Warriors’ unity prevails in opener but Draymond Green’s pregame TV spot didn’t help

As they got back on defense, the two teammates high-fived. A much more congenial show of hands than occurred two weeks ago.

Tuesday was a night for celebration and joy. Harmony and unity.

The Warriors got their diamond-encrusted rings. They hung another championship banner. And then they put together a decisive 123-109 victory over the Lakers, a team that picked up where it left off last season — in disarray. For the Warriors, the evening was a perfectly scripted way to start the season.

And yet. The ugly practice punch still lingers in the air around the Warriors. There’s no getting away from it.

If you thought there was, then you didn’t see Green’s 21-minute self-produced “mini-documentary” that aired on TNT before the nationally televised game. Speaking to the camera with darkened “this is serious stuff” lighting, spliced ​​with images of him kissing his daughter, Green discussed the punch. It was part of the evening’s “entertainment” package.

So, yeah, you can be sure, the rest of us were to pay close attention to on-court interactions between Green and Poole.

The players, who have side-by-side lockers, ran out onto the court for pregame warmups next to each other. After receiving their rings, they posed with delighted smiles, each hanging off one side of Stephen Curry.

This was a night for celebration — honoring Chase Center’s first championship team, this dynasty’s fourth and perhaps most unexpected title. All the participants were cheered when they received their rings (though some low-key boos could be heard for Commissioner Adam Silver). But Poole earned a louder round of applause than Green. A few fans reported that there was a smattering of boos for Green in their particular sections.

It was Poole’s first ring night. He’s a newbie at this whole championship thing.

“I was excited to see it and be part of something so special and historic,” Poole said.

As the game progressed, his elevated role in the Warriors hierarchy was on display. He anchored the second unit. He was a facilitator, sharing the team lead in assists with Curry, at seven. He’s still a shooter, making the team’s first 3-pointer of the night.

“What makes Jordan a really exciting young player, he can score, he can distribute, he compliments Steph really well,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “Jordan proved last year how good he is. He’s going to play a huge role for us.”

Poole has always had swagger. But his swagger and comfort level seem enhanced, as they well should be. With his new $140 million contract extension, his salary will increase by 10-fold next season, and he’ll be the third-highest paid player on the team, behind Curry and Klay Thompson. The Warriors’ world has shifted.

Whatever the Warriors’ behind-the-scenes plans were for future contracts, the perception is that decisions were accelerated after the incident between Poole and Green. There could be no dithering on Poole’s extension, no delaying a decision on Andrew Wiggins, no putting off the transition to the Warriors’ future.

While the Warriors’ brass seemed to be making the decision to eventually move on from Green, they simultaneously made the decision not to punish him. They knew that would be a public relations problem for the team but were willing to take that risk for team harmony.

It would have been unthinkable not to have Green in the house for the ring ceremony. There wouldn’t be four banners hanging in Chase Center if it wasn’t for Green.

But there remains a tension around the team.

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