
Green, 28, seemed amused by stories that have been written and sports commentators who have wondered if the discord between he and Durant will cause the former league MVP not to re-sign with the Warriors next year, or if it will ruin the team’s chances of winning its third straight title.
“What you must know is that nobody in this organization from a player, not myself, not Kevin, not anybody else is going to beat us,” Green said. “So if you one of them other 29 teams in this league you got to beat us. We not going to beat us. We going to continue to do what we do and I’m sorry if that ruins everybody’s stories. I know everybody got a job to do. I apologize for ruining y’all’s stories if it did.”
Green, who is averaging 7.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.4 assists this season, went on to say that he believes dealing with this situation will galvanize the team and make it even better in the future.
“If this only makes Kevin, myself and the rest of my teammates stronger, that’s what it’s going to do,” he said. “So you think you saw something before, good luck with us now. .... We’re not going to crumble off of an argument. We (are) going to move forward.”