Lester Quinones

Why Quinones tried to score at end of Warriors' win, which upset Hornets

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Steve Kerr saw absolutely nothing wrong with Lester Quinones trying to score in the final seconds of the Warriors' fairly easy 97-84 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night at Chase Center.

If anything, the coach was surprised at how the Hornets reacted to it.

Miles Bridges, who was whistled for goaltending on the play, was angry and started going toward Quinones. His Charlotte teammate, Grant Williams, also seemed to take offense at the play and entered the fray as well.

The play made no difference in the outcome, but it was a major topic of discussion afterward.

Quinones received two technical fouls for the altercation and was ejected. Bridges and Williams also were hit with techs, and Williams joined Quinones in being tossed.

None of it made sense to Kerr.

“For 10 years, I’ve told our team, ‘If there’s a shot-clock differential, you keep playing,’ ” Kerr said. “To me, the game tells you to keep playing. We’ve always done it that way. Nobody’s ever been offended.

“[The Hornets] were pressing in the last few minutes. You still play the game. As soon as there’s no shot-clock differential, then you sit on the ball and you let the clock run out. But if there’s a differential, I think guys should always keep playing.

"To me, it’s very strange why that would be offensive to anybody. I’ve never understood why that would be offensive. Nobody’s ever been upset with us in the past for doing that. Why take a turnover? The clock says keep playing, you keep playing. That shouldn’t offend anybody.”

Offend someone it did.

Players and coaches from both teams joined a mob surrounding Quinones, Bridges and Williams near the Warriors' bench. Some minor pushing and shoving occurred, but no punches appeared to be thrown.

Afterward, however, tempers still flared on both sides.

For Quinones, a former two-way player who was converted to a standard NBA contract earlier this week, was confused about why the Hornets were upset and reacted the way they did.

“The reason that I scored was because I heard Steve say go,” Quinones told NBC Sports Bay Area. “I saw the one-second difference in the shot clock, and Steve was like, ‘Go, go, go.’ And [the Hornets] were pressing, so I was like, ‘I’m going to go get a layup.” They goaltended it and pushed me. I was like, ‘Bro, it’s basketball. If it was that serious, you should have played defense. Stop me then.' ”

That was the prevailing sentiment throughout the Warriors' locker room.

Draymond Green, who has been in his fair share of altercations with opposing players, was very outspoken about the incident.

“I don’t really understand why people get so mad at somebody scoring at the end of the game,” Green said. “It’s like this dumb unwritten rule that everybody gets mad. Like, if y'all were winning by 13 points, would you be mad if we laid the ball up? I doubt it. It’s kind of like a sore loser-type thing.

“Miles is my guy, that’s my little brother, so I’m not going to sit here and go in on Miles. Miles can do no wrong to me. But Grant Williams has to stop it, man. Being this tough guy is going absolutely wrong for him. He’s a really nice guy. For some reason, he keeps trying to jump on the unlikable side. I must tell you, it’s not always fun over here. It’s not always a good time. He needs to figure it out. Talking too much kind of got you out of Dallas, like overdoing it. He’s over there talking too much now. Might want to slow down.”

After everyone was separated, Williams tried to approach some of the Warriors players.

“He came over to our bench [and] thought he was about to have a friend,” Green said. “Ain’t no friends over here for you, my man. You got to go down there and talk to your guys. You can’t come over here and talk to us about what just happened with our player. Nah, we support him.

“You also cannot press down 13 with a minute to go, and then somebody shoots a layup with [12] seconds to go and get mad. With 2:45 [left] we took our starters out. Go sit down, it’s over. Game is over, go sit down. They didn’t want to go sit down. So if y'all still playing, then play. Don’t stop now because there’s [12] seconds left and you finally feel like it’s out of reach, Clearly we thought it was out of reach at 2:45, which is why Steve took everybody out. So, now that you think it’s out of reach, it’s OK? Like, it ends now? No, it doesn’t work like that.

"I’m really sick of guys with this, ‘Oh, you scored at the end. Raaaar.’ Bro, you should have done that a long time ago.”

Quinones hasn’t received a lot of playing time this season, so there was some question about him simply trying to take advantage of the opportunity. Kerr disagreed, however, and said it wouldn’t matter what the circumstances are.

“If we’re down 20 and there’s a shot-clock differential, I want us to go score,” Kerr said. “The fact that they were pressing and trapping in the final few minutes, they kept playing. So, we have to be allowed to continue to play.

"I really don’t think it’s a big deal, but for whatever reason, there is a little, I guess, feeling of kind of a weird dynamic that somehow it’s offensive. To me, [if] the clock tells you to shoot, you just shoot and play basketball 'til the end.”

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