Tuesday night’s Warriors-Timberwolves rematch was billed as an In-Season Tournament bracket game. Instead, a Draymond Green Famous Boxing Match broke out Early in the first quarter, Klay Thompson and Jaden McDaniels got into a fight, Rudy Gobert did what happens in 1,000 routine NBA fights by trying to separate Thompson from his McDaniels. Just when emotions should have subsided, Green’s entrance music blared in his head and he saw the pretext for an unnecessary bow stranglehold on Gobert. After squeezing Rudy like a Go-Gurt for almost 10 seconds, players and officials finally let Green relax.
While Green turning himself into the protagonist has increased the entertainment value, he also forgets he is the valuable cog in a machine. When he gets that fire in his eyes, Green reacts as if WWE legend Teddy Long were on the officiating team. Klay Thompson and Green were ejected and just like that, the Golden State Warriors unraveled. Golden State has already played without Steph Curry. Without three of their starters, they fell to 1-1 in group play and 6-6 on the season.
Social media was abuzz with Draymond headlock memes and questions about why KAT didn’t stick Green with a right hook or why Anthony Edwards didn’t put Green back in a chokehold so they could start a chokehold centipede. That’s because they actually tried to play and win the game.
Green can run out his record in 1-on-1 battles. He is nearly undefeated in the personal score settlement, but at the expense of the hardwood wars. Green’s suffocation of Gobert is another shot in his ongoing one-sided beef with the Timberwolves center. Gobert has won three Defensive Player of the Year awards and is not satisfied with being a four-time champion. He also considers himself the undisputed best defender alive and Gobert’s presence has always been a problem. During the All-Star Game last year, Green went out of his way to turn a compliment into a dig at Gobert and 2019 mocked Gobert for getting emotional about a 2019 All-Star snub, then referenced Gobert crying while discussing his own 2022 All-Star pick on TNT. It was just a continuation of Green’s relentless war. But its edge is waning. Gobert is the anchor of Minnesota’s no. 1 defenseand the Warriors are playing .500 ball again.
The other pent-up anger toward Minnesota began Sunday. Anthony Edwards already talked about it this weekend when Green got into his feelings after Green barked at him to “Get the f—k outta here,” as he sent him to the line to extend Minnesota’s double-digit lead. In response, Edwards asked Green what he was going to do about it, and proceeded to score eight points in the next 1:12 of game action.
Green was relatively calm there, but he wasn’t when he punched Jordan Poole in the face and then wondered the next year why Golden State’s chemistry was off. Or when he Domantas Sabonis kicked down in a Game 2 the Warriors lost. After his ejection there, Sacramento drowned Golden State under a barrage of 23 points and took a 2-0 series lead from which the Splash Brothers had to expend energy to dig out Golden State. The league docked him there for his “history of unsportsmanlike conduct.” He seems intent on testing the limits of Adam Silver’s patience.
Or when he was fired for raking Brandon Clarke about the face in Game 1 of their 2021 semifinal series against the Grizzlies. Or when he went ballistic on Donovan Mitchell Saturday and found bait in an excrement.
This has become a common theme for Green. His track record of turning up the volume too loud and leaving Golden State in a hole has been a consistent trend throughout his career. This is not the Minnesota Timberwolves of old. After an offseason spent working out the kinks and implementing more structure, Chris Finch has the Timberwolves playing like (in-season tournament) contenders. Minnesota will be the next challenge for Golden State after crushing youth revolutions in Memphis and Sac-Town.
But Golden State’s offensive advantage has been diminished. The season is young, but seeing Green get shut out in two of his last three games points to a knucklehead streak that the Warriors can’t survive like they used to. Green’s presence could have been the difference in a 3-point loss. The West is tighter than it has been since 50-win teams watched the playoffs from home. Their margin for error is slimmer than ever and Green is getting harder and harder. Now that he’s secured a new four-year extension, you can bet he’s tougher than ever for Steve Kerr to contain.
Follow DJ Dunson on X: @cerebral sports text