Hypocrisy of Warriors complaining about Bucks’ celebrating

(L-R) Steph Curry and Draymond Green have not been bashful on the court.

Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

At the end of the Milwaukee Bucks’ 108-95 streak-snapping victory over the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 12, Michael Carter-Williams & Co. celebrated a little too much for the Warriors’ liking.

One play in particular, a steal and dunk by Milwaukee’s Carter-Williams, stood out to the Warriors. After the slam, he roared at the elated crowd and then turned towards the Warriors’ bench and stared them down for a few seconds before running back downcourt (at the 1:46 mark of the video):

Golden State’s Draymond Green especially took offense to the celebration, telling ESPN.com, "Michael Carter-Williams getting a dunk at the end of the game and looking at our bench like, ‘Dude you lost your spot.’ So, it’s not quite common that you should be looking toward someone’s bench yelling. You’ve got some ground to make up."

Warriors guard Klay Thompson’s critique wasn’t as confrontational, though he did suggest the Bucks were displaying unsportsmanlike conduct.

"There’s nothing wrong with the dunk, but the stare-down, trying to talk nasty in the game like that," Thompson told ESPN.com. "And it’s like, ‘All right, you’re going to see us next Friday and in our building, too.’

"We’re looking forward to it, man. Obviously a team that gave us our one in the loss column, and we felt they could have won with a little more class."

The Warriors were naturally going to feel some animosity toward whichever team broke their 28-game regular-season win streak, but the fact that the Bucks showboated and basically acted like they won a playoff series — a somewhat defensible reaction given Golden State’s historical dominance — clearly upset the Dubs, who’ve felt constantly disrespected since they won the championship in June. 

Golden State — much like Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls teams — seeks motivation from even the smallest slights, whether they’re fabricated or legitimate. 

"Oh, it was a nice celebration. We do remember that stuff," Stephen Curry told ESPN.com. "We were kind of laughing at some of the stuff going on. It was a big game for them. Friday will be a big game for us."

The irony, of course, is that no team celebrates and rubs in their victories quite like the Warriors do.

Curry turns around and celebrates 3-pointers before they even go in. Andre Iguodala is probably the Bench-Celebration MVP right now. Heck, even 2K Sports added motion-captured bench celebrations because of the Dubs’ bench festivities.

Those who criticize the Warriors — the select few — often point to their confidence, which borders on cockiness. It’s part of their charm, but it can be a bit too much at times. 

The Warriors are brash and loud. They let you know of their presence the way, say, the San Antonio Spurs don’t. That, in part, is because of Green’s attitude and demeanor. It has infiltrated the team’s culture, as quieter players like Curry and Thompson have perked up in the past season or two.

Perhaps Golden State has earned the right to celebrate and mock its opponents. The Warriors are the defending champs and one of the most dominant teams in recent memory, so most of the time they can back up their trash talk. They don’t care if you’re offended by their celebrations — the only way to shut them up is to beat them, and that’s a tall order on most nights.

At the same time, it’s a bit hypocritical. If you’re going to demand respect from your opponents in a loss, you must dole out the same respect in a win. To be clear: The Warriors aren’t often disrespectful, but they can toe the line — as can anyone in moments of pure joy and self-expression.

It’s difficult to delineate how much is the Warriors are actually upset at the Bucks’ behavior vs. how much is their trying to find external motivation. The Bucks were overly excessive in their celebrations, but it’s nothing the Warriors haven’t seen — or done — before. 

Regardless of who’s at fault, the Warriors will look to exact revenge in Friday’s matchup. And they likely will. It’ll probably be ugly — especially with Greg Monroe out. Let’s see if the Dubs have any special celebrations cooked up.