As you scan your memory banks for the details you know about Goran Dragic, the top search results likely include him being a pretty good point guard for the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets and now Phoenix Suns again, being foreign (from Slovenia, to be specific), being left-handed, being a guy named Goran whose brother's name is Zoran and that one playoff game about the San Antonio Spurs where he went nuts. There's something else the 27-year-old triggerman's shown throughout his NBA career that you might not know, though — he's kind of a feisty dude.
Dragic's smoldering internal fire was hinted at when we learned about his long-running feud with countryman and former Los Angeles Lakers/New Jersey Nets guard Sasha Vujacic, but there's a physical component to it, too — apparently, the 6-foot-4 guard doesn't like to get bumped. He got in Blake Griffin's face after a foul at Summer League in 2009 and was ready to throw down with Kenyon Martin back in 2011; last season's altercation with Ryan Hollins wasn't really his fault, because it's not like Dragic put himself in a headlock, but it was another scrap for our man Gogi, and the latest instance of his willingness to mix it up when the game gets a bit rough.
Well, it's the latest no longer, thanks to this past weekend's matchup between Slovenia and Turkey in the Laško Group tournament, a preliminary competition in advance of next month's EuroBasket 2013, which will be held in Slovenia. As Turkish guard (and University of Texas product) Dogus Balbay learned early in the first quarter of the "friendly," Slovenia's starting point guard isn't the world's most gracious host:
See? Feisty. For more on the incident, let's turn to Dave King of Bright Side of the Sun:
The frustration could not have been building for long, since the score was only 5-2 in the first period when this happened. But it's clear Dragic was frustrated with how he reacted to a clean strip on a drive to the hoop.
Late in the video, you can see a slow motion camera angle that shows a clean strip on his drive to the hoop. But Dragic reacted immediately by shoving the opponent on their way out of bounds.
We all know Goran got frustrated last season sometimes, but it was late in the year after so many losses and always late in a physical game against an opponent designed to frustrate him as the only threat in the Suns offense.
This game, however, was early (score was 5-2 in the opening minutes) and Slovenia was playing nothing more than a friendly warmup. After the ejection, Turkey took an early lead before Slovenia, without Dragic, blew them out in the second half.
As King notes, Slovenia scored a 72-53 victory, with Most Valuable Dragic honors going to Zoran, who scored 11 points.
Sure, nobody likes being swiped at, but hey: Chill out, Goran Dragic. Hosting EuroBasket's a pretty big deal, and starting bench-clearing brouhahas — I hesitate to call it a brawl — wouldn't be a great look when the international basketball community's attention turns toward your lovely home nation.
A word of advice: The next time there's swipery, take a deep breath, then think, "What would my good friend Michael Beasley do?" and then do the opposite. From there, everything should be cream cheese.
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