Beef. It’s what’s for dinner, at least win Pacific Division rival Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors are coming over to your house for supper. Better put away your good China and have paper plate place settings.
We have witnessed numerous competitive games over the past few seasons between the two, which have provided us with some juicy competitive moments. Klay Thompson flashing four fingers at Devin Booker after Book cooked him ring a bell?
Earlier this season, it was Draymond Green attempting to sell a foul that caused an uproar. To do so, he violently swung his arms backward, making contact with the head of Jusuf Nurkic. He was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected from the game.
Draymond Green swipe across the face on Jusuf Nurkic pic.twitter.com/BsQ5YHPWet— Oh no he didn't (@ohnohedidnt24) December 13, 2023
It was a repeat offense and another tantrum by Green that led to an ejection and ultimately a 12-game suspension by the league. Draymond had previously been suspended five games after choking Rudy Gobert in a mid-court scrum against the Minnesota Warriors on November 15.
Following that game, Jusuf Nurkic gave his two cents on Draymond’s antics. “What’s going on with him? I don’t know. Personally, I feel like that brother needs help.”
The purpose of Green’s suspension was to do just that, to get help. He underwent counseling during his suspension and the league reinstated him on January 6.
Saturday night in Golden State first time since that incident in which the Suns and the Warriors have faced off. Would there be a shaking of the hands at midcourt by Green and Nurkic? Or with the mental game once a bit again be an aspect that Nurk would have to battle? It was the latter.
Early in the game, Green was up to his old tricks, battling with Nurkic down low, fouling, and flailing his arms. Nurkic gave him a “Hey, come on man” kind of look while holding the ball, and it was Klay Thompson who volleyball spiked it out of his arms, receiving a technical foul for his actions.
But we knew at that moment that Nurkic was attempting to play the mind games right back at Green, potentially attempting to provoke him into a technical foul or even an eventual ejection. Playing mind games with Draymond? That’s tricky business.
Draymond is simply one of those players, the type that likes to play the mental game as well as the physical game of basketball. His goal is to get in the opponent's head and force him out of the rhythm that he normally prefers to play. When you are focused on the antics of Green, you’re not focused on some aspect of basketball, therefore, Green wins. He has made a career out of it.
The highly competitive game gave us some entertaining moments. Jusuf Nurkic dunking the ball on Green, repeatedly flashing the “two small” sign and slapping the floor. The only problem? He allowed Draymond to do the same thing to him just a couple of plays later on the opposite end.
Nurk and Draymond both believe the other is too small pic.twitter.com/1EWuMPofhX— John Voita (@DarthVoita) February 11, 2024
The back-and-forth game ultimately came down to the final possessions, and it was a Stephen Curry three-point that proved to be the difference in the 113-112 loss for the Suns.
But that wasn’t the end of the fireworks. Postgame comments made by both Nurkic and Green continued the beef.
“It’s sad. He didn’t learn anything, man,” Nurkić said. “Just a matter of time until he hits somebody else again. I take everything back, what I said. He don’t deserve a chance.”
"It's sad. He didn't learn anything. Just a matter of time. He's going to hit somebody else again. Take back everything I said. He don't deserve a chance."— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) February 11, 2024
Jusuf Nurkic on Draymond Green, who got suspended after hitting him in face Dec. 12.
"Antics. Try to hit people." #Suns pic.twitter.com/fEF2hLJuyS
Green was made aware of the comments made by Nurkic, and he responded accordingly.
“I mean I thought I was pretty great tonight, honesty,” Green responded. “I thought he tried to get in my head and it didn’t work. If he wants me to walk around quiet like him I’m never gonna do that. Quiet guys don’t win.”
“He can keep riding the horse he rode in on,” Draymond added, “he can ride his ass on outta here”.
Reporter: “[Jusuf] Nurkic said after the game that he thought your antics tonight proved you didn’t learn anything.”— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) February 11, 2024
Draymond Green: “If he wants me to walk around quiet like him I’m never gonna do that. Quiet guys don’t win.” ️
We know that Draymond is not shy from stating his opinion, and he added to it.
“You can’t be a nothing defender if you gonna do that,” Green stated, referencing the ‘too small’ actions by Nurk. “I was saying ‘he’s a dummy’ when I was pointing to my head. I was keeping my head. You can’t start talking and charging to me. It’s not smart.”
“I know his goal was to get me out the game.”
Draymond Green on the ‘too small’ back-and-forth taunts with Jusuf Nurkic: “You can’t be a nothing defender if you gonna do that.” pic.twitter.com/va7P9w9MpY— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 11, 2024
Where will the beef go from here? At this point, the Suns and Warriors are done for the season. Phoenix took three out of four games from them and, unless they play each other in the postseason, any future drama will have to wait.
There is a possibility we see these two teams play in a playoff series, although with the current standings, it is highly unlikely. That being said, if they do...