Nick FriedellESPN Staff WriterClose
- Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.
HOUSTON — Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant made it clear after Thursday night’s 107-86 blowout loss to the Houston Rockets that he no longer wants to address the incident he had earlier this week with Draymond Green.
“Don’t ask me about that again,” Durant said tersely after being asked where his and Green’s relationship stood a couple of days after Green was suspended for Tuesday’s win over the Atlanta Hawks for “conduct detrimental to the team” following a verbal altercation between the two All-Stars during and after a Monday night loss to the LA Clippers.
In the wake of the Warriors’ worst performance of the season, coach Steve Kerr acknowledged that the emotions of the past few days had an impact on his team’s lackluster performance Thursday night.
“We’re banged up a little bit physically and right now we’re banged up spiritually,” Kerr said. “There’s no getting around that. So we’ve got to fill up our cup and get our spirit back, get our energy back, and we’re going to. It’s a long, long season. It’s a tough stretch we’re dealing with, but I know our guys.
“Draymond may not have had his best night tonight, in fact he played very poorly. But I liked his approach. He was genuine out there. He was competing. Nothing went his way, but I like where he’s heading. And now the rest of the team, we’ve got to all lift our spirits up and get back on the saddle. But we’re going through a little bit of a rough patch.”
Green echoed those sentiments about the emotions of the day, saying that his team’s energy “definitely was not there.”
“We didn’t play our best game. It happens,” Green said. “If those emotions are what caused us to lose that’s my bad, but we’re not panicking or think like, ‘Oh man, we’re not a great team.’ We’re still the best team in the league and we’re going to win more games, a bunch of games, and go win another championship and we’ll be fine.”
Green addressed the suspension and his relationship with Durant earlier in a post-shootaround statement that lasted more than two minutes, but he did not take follow-up questions from reporters about the incident, saying he would address the episode only once. Kerr admitted that he spent parts of the game watching to see how Green and Durant would coexist again on the floor.
“Yeah, of course,” Kerr said. “But you watch the whole team, everybody’s spirit in this game, and everybody’s energy is affected by the whole, what’s going on in the group. It was clear tonight that we were not ourselves. And sort of emotionally not there. You kind of forget sometimes how hard it is to win an NBA game. We’ve been spoiled around here because we have a lot of talent, we’ve had great momentum and great fortune. As I said right now we’re going through a rough patch and it shows. It’s up to us to get back on track.”
The 24 minutes Green played was the longest he has gone in his career without scoring a point, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
“I was horrible,” Green said. “I just couldn’t do nothing right. A lot of stuff I saw was plays I usually make. I just didn’t really have that feel tonight. But it will come. It is what it is, but my feel wasn’t there at all. My sight was, I saw everything I needed to see. I just really couldn’t get the ball to where I wanted it to go. Things just didn’t go my way, but that’s OK.”
While Kerr noted that it was not his team’s “finest hour,” he remained confident that the Warriors would be able to bounce back Saturday night in Dallas after a tumultuous few days.
“We have very, very high-character guys in there,” Kerr said. “We got great veteran leadership. Guys like Andre [Iguodala] and Shaun [Livingston], they’re going to keep us moving in the right direction. And there’s a lot of games to be played. Sixty-six to be exact if my math is correct. So we’ll find it again.”
Kerr noted before the game that Green might be on a minutes restriction for the next few games as he continues to recover from a toe sprain. For his part, Green affirmed that the toe injury was still sore, but he managed to make light of his suspension, drawing a few laughs in the process.
“It’s OK. It isn’t great,” Green said of his toe injury. “But I just don’t like sitting out so if I can play, I’m going to play. They have talked to me about a minute restriction, it makes sense. After playing 42 minutes against the Clippers, it was pretty sore that next day. Thank God I got suspended. Really sore. I sat there and iced the whole day, did some treatment at home. Everything happens for a reason.”
After the chuckles from the assembled media died down, Green said he would continue to try to play through the discomfort.
“No, but it was pretty sore after that,” Green said. “After such a heavy minute load. So I’ve talked to the training staff, I’ve talked to Steve and that’s obviously game 16 or whatever it is. That’s the smartest thing to do right now. Obviously if I can push through it, I’ll push through it through that game, but it’s just not the time to push through it. I do want to play and I do want to be out there with my teammates and I do want to try to find my rhythm. I just really don’t want to sit out. So that’s the next best option for now. We’ll see how it goes.”