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Off-court storylines overshadowed the Golden State Warriors‘ 110-103 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, as the team announced it suspended Draymond Green for the game following an altercation with Kevin Durant on Monday.
“Obviously it’s definitely weird he’s not here. … S–t happens in the NBA,” Durant said of playing without Green, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com.
Durant also said he hasn’t spoken with Green about Monday’s incident, though he granted “I’m sure we will. It’s a long season,” per Logan Murdock of the Mercury News.
Anthony Slater of The Athletic shared more of Durant’s comments, in which he said he will keep things “in-house.”
Anthony Slater @anthonyVslater
Kevin Durant said he hasn’t spoken to Draymond Green yet, declines to go into details about last night https://t.co/RiiXubrJPm
Klay Thompson also weighed in on the situation, saying, “This thing will be in the past like a ponytail,” per Grant Liffmann of NBC Sports Bay Area.
The drama started when Green didn’t pass the ball to Durant in the final moments of regulation in Monday’s overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The two engaged in a back-and-forth on the bench, and Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com reported other Warriors “loudly confronted” Green about the decision in the locker room.
“Some witnesses described the closed-door exchange as one of the most intense of this Warriors era,” they wrote, adding “Durant’s impending free agency heightens the sensitivity of the turmoil.”
Durant has a player option for the 2019-20 campaign, and Shams Charania of The Athletic noted Green “challenged” Durant about free agency during the altercation. Charania reported the kerfuffle was “a simmering issue” Tuesday.
Tim Kawakami of The Athletic backed up that assertion:
Tim Kawakami @timkawakami
This franchise is walking on eggshells around the Durant free-agency situation. They don’t want to say so, necessarily, but they are. Again, wrong time, wrong way but feels like Draymond’s outburst was a pressure release. Let’s see what the mood is now–over the next few days.
Though the Warriors were without Green, Durant and Thompson carried the team to victory against the Hawks with 29 and 24 points, respectively. Stephen Curry also didn’t play because of a strained groin.