Draymond Green and Rajon Rondo were chest-to-chest, yelling at each other during a heated playoff game, and Charles Barkley wanted a piece of the action.
The Warriors defeated the Pelicans 121–116 in Game 2 of a Western Conference semifinals series on Tuesday, powered by the return of Stephen Curry, who scored 28 points in his first game back from a knee injury. After Golden State won Game 1 in blowout fashion, New Orleans managed to keep things closer throughout the first half. As the Warriors went into halftime holding a 58–55 lead, Green and Rondo had to be separated while engaging in an extended shouting match.
Barkley, the Hall of Fame player and TNT commentator, made it clear that he wanted to put a stop to Green’s yapping.
“I just want somebody to punch him in the face,” Barkley said of Green. “I really do. I want to punch his ass in the face. I do.”
Such words travel fast these days. Green, who posted 20 points, nine rebounds and 12 assists in the win, had a lengthy reply ready when asked about Barkley’s comments during his post-game press conference.
“He’s seen me a million times,” Green said of Barkley. “If he feels that strongly about it, then punch me in the face when you see me. If you’re not going to punch me in the face when you see me, then shut up. It’s no different than someone sitting behind a computer screen, tweeting, ‘I’ll knock you out’ and you never see them in life.”
The All-Star forward then rightfully noted that he and Barkley might cross paths later this year, as TNT will broadcast the Western Conference finals.
“[Barkley has] seen me a bunch of times and he’ll see me again this year,” Green said. “Punch me in the face when you see me or, if not, no one cares what you would have done. It’s old and it is what it is. If you’re not going to punch me when you see me, then stop talking about it. Period.”
This isn’t the first time that Green and the Warriors have volleyed with TNT commentators, and it won’t be the last. Last week, TNT color commentator Chris Webber suggested that Green might not start for some teams because he’s not a natural lead scorer. During the 2016-17 season, TNT’s Shaquille O’Neal jabbed at Warriors forward Kevin Durant due to his lack of a title.
Golden State holds a 2–0 lead as the series shifts to New Orleans for Game 3 on Friday.