Versatility, toughness, intelligence and an undeniable confidence that rubs off on his teammates have helped Draymond Green emerge from a second-round draft pick to an NBA All-Star in four seasons.
Green showed all those traits Sunday, using his scoring, defense and bravado to help the Golden State Warriors dismantle the Cleveland Cavaliers 110-77 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena.
Green scored a game-high 28 points as Golden State took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series heading to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4.
Green shot 11 of 20, making a game-high five three-pointers in eight attempts. He also had seven rebounds and five assists, and remained the glue to Golden State’s tenacious defense that continues to frustrate the Cavs.
“Give credit where credit is due,” said Cleveland star LeBron James. “The guy made shots. Not only when we left him open and contested late, but he made shots in our face. He had five threes. And we know he’s a key for their team, an All-Star. And he made some big plays both offensively and defensively, obviously. We know what he does defensively for that team, so game ball to him.”
Give credit where credit is due. The guy made shots. Not only when we left him open and contested late, but he made shots in our face. He had five threes. And we know he’s a key for their team, an All-Star. And he made some big plays both offensively and defensively, obviously. We know what he does defensively for that team, so game ball to him.
LeBron James on Golden State’s Draymond Green
Cleveland is keying on Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, giving Green more scoring chances. He’s not shy about shooting, but he did not plan to lead all scorers Sunday.
“I don’t come into the game saying, oh, I have to shoot a lot more,” Green said. “That’s not me. That’s not what I do for this team. But at the end of the day, if the game says shoot, you’re supposed to shoot. Because usually when you don’t, it turns into a disaster. So I just try to take what the defense gives me.”
Curry and Thompson had 18 and 17 points, respectively.
“The way they’re playing defense against our guards, Draymond’s going to be open all day,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “He’s a good three-point shooter. We like it when he gets that shot in rhythm, and he knocked them down (Sunday).”
Green often holds the Warriors together on both ends of the floor with scoring, passing, screen-setting and elite defense. When he’s on, as he was Sunday, the game is easier for all of his teammates.
“Draymond does everything for us,” Kerr said. “He defends, and when we play our small lineup he’s our rim protector. ... I thought Draymond was great (defensively). Obviously he knocked down his three-point shots (Sunday), which is a bonus. He’s always one of our most important players, and he had a heck of a game.”
The way they’re playing defense against our guards, Draymond’s going to be open all day. He’s a good three-point shooter. We like it when he gets that shot in rhythm, and he knocked them down (Sunday).
Golden State coach Steve Kerr on Warriors star Draymond Green
Green scored 22 points in the second and third quarters when the Warriors turned the game into a rout after Cleveland led 21-19 at the end of the first quarter.
The Warriors outscored Cleveland 63-41 over the next two quarters thanks to Green and a team defense Cleveland has not figured out in the first two games of the series.
Cleveland shot 35.4 percent overall and committed 18 turnovers that led to 26 points for the Warriors. The Cavs made just 5 of 23 three-point attempts (21.7 percent).
It didn’t help that forward Kevin Love left the game in third quarter under the NBA concussion protocol. Warriors forward Harrison Barnes elbowed Love in the back of the head while going for a rebound in the second quarter, but Love stayed in the game and tried to play in the second half before experiencing dizziness.
The Cavs said Love exhibited no signs of a concussion before that.