The Golden State Warriors entered halftime of Saturday's Western Conference showdown against the Oklahoma City Thunder trailing by 11 points, and frustration reportedly set in as the defending champions took their seats in the locker room at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
According to ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters on the ABC broadcast, Warriors forward Draymond Green went on a "profanity-laced tirade" following a shaky first-half showing:
I did not hear what precipitated it, but he was yelling so loudly that I could hear everything that he was saying. I think you heard a little bit of it as well, Mike [Breen]. I think that it was Draymond Green. The indications that I've gotten from other players is that it was Draymond Green.
He was yelling and screaming, 'I am not a robot. I know I can play. You have me messed up right now. If you don't want me to shoot, I won't shoot the rest of the game.' At one point, people were trying to get him to sit down, from what I could hear, and he was daring people, threatening people, 'Come sit me down.'
During Monday's edition of First Take, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported the outburst stemmed from Warriors head coach Steve Kerr pointing out a mistake Green made:
Kerr responded to Smith's report, telling reporters that he "didn't notice [Smith] in the room."
Green went scoreless in the first half, which represented a continuation of some slight regression that has been evident of late.
Since he posted 18 points Feb. 20 against the Los Angeles Clippers, Green has devolved into a seldom-used supplementary scoring option and hasn't resembled the same player who torched the Western Conference en route to nabbing All-Star honors.
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Speaking to reporters after the game, Green explained that his frustration didn't stem from a lack of shots, according to ESPN.com's Ethan Strauss:
What goes on in here [the locker room] stays in here. I’ve clearly never been a guy who cares about shots. I pass up shots, open shots. But, you know, we know what goes on between our team. We know what sparks this team. We know what this team do, but what goes on in this locker room stays in this locker room.
Kerr clarified things in a postgame meeting with reporters after the Warriors escaped with a miraculous 121-118 overtime win Saturday night behind Stephen Curry's hot hand, per Strauss:
Kerr said Draymond's rant was unusual but wouldn't give many other specifics— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) February 28, 2016
Green eventually apologized on Monday, via Strauss (h/t James Herbert of CBSSports.com):
I admit my mistakes. I made a mistake. I admitted my mistakes to my teammates, my coaching staff. I apologize to my teammates and my coaching staff, this organization. That wasn't the right way to handle what needed to be handled and, as a leader of this team, I can't do that because it sets a bad precedent for how everything is ran around here, how everything should be ran, how everything has been ran and how everything will be ran going forward.
It won't happen again. It's, you know, something where my emotions kind of got ahead of me and I let my emotions get the best of me. However I will never quit on my teammates, as some have reported, you know. I would never quit on my coaching staff. I would never quit on this organization. This organization has given me everything that I can ask for. So I have supported and represented 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. Sometimes, emotion, that's human, I'm not perfect, nobody on this Earth is perfect. If we were, there's no reason for us being here. As a human being I made a mistake and, like I said before, I apologize to my teammates, to everybody who I need to apologize to. It won't happen again.
But according to hoops scribe Peter Vecsey, Green previously directed profanity at teammates at some point during the team's 31-point win over the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 20:
This is not 1st time Green cursed out teammates & challenged them physically. Against Bulls b4 AS break, he wanted 2 fight Iggy, says source— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) February 28, 2016
It should be noted that Green went on to play a superb second half on the defensive end as he set the tone for the Warriors' comeback. All told, he finished with two points, 14 rebounds, 14 assists, six steals and four blocks.
"Draymond was incredible the whole second half," Kerr added, according to the Bay Area News Group's Diamond Leung. "Best game I've seen anybody play without making a field goal in a long time."
He may have scored just two points and gone without a made field goal, but Green did succeed in lighting a fire under the defending champions as they erased Oklahoma City's lead and captured what was easily the most memorable win of the regular season to date.