If the basketball gods are the trash-talking sort I imagine them to be, they will treat us to a Western Conference playoff rematch between the Warriors and Clippers.
There is no love lost between California rivals Golden State and Los Angeles, if only because the Warriors' ultimate weapon, Draymond Green, manages to twist the knife at every turn, despite having lost a seven-game series to the Clippers just last season.
That first-round showdown only fanned flames sparked in part by Green, who once reveled in Blake Griffin’s failures and elbowed the Clippers forward in the neck on Christmas. Golden State’s defensive player of the year candidate only added fuel to the fire this season, sticking his tongue in Griffin’s grill during a blowout win this past November, reminding us Dahntay Jones “don’t play” following the L.A. reserve’s in-game bump last month and responding to Clips coach Doc Rivers’ dismissal of said bump with the now classic phrase, “Cool story, Glenn” — a line Green dropped in a radio interview and later made into a t-shirt venture.
So, when Green outright admitted the Clippers are a team “I strongly dislike” in a fantastic feature penned by by Grantland’s Jonathan Abrams on the Michigan State product’s surprising rise to stardom, it didn’t come as a surprise. But his more detailed assessment of the Clips did, even by Green’s trash-talking standards.
“They have a cocky arrogance, like they’ve won something, and they haven’t done nothing,” Green said. “They pretty much been to the same spot in the playoffs we’ve been to. But they have this cockiness like you’re supposed to bow down to them. They ain’t proved nothing. They ain’t earned nothing. What respect have you earned?”
Granted, the Clippers have never even been to the conference finals as a franchise, but they did discard Green’s Warriors in seven games last season, so technically they have won something.
Still, Green has a point. The Clippers rank among the league’s most hate-able teams, even in their own state, with Griffin on everybody’s list of the NBA’s most disliked players, and even Rivers thinks his team needs to cool the incessant complaining to referees, which has to be awfully grating for any opponent.
Regardless, Green won’t bow to Griffin should they meet in the second round — a likely scenario for the top-seeded Warriors and fifth-seeded Clippers — but we’ll certainly be watching when they open the curtain.
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