Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers and Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr traded barbs ahead of their respective teams going to battle on Tuesday night.
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The rivalry between the two teams has been a welcome throwback to when such tension-filled match-ups were the norm in the NBA, and it has certainly showed no signs of abating this season.
After Dahntay Jones’ bump on Draymond Green during a national TV interview last month, individuals from both sides traded words through the media and that led to a high level of anticipation ahead of Tuesday’s game.
However, Green was ruled out with a shin injury, but that didn’t prevent the Warriors from leaving the Staples Center with the win as Stephen Curry produced another impressive display.
It appears as though Kerr’s team had a bit of extra incentive as although he suggested that he hadn’t heard Rivers’ pre-game comments until a reporter relayed them to him, Golden State would undoubtedly have been aware of it and made sure they made a statement on their travels.
“That was pretty predictable, they didn’t want to take the risk of going 2-2 [in the season series] with their regular guys,” Rivers said on Green missing out, ESPN reported. “You could pretty much predict they weren’t going to play everybody.”
“Oh, is that right?” Kerr said with a chuckle when Rivers’ quote was relayed to him. “Either that or we have a nine-game lead and a couple guys banged up. Somewhere in there.”
Golden State now have a 10-and-a-half game lead over the Memphis Grizzlies as they continue to cruise through the regular season at the top of the Western Conference, while they are now 12-and-a-half games above the Clippers in the Pacific Division.
It remains to be seen whether or not these two teams cross paths in the post-season, but it will undoubtedly be an entertaining playoff series if they do as there will be much more on the line and a significant amount of tension between them which could boil over at any minute.