Draymond Green and Rajon Rondo are the types of players that you hate when they’re on the opposing team but love when they’re on your team.
They’re both remarkably skilled and predicate their game on grit and tenacity, unafraid of getting in another player’s face every once in a while to light a fire underneath their team.
The Golden State Warriors dropped game 3 in the Western Conference semifinals last night to the New Orleans Pelicans, and things got a bit iffy at times.
The Warriors still lead the series 2-1, but the Pelicans handed the Warriors a dominant defeat in front of their fans down in New Orleans.
There were a couple instances instigated by Rondo that at best toed the line between fiery competitiveness and what appeared to be blatantly dirty tactics.
The first happened in the opening quarter. Stephen Curry elevated for a jumper, and Rondo appeared to stick his right foot underneath Curry so that he’d land on it.
The second incident took place in the third quarter. Green was walking towards the bench after a timeout was called, and Rondo looked like he tried to trip Green from behind.
Chris Haynes of ESPN has an interesting piece about the reaction from different coaches and players about Rondo’s questionable moves.
Steve Kerr was upset about how dangerous both maneuvers were, and indicated that while he didn’t expect the league to take any action, that they should keep an eye on things going forward in the series.
Green himself seemed to understand Rondo’s motives, saying that the point guard wasn’t crossing any lines, but just doing whatever it took to win a basketball game.
Green undoubtedly realizes that he himself partakes in questionable plays from time to time. The kick to Steven Adams during the Western Conference Finals in 2016 immediately comes to mind.
It would be extremely hypocritical for Green to label any opposing player as “dirty,” and it seems as if Green has a degree of respect for what Rondo is trying to do.
Green shifted the focus onto himself and his teammates. He emphasized not being baited into technical fouls and making sure he and his teammates play solid basketball.
There’s nothing wrong with gamesmanship and trying to intimidate the other side as long as nobody gets injured in the process.
If Rondo ends up injuring someone with these plays, then the league should step in and take appropriate action against him.
Until it gets to that point, though, these are two extremely passionate players whose desires to win are nearly unrivaled. It’s both great theater and makes for fantastic competition out on the court.