Warriors Notes: Green, Klay, Curry, Podziemski, More

Tuesday’s in-season tournament game between the Warriors and Timberwolves got chippy before either team had scored a single point.

As Kendra Andrews of ESPN details, Klay Thompson and Jaden McDaniels got tied up battling for rebounding positioning early in the first quarter, then continued to grab and shove each other on the way back up the court, prompting referees to stop play and Wolves center Rudy Gobert to try to intervene. Warriors forward Draymond Green rushed in and put Gobert in a headlock before players were separated (Twitter video link via Bleacher Report).

McDaniels and Thompson were each given two technical fouls and ejected from the game, while Green was also thrown out after being assessed with a flagrant 2 foul. As Anthony Slater of The Athletic relays (via Twitter), official Tyler Ford explained after the game that the referees viewed Gobert as a peacemaker. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr didn’t agree with that ruling or the decision to eject Thompson.

“There is no way Klay should have been ejected. That was ridiculous,” Kerr said, per Andrews. “I was upset about that. As far as the Draymond piece of it, Rudy had his hands on Klay’s neck. That’s why Draymond went after Rudy.”

McDaniels downplayed his role in the altercation following a Minnesota victory, telling reporters that after Thompson grabbed him, he was “trying to defend myself and get him off me.” McDaniels said he was “laughing” as it happened and that he didn’t expect the situion to escalate the way it did, adding, “I guess it was a bigger deal to (Thompson).”

Gobert, meanwhile, referred to Green’s actions as “clown behavior” and offered an explanation for the Warriors star’s early ejection: “Every time Steph (Curry) doesn’t play, (Green) doesn’t want to play without his guy Steph, so he does anything he can to get ejected.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • While a suspension seems extremely unlikely for Gobert, McDaniels, or Thompson, it’s possible Green – who has a history of facing fines and suspensions for on-court physicality – will face further punishment. “I do hope that the league is going to do what needs to be done,” Gobert said after the game in reference to an additional penalty for Green, according to Andrews.
  • Kerr said the results of an MRI on Curry’s sore right knee were “good news” and that the two-time MVP is unlikely to be sidelined for an extended period, Slater writes for The Athletic. “Nothing alarming. So I would say he’s day to day and we’ll see,” Kerr said. “We’ll just have an update each day and let you know what’s going on. But it won’t be long. If he misses another game or two, whatever, it’s not going to be anything long-term.”
  • The Warriors’ rotation without Curry, Thompson, and Green was “jumbled up,” Slater notes, but it gave Brandin Podziemski a chance to play a career-high 39 minutes. The rookie became the first Warrior besides Curry this season to score more than 20 points in a game, finishing with 23 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Forward Dario Saric, who got his second start as a Warrior, also surpassed the 20-point mark, contributing 21.
  • Tim Kawakami of The Athletic takes a closer look at Podziemski’s breakout game, suggesting that the No. 19 overall pick played with the sort of confidence and toughness that Golden State had been looking for. “He’s going to play,” Kerr said of Podziemski, who had previously logged 52 total minutes in six appearances. “He’s going to play every night. He’s earned that. He was incredible tonight. He’s been great in practice. There’s something unique about him at that size to rebound the way he does. He had seven tonight. He’s always in the right spot. He’s fearless. He connects the game. He plays the way we want to play. The ball moves when he’s out there. He’s attacking at the right times, he’s cutting at the right times. Defensively he’s really good. He’s a damn good player, so he’s going to play.”
  • Even though the Warriors were without their three stars for nearly all of Tuesday’s game, Jonathan Kuminga only played 16 minutes and Moses Moody just 14, according to Slater, who says neither player has staked out a bigger role in the rotation so far this season. The path to increased minutes for the two former lottery picks may be further complicated by Podziemski’s rise, Slater adds.
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