The Nuggets certainly seemed sick of the Suns by the time Phoenix swept Denver in last year’s playoffs.
Jeff Green didn’t even need that postseason backdrop to become perturbed with the Suns.
A newcomer to the potentially budding rivalry, the Nuggets forward took umbrage with Chris Paul in the third quarter of Phoenix’s win last night. Up to his old tricks in his first game back from injury, Chris Paul – without the ball – stopped short while running up court, causing Green to bump him from behind. Green then jawed at Paul, drawing technical foul.
Green’s ire apparently continued after the game.
As the final moments ticked off the clock and the Denver Nuggets fell at home to the Phoenix Suns in an intense battle between previous playoff opponents, Jeff Green took off towards the hallway through the tunnel leading to the locker rooms.
Each locker room is separated by about 40 feet of hallway and a set of double doors. As Green turned the corner and neared the Nuggets locker room, the first of the two, he did not slow down and walked straight through those double doors without hesitation and continued towards the visiting locker room where the Suns team was located.
As the rest of the Nuggets players and staffers who were walking with Green realized his intentions, they held him back and kept the situation from escalating according to three sources familiar with the interaction. Ultimately, only words were traded; not any type of physical altercation.
We don’t know what Green intended to do if not restrained. Maybe more yelling. Maybe more.
But his post-game charge alone says something about the state of relations between these teams, even after a chippy game showed plenty.
By the way: Denver is only one game up on the Timberwolves for sixth place in the Western Conference. Fall behind Minnesota and go lose-win in the play-in tournament, and the Nuggets would face the Suns in the first round. Quite possible.