The Golden State Warriors know the journey to a championship isn’t always smooth sailing.
Sometimes, you have epic blowups like one the Warriors experienced on Friday night, losing a 24-point lead to the Memphis Grizzlies as Draymond Green gave Kevin Durant an earful for his decision to launch an isolation 3-pointer toward the end of regulation.
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The best teams turn those failures into learning moments, however, and that’s exactly how Durant is approaching the high-profile incident. He told reporters at practice on Saturday that Green was right — Durant needed to stay committed to the pick-and-roll with Stephen Curry.
Kevin Durant on the Draymond interaction: "It wasn't an argument. It wasn't a disagreement…I agreed with him." pic.twitter.com/xPNIoZdW4h
“Yeah, [Draymond]’s an emotional guy. It wasn’t an argument at all. It wasn’t a disagreement, you know? I felt like Draymond was emotional, and something was bothering him, and he came and talked to me. He always talks to me. I didn’t take it personal, that he was using a loud tone. That’s just how he is. But it wasn’t a disagreement, or it wasn’t a fight. It was more so he was voicing on how he felt the game should have been going, and I agreed with him. I agreed with him, and I had his back and told me to just move on to the next play. But it’s a long year. That stuff is going to happen. […]
“Steph should have set the screen on me, and we should have played and put some pressure on the rim, maybe, and got two on the ball, and kind of move the defense a little bit. And that’s on me. I felt like I had a matchup I liked, but I should have let Steph set the screen for me. But it’s a learning experience, we’ll get better from it. No hard feelings, none of that stuff.”
Durant also acknowledged that great teams need a player who holds teammates accountable like that, something Warriors coach Steve Kerr knows all too well from his time alongside a certain superstar who had his own lofty standards.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images
The bottom line: Durant’s right. Situations like this will continue to pop up this season for the Warriors (and we’ll continue to cover them, to be frank). Those flareups are important, though, because they show us where Golden State is in its long arc bending toward a championship. Will the Warriors quickly learn their lessons and win a title in their first season together? Or will they follow in the footsteps of previous superteams that took a year or more to jel?
Nights like Friday will go a long way toward determining the Warriors’ fate. Now, the onus is on Durant & Co. to make the most of every opportunity for improvement.