8 Draymond Green headlock observations + Wembanyama and Holmgren square off


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The Warriors’ In-Season Tournament court had a gold runway for Draymond to rush Gobert.

Green Grapples Gobert

Feel the in-season intensity

Last night, the In-Season Tournament’s group play provided nearly six hours of pure chaos, with at least three scuffles taking place.

The Spurs and Thunder got into it, as did the Lakers and Grizzlies. Also, Paul George’s attempted game-tying 3 with five seconds left in Denver resulted in a wedgie, Ausar Thompson put down an absolute poster, and Tyrese Haliburton dissected the Sixers for a Pacers win.

But it all pales in comparison to what happened only 1:43 into the Wolves-Warriors game. Jaden McDaniels’ and Klay Thompson’s jersey-pulling contest led to a half-court kerfuffle. Rudy Gobert and others tried breaking it up, but Draymond Green put Gobert in a headlock.

McDaniels and Thompson were both given double techs and ejected from the game. Draymond was given a Flagrant 2:

Obviously, “violence is bad ” and whatever other qualifiers we must use before examining this. And everybody is OK, so that’s important. Here are eight key parts of this fracas:

8. Social media’s In-Season Tournament excitement: The league wanted intensity and buy-in for the tournament. The Warriors and Wolves were literally willing to fight for the NBA Cup during group play!

7. CP3 playing peacemaker. A habitual crotch-puncher was as calm as could be and eventually walked Klay away from the scuffle. With 10 guesses as to who would’ve started a fight in this game, Draymond and Paul would’ve gotten five apiece.

6. Draymond on Instagram earlier this week. After being ejected against the Cavaliers Saturday, Draymond ranted on Instagram about being told not to be himself so much, saying “I am better at being Draymond than ANYBODY!!” He also said we’d look at him crazy if he told us how to do our jobs. Two days later, this fight happened.

5. Karl-Anthony Towns not really helping. Did you see KAT not totally help Gobert out on the play? He sort of tried, but once Green ducks his chin in to prevent a hold, Towns gives up. Maybe he didn’t want to be next. To be fair, he has a history of being choked on the court.

4. Don’t forget “insecurity is always loud.” Gobert tweeted that after the Draymond-Jordan Poole incident. Six months later, Draymond tweeted that very quote after Gobert punched his own teammate, Kyle Anderson. This beef has been brewing for a long time.

3. The Warriors’ broadcast. Warriors announcers Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike aren’t strangers to selling the team to paying viewers. They’ve been known to … be very pro-Warriors. Hearing them try to downplay Green’s actions to claim Gobert had Klay in a headlock was hilarious. It’s a solid spin attempt by the Warriors.

2. Gobert’s face during this. Again, let’s qualify this by acknowledging unacceptable behavior. But Gobert has such a look of “What the hell is going on?” (said with a French accent) during all this.

1. It was a 0-0 game! Again, we were 103 seconds into the game when this broke. Green got ejected almost immediately. Gobert has a theory as to why this would happen so quickly. Via Jon Krawczynski:

“Gobert called Green’s choke “clown behavior.” Said he knew as soon as he heard Steph was out, he knew Draymond was going to try to get ejected

Gobert on Draymond: “Every time Steph doesn’t play, he doesn’t want to play without his guy Steph so he does anything he can to get ejected.”

Gobert from the top rope?! My goodness. When do they play again? March 24? That’s not soon enough.

The Latest From Shams

Zach LaVine’s trade market

Teams are probing the availability of two-time All-Star guard Zach LaVine, and there’s been increased openness from the Chicago Bulls and LaVine about exploring a trade, league sources said.

Additionally, I’m told the Lakers, Heat and Sixers are expected to have a level of interest in LaVine. The 6-foot-5 guard is in the second season of a five-year max contract and is averaging 21.9 points, 3.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game, but the Bulls have struggled overall, with a 4-7 record entering tonight’s home game against Orlando.

My colleague Darnell Mayberry and I have more details and analysis of the situation here, and we’ll continue eyeing developments in Chicago.

Out west, Golden State’s Stephen Curry missed Tuesday’s game against Minnesota, and the future Hall of Famer is believed to have a sprain in his right knee, league sources tell me. Curry underwent further evaluations Tuesday to confirm the injury and exact timetable. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said late Tuesday that Curry is being considered day-to-day and that, even if he misses another game or two, his absence won’t be long term.

Wemby v. Chet

Oh, two basketball giraffes squared off

Lest we forget, we tuned in last night for Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren in the lankiest rookie battle ever! The game’s outcome wasn’t interesting. The Thunder led by as many as 40 points and won 123-87.

The giraffes didn’t guard each other much. Wemby had eight points (shot 4-of-15), 14 rebounds, two blocks and five turnovers. He scored a couple of cool buckets but had a scoreless second half. Holmgren had nine points (shot 3-of-10), seven rebounds, two steals and a block.

We did get this great photo by Logan Riely of their opening jump ball, which many said should be the logo for the In-Season Tournament. A dud of a showdown, but we’ll try again on Jan. 24.

On This Date

The NBA’s first 70-point game

On this date, in 1960, Elgin Baylor set the NBA’s single-game scoring record with 71 points in a 123-108 Lakers win over the Knicks. He shot 28-of-48 overall and 15-of-19 on free throws. Remember, there wasn’t a 3-point line back then. Baylor went for 71 the hardest way possible. He also had 25 rebounds and an assist. This record lasted roughly a year before Wilt Chamberlain (78 points) broke it. Wilt dropped 100 in a game three months later. Crazily, there have been 10 instances of Baylor’s 71 points being matched/exceeded, including two last season (Donovan Mitchell, Damian Lillard).

Bounce Passes

My Week 4 Power Rankings are here! The Rockets are soaring!

David Aldridge asks Bastien from TrashTalk about Wemby’s goals.

Fred Katz on if RJ Barrett can maintain this. Is Barrett tricking us again?

James Edwards III says Cade Cunningham needs some help in Detroit.

Screen Game (All times Eastern)

  • Main Screen: Celtics-Sixers (7:30 p.m. ESPN). The Celtics need revenge after losing to Philly last week.
  • Second Screen: Knicks-Hawks (7:30 p.m.). Trae Young loves playing the Knicks. This time, New York has a top defense.League Pass Game of the Night: Wolves-Suns (9 p.m.). Devin Booker is probable, so we could see the Suns at full strength against the NBA’s best defense. Full schedule here.

(Top photo of Draymond Green: Kelley L. Cox / USA Today)

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