Sunday, June 26, 2022

Warriors Draymond Green vocally defends bad play in NBA Finals

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The Golden State Warriors are tied 2-2 with the Boston Celtics on their way back to the Chase Center for a crucial Game 5 in the NBA Finals, but the Dubs accomplished that feat against a younger and taller opponent less because of Draymond Green than despite him.

Unsurprisingly, Green doesn’t see it that way. The Warriors star forward spoke to reporters on Sunday, June 12 about his game at the end of Game 4 two nights earlier. Head coach Steve Kerr pulled Green out of that contest for a crucial four-minute stretch between about the 7:30 mark and the 3:30 mark in the fourth quarter.

“I influence victory and I did that all the way through.” said Green. “I’ll have to do that in Game 5.”

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To Green’s credit, he finished the night with nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals. However, Green has been past an offensive commitment in four games of that series.

The defensive end, who once scored 32 points in an NBA Finals Game 7 against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, has recorded more personal fouls against the Celtics (18) through Game 4 than he has points (17). Only two of those points came off the field in 1 of 7 shooting stages Friday night in Boston.

Green’s lack of production at that end of the floor is leading NBA pundits like ESPN’s Tim Bontemps to equate the Dubs’ offensive attack to a four-for-five game when Green is on the floor.

Based on his offensive struggles and the Warriors’ need for more rebounds, Bontemps urged Kerr to play more minutes against Kevon Looney and less against Green before Game 4. Kerr made that decision Friday night, increasing Looney’s minutes from 17 in Game 3 to 28, resulting in a 29 rebound difference (ranging from minus 16 rebounds to plus 13 rebounds) from one contest to the next. The Celtics knocked out the Warriors 47-31 on Wednesday night while Golden State held the rebound advantage over Boston 55-42 two days later.

The Ringer’s Bill Simmons has also questioned Green’s effectiveness on the defensive side of the ball throughout the series, noting a decrease in the 32-year-old’s athleticism versus Boston’s younger and physically larger wings, namely Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown , becomes clearer .

Kerr addressed the barrage of media criticism aimed at Green as he met with reporters on Sunday and defended Green’s game in Game 4 and throughout the finals.

“Draymond is Draymond”, said Kerr. “He’s going to bring it every night and I think that’s something that maybe got lost the other night, how good he was… on the track.”

“He ends the game with four steals, brilliant on defense. He did what we had to do to win the game,” added Kerr. “Everyone is fixated on scoring goals. Scoring goals has always been the last thing we need from him. We need its defence, its energy, its strength, its competitiveness. And as the game progressed, he made big plays at both ends.”

Kerr’s comments came despite his decision to pull Green out of the fourth quarter of the must-win Game 4 in Boston first and then go on offensive defense for the rest of the night, bringing on guard Jordan Poole for Green when the Warriors did had balls

Green shared his feelings about Kerr’s moves on his podcast, The Draymond Green Show, following Golden State’s win.

“Was I angry and frustrated? Absolutely,” admitted Green. “Seven minutes left in an extremely important game. You know, we can’t go down 3-1. You don’t want to go down 3-1 and I’m out of the game. I was angry but I owe it to my teammates.”

Green has averaged just over 35 minutes per game in the NBA Finals so far, though he played the fewest (33) on Friday night. How Kerr decides to use Green in Game 5 will be one of the main stories when the Warriors host the Celtics at the Chase Center at 6:00 p.m. Western Standard Time on Monday.

Green shared his feelings about Kerr’s moves on his podcast, The Draymond Green Show, following Golden State’s win.

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