Pair of events from win over Pelicans threaten to define Warriors' season

Monte Poole
NBC Sports BayArea
<p>Golden State's open confrontation of the officials makes it look petulant, hypersensitive and a bit more delicate than it should be comfortable with...</p>

Pair of events from win over Pelicans threaten to define Warriors' season

Golden State's open confrontation of the officials makes it look petulant, hypersensitive and a bit more delicate than it should be comfortable with...

Partially obscured by the awful optics of Stephen Curry turning his right ankle Monday night were the twin sagas that threaten to define this Warriors season.

There is their dangerous tendency to play "chicken" with opponents, accompanied by the increasingly prevalent habit of openly confronting or officials.

The first component may be a part of their collective makeup, combined with three successive extended seasons. Self-motivation is not always high for these Warriors. Presumably, they will reach a point, maybe around March, when they turn cold-blooded and remorseless.

This thing with the officials, though, makes the Warriors look petulant and hypersensitive and a bit more delicate than is becoming of an NBA team.

It was on full display Monday night in New Orleans, where Draymond Green and Kevin Durant picked up technical fouls in the first six minutes of the game.

So, naturally, he said all the right things afterward.

"That took us out of the game just a little bit," Durant, referring to the early T's, told reporters in New Orleans, where the Warriors overcame a 20-point halftime deficit to take a 125-115 win over the Pelicans. "We've got to just stay poised in those situations. And myself, I can't get involved with that type of stuff. I've got to stay locked in and stay focused on the game."

Durant was assessed with a second technical foul in the fourth quarter, resulting in automatic ejection. For the third consecutive game, a Warrior has been ejected and twice it was Durant. He was ejected Friday night in Orlando and Shaun Livingston was ejected for arguing and making contact with an official Sunday in Miami.

What became a bit of a concern for the Warriors last season has become a glaring issue seven weeks into this one. They've taken on the characteristics of the team they once hated with a very legitimate passion.

The Warriors of Steve Kerr and Stephen Curry and Co. are devolving into the Clippers of Doc Rivers, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the rest of what once was the whiniest team in American sports. The Warriors animosity toward the Clippers was partly because of their incessant crying and pleading, which came off as entitlement.

Which is, rather, how the Warriors are starting to look. And never more than Monday night.

"We're not composed out there," Kerr said. "We're a championship team. We've got to be poised and we've got to execute out there. We're getting way too emotional, myself included. I've got to do a better job of that, too.

"We've got to show some poise when things aren't going our way, stop worrying about everything else and just worry about the game."

Green leads the NBA in technical fouls with seven. Durant has four, which places him eighth in the league, and he is the only player to have been ejected twice this season. Green ranks 24th in being whistled for common fouls and is the only Warrior in the top 40.

Four teams have multiple players with at least three technical fouls: the Grizzlies, who are frustrated in a dozen ways; the Thunder, who are frustrated in a thousand ways; the Suns, who are profoundly immature; and the Warriors, who are defending champions with an 18-6 record.

Durant earned his second technical by getting into a shouting match with 2016 Olympics teammate DeMarcus Cousins, the Pelicans center who is the league's perennial champion of technical fouls. Durant expressed some regret and explained his point of view.

"I'm not going to fight nobody," he said. "I don't want to get injured. I don't want to get suspended. I love to play. I love making money for my family. So I'm not trying to get suspended. I'm not trying to get in any fights with nobody."

Though there are a few players capable of balling up a fist in a heartbeat, the NBA is not a fighter's league. There is whining, though, and this is something that has come relatively new to the Warriors.

And it's something the coaching staff has noticed.

"I didn't say anything pregame," Kerr said. "Maybe I should have. We're going to definitely talk about the next couple days."

The Warriors want to be known for beautiful offensive basketball and having the defensive mentality of a school of piranha. On a larger scale, they want to be known as the model franchise, a more entertaining version of the Spurs.

It's tough to win in the NBA, even tougher when spending more energy on officials than is warranted. It didn't help those Clippers teams, and it won't help these Warriors.

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