San Francisco – Draymond Green and Klay Thompson were both ejected in the first minute of tonight’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. What started out as a tussle between Thompson and Jaden McDaniels led to multiple ejections with guys coming off the bench in a melee. McDaniels was also ejected in the Warriors In-Season Tournament game loss to the Wolves 104-101.
The score was 0-0 when Thompson and McDaniels got it not a small scuffle that escalated across the court. When Rudy Gobert came behind Thompson and grabbed him by the neck, Green flew towards him and put him in a choke hold and dragged him towards Golden State’s team bench. The game was delayed for further review which led to all three ejections except Gobert who was also apart of the chaos.
“I was just trying to crash for a rebound, and (Klay Thompson) had kind of grabbed for my collar, and I was just trying to defend myself and get him off me,” McDaniels said. “The rest is what it is what it is. I have no problem, or no issue. I was just trying to defend myself really. We didn’t have nothing, we were running down the court we probably said something back to each other, I wasn’t taking it serious, I was just laughing and joking around. Some people take things differently.”
It definitely didn’t look like playful tugging of jerseys on the floor because McDaniels had to restrained as well. It was bizarre to see Thompson ejected since he never through a punch and basically protected himself. But the Poole reports from the Athletic’s Anthony Slater with Crew Chief Tyler Ford read:
The Pool Report interview was conducted by Anthony Slater (The Athletic) with Crew Chief Tyler Ford following tonight’s Timberwolves at Warriors game.
QUESTION: Why did you land on the decision to eject Klay Thompson and Jaden McDaniels as opposed to giving them double technicals?
FORD: Both players were involved in an altercation that didn’t immediately dissolve and their actions warranted an ejection
QUESTION: Why was Draymond Green assessed a Flagrant 2?
FORD: He aggressively put Gobert in a headlock and refuses to let go. This is unnecessary and excessive conduct which meets the standard for a flagrant foul penalty 2.
QUESTION: Was there consideration to giving extra discipline to Rudy Gobert for his part or anyone else involved besides Draymond Green?
FORD: Gobert was attempting to separate Thompson and McDaniels and was ruled to be a peacemaker. We reviewed all other players and acts and no other unsportsmanlike acts were observed.
“We were already hyped up for the game, just because they just beat us, it is an In-Season Tournament game, so it is really more at stake,” said Kevon Looney. “I think the altercation kind of set the tone, we already came out there knowing that we were going to compete hard. We wanted to punch first. The altercation got the crowd into it. It got everybody going that it was going to be an attack first and play hard for our guys that got ejected and not let that carry over.”
One the dust settled, the Warriors came out aggressively and probably played their best basketball as a unit despite missing three key players. Chris Paul got the start and finished with 15 points and 5 rebounds. Golden State finished the first three quarters ahead of Minnesota despite running out of gas in the final minutes. Mike Conley’s three-point shot and Kyle Anderson’s two free throws made it a 104-98 game with 4.0 seconds on the clock.
Moses Moody 3-point shot made it a 104-101 game but there just not enough time for Golden State to get the win. The Timberwolves trailed by as many as 12 points and went on to win, marking the largest deficit a Warriors opponent has overcome this season. Golden States reserves have outscored the opponent’s bench in every game this season and outscored the Wolves, 56-29 in tonight’s contest.
“It was just an amazing performance by our guys to be so short-handed and to fight and compete the way they did,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “It was just beautiful to watch. Give credit to Minnesota, they’ve probably been the best team in the league to this point, number-one defense. They earned it but I couldn’t be more proud of our guys. They just competed like crazy. It was really fun to watch.”
Brandin Podziemski posted career-high marks in points (23), assists (5) and minutes played (39). The last time a Warriors rookie played 39-or-more minutes was Eric Paschall (42 minutes on 1/20/20 at POR). Kerr said before tonight’s game he liked Podziemski’s confidence and that he’ll be playing more games. Dario Šarić posted a season-high 21 points and made all six of his free throw attempts.
“He’s great man, BP, we talk a lot during the game,” Paul said. “His energy is contagious, it’s another ball handler that’s out there that’s able to attack, defend. We don’t have some regular rookies you know what I mean, we got some rooks who pay attention, know what they’re doing. To be on a team like this, this early in the season, valuable minutes in big games, it’s only going to be good in the long haul.”
“I think it was what the game called for,” said Podziemski. “With the guys being out there, me and Chris (Paul) were our main scorers out there. That is what the game called for. Some games I will get one shot and some games I will get 18 like I did tonight. Whatever the games calls for, and it is about taking the right shots and I talked to 30 (Stephen Curry) about it and he said every shot that I took tonight was a great shot. That is kind of what the game called for and we will go from there.”
Notes – Stephen Curry’s MRI came back positive showing no damage to his knee and that he will be day-to-day.
“Nothing alarming,” Kerr said of the Curry’s injury. “He is day-to-day and we will see. If he misses another game or two, it’s not going to be anything long-term.”
The warriors will be without Stephen Curry who has a right knee soreness. This will be an opportunity for other guys to step up since Curry has led all scores for the past ten games. Help is needed elsewhere and this is a great time for guys like Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins to have a breakout game. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr talked about being with Curry pregame:
ON STEPHEN CURRY’S INJURY:
“He got an MRI today and we haven’t gotten the results back yet so I don’t have much to report.”
ON IF STEPHEN CURRY BEING OUT ALLOWS HIM TO TRY MORE ROTATIONS:
“I think a night like tonight opens up the possibility because we have to find some combinations that click. Obviously we haven’t been great offensively this year, Steph has been great, but overall we haven’t been great. So tonight will be about trying to find five-man groups that make sense so that opens up the door for a lot of different possibilities.”
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF FINDING AN OFFENSIVE RHYTHM WITH CURRY OUT:
“I think it’s an opportunity actually. I look at it as a chance for other guys to take on the responsibility of scoring and leading. It’s way too early in the season to be worried about anything, to be looking at the standings, anything like that. We’re finding ourselves as a team, we’ve had some good nights and some bad ones here in the early going. It’s more just about continuing to grow, continuing to learn about our team. To me this is an opportunity for a lot of guys to step up and contribute.”
ON WHAT HE HAS SEEN FROM ANDREW WIGGINS SO FAR THIS SEASON:
“He’s just had a rough shooting start through 11 games. I mean we’ve had him four years, maybe this is the fifth year, he’s shot the ball really well for us. So that’s a pretty big sample size when you’re talking about multiple years. This year he’s just started out really slowly, he’s struggling, it happens to everybody. But when it happens at the beginning of the season it’s just so much more exposed. Everybody’s talking about it. Players all look at their stats, it’s hard to look at your stats early when things aren’t going well. If the exact same thing happened in February or something there wouldn’t be as much focus on it. So I just choose to rely on the big sample size of Wigg’s whole career. I think I’m just encouraging him to be aggressive and he’ll be fine.”
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