OAKLAND (AP) — Draymond Green’s emotion and passion are what make him so valuable on the court for the Golden State Warriors, yet he acknowledges he took it too far this time.
The Golden State power forward apologized to his teammates, coaches and the organization for an emotional outburst during halftime of the Warriors’ 121-118 overtime victory Saturday at Oklahoma City.
“I admit my mistakes. I made a mistake. I admitted my mistakes to my teammates, my coaching staff,” Green said after practice Monday. “I apologized to my teammates and my coaching staff, this organization. That wasn’t the right way to handle what needed to be handled. As a leader of this team, I can’t do that because it sets a bad precedent how everything is ran around here, how everything should be ran, how everything has been ran and how everything will run going forward. It won’t happen again. It’s something where my emotions kind of got ahead of me and I let my emotions get the best of me.”
After playing only two games at home in February, the Warriors (53-5) returned to the Bay Area and will have 17 of their final 24 games at Oracle Arena. They are 24-0 at home, riding a 42-game regular-season winning streak at Oracle overall, and chasing the Chicago Bulls’ record of 72 wins from 1995-96.
Coach Steve Kerr expects the scrutiny at this stage.
“This is the way life is these days. There’s 24-hour sports talk shows on the radio, on TV, and we’re in the spotlight because of our record,” Kerr said. “It doesn’t bother us that everyone’s talking about it. We know it was handled internally. We all love each other and we’re good. ... You guys all know how emotional he is. That’s one of the things that makes him great, is his passion and his intensity. I think we’re doing OK. We won the championship last year, what’s our record now, 53-5? I think his emotion is good for us.
“At times it bubbles over but for anybody to say, ‘Oh no, we should look out, what’s coming next?’ Come on.”
Green also shot down reports that he threatened not to return for the second half against the Thunder, who watched Stephen Curry hit a long 3-pointer for the game-winner with .6 seconds left in overtime.
“I would never quit on my teammates as some have reported,” Green said. “I would never quit on my coaching staff, I would never quit on this organization. This organization has given me everything I could ask for. I support and represent this organization to the best of my ability. That’s not who I am, that’s not who I’ve been and that’s not who I will become.”
Green leads the NBA with 11 triple-doubles. He responded — he said he was still mad — after his halftime debacle, finishing with 14 rebounds, 14 assists, six steals and two points against the Thunder.
“I felt I owed it to my team to give it everything I have,” Green said. “I know when you’re in the midst of a great season, people are going to latch onto certain stuff to try to tear it down. We’re moving forward.”
Reigning MVP Curry, questionable for Tuesday’s game against Atlanta with a tender left ankle that he played through Saturday, said it is Green’s emotional personality that makes him so valuable.
“We know he’ll never quit, he’ll never do anything to put our production on the floor in jeopardy,” Curry said. “He’s invested in what we’re doing. Obviously he’s an emotional guy, a fiery guy. That’s what we love about him, what he brings to the court. It spilled over to the locker room but I’ve been in this league a long time, that wasn’t the first time it’s happened. The way we were able to respond was a testament to our team and him as an individual to understand it probably shouldn’t have happened. We came out and stayed united.”
Curry has three straight 40-point games and was named Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday for his fourth such honor this season — the first in franchise history to win four in one season. He averaged 43.8 points, 7.3 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 1.50 steals as the Warriors went 4-0.
Curry’s ankle was worse Sunday and he didn’t practice Monday so he could receive treatment.
“If I’m good enough to play and not put myself in jeopardy of making this thing nag me for two weeks, three weeks, I’ll play,” he said.