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sport / / BANG/Kurtenbach: Draymond Green will not let the Warriors go down without a fight

o BANG/Kurtenbach: Draymond Green will not let the Warriors go down without a fighAllen

BANG/Kurtenbach: Draymond Green will not let the Warriors go down without a fight


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From: (Allen)
Subject: BANG/Kurtenbach: Draymond Green will not let the Warriors go down
without a fight
Date: Wed, 3 Apr 2024 16:04:41 -0700
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 by: Allen - Wed, 3 Apr 2024 23:04 UTC

Kurtenbach: Draymond Green will not let the Warriors go down without a fight
Golden State Warriors: Draymond Green has saved his best for last and
put the Warriors in a position to play in the postseason again.
>Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (23) reacts after blocking a
shot against the Dallas Mavericks’ Daniel Gafford (21) and gaining the
rebound against the Dallas Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving (11) in the fourth
quarter of a NBA game at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif., on
Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

PUBLISHED: April 3, 2024 at 5:30 a.m. | UPDATED: April 3, 2024 at 3:10 p.m.

Draymond Green has never been quiet about anything. He always has
something to say.

So did you really think he would let the Warriors’ dynasty end quietly?

This man fought his way into the league, and he won’t be leaving without
a fight, either.

And there’s plenty of fight left in him yet. (The good, productive kind.)

With Steph Curry gassed and the Warriors’ season teetering on the brink
amid the final stretch, Green has done something that few players in
this league can actually do:

He has willed his team to victory.

And it’s been loud, brash, and so, so needed.

There are a lot of guys who can play well enough for their team to win
the game. They might even hit the last shot or make a big play down the

But the class of players that can put a team on their back and take them
over the finish line is small.

And there is still no player who can do it the way Green can — by making
the little things big.

If you need examples of what I mean, I recommend you watch Green’s last
two games.

They’re both part of a nice run for Golden State, which has won five
straight games. As of Thursday morning, they have a three-game lead
(which is effectively four) over the Houston Rockets for the No. 10 seed
in the Western Conference. Barring a historic collapse, this team will
play at least one postseason game. They can effectively clinch that
berth on Thursday night in Houston.

But that’s only possible because of Green’s over-my-dead-body play.

His performance in Sunday’s win over the Spurs was vintage. He filled
the box score, but it was all the things that don’t show up in a box
score that won the game for the Warriors.

After all, he won the game with a box out against a player a foot taller
than him.

Against a young, inexperienced, but unquestionably talented Spurs team,
Green won with toughness, determination, and smarts. There’s no doubt
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich will use Green’s game as a case study
in his lessons for how to win games in the NBA.

Green anchored the Warriors on both sides of the court. His elite
defense turned into quality offense for the Dubs again and again. And
when he wasn’t able to create momentum that way — in the moments of the
game where San Antonio’s talent (specifically Victor Wembayama’s) was
taking over, he found a way to manufacture turning points that favored
the Warriors.

SportsCenter didn’t show the highlight of Green boxing out Wembayama —
all 7-foot-4 of him — as the Warriors missed a 3-point shot while up 3
points with less than 10 seconds remaining. But by boxing out the
soon-to-be Rookie of the Year and forcing the Frenchman (Frenchkid?) to
go over his back with resolved, fundamental play, Green won the game.

As was the case so often during the Warriors’ salad days, Green wanted
it, so he took it.

“Dray’s passion is why they’ve won championships around here,” said
former foe, now teammate Chris Paul.

And Green wanted a win over the Mavericks on Tuesday night, too. So he
took it.

Green controlled the entire game, but he saved his best for last. He had
two clutch buckets in the final 183 seconds and then won the game with
the defensive highlight of the season — a rejection at the rim of Dallas
big man Daniel Gafford.

Green even stymied Dallas’ final play in the four-point Warriors win,
pinning Kyrie Irving in the corner as the final seconds ticked away,
leaving the Mavs guard to hit the side of the backboard on the final
shot of the game.

1 of 8
>Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (23) blocks a shot against the
Dallas Mavericks’ Daniel Gafford (21) in the fourth quarter of a NBA
game at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, April 2,
2024. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Over the last five games (Green has played four, thanks to his
first-quarter ejection in Orlando), the Warriors have the second-best
defensive rating in the NBA. Elite competition? Hardly. But the Warriors
aren’t in a position to nitpick.

And no matter what the circumstances of Tuesday’s game were — the game
was originally scheduled to be in Dallas — the fact is that Green and
the Warriors took on arguably the hottest team in the NBA, an offensive
juggernaut in Dallas, and held them to 100 points.

“This team [Dallas] is playing at a really high level,” Warriors coach
Steve Kerr said. “That’s a great team, regardless of fatigue… They’re
still really hard to guard, and we held them to 100 points. That’s a
good sign that what we did on the road was not flukeish.”

Warriors provide proof of concept with defensive gem against Mavericks
Warriors overcome big Doncic night to beat Mavericks, earn 5th
straight win
Jonathan Kuminga nearing return for Warriors
Kurtenbach: The Spurs put a scare in the Warriors that cannot be
brushed aside
Behind Draymond Green, Warriors close out road trip strong

It’s not a fluke because the defensive performances were coordinated by
Green, who has 10 steals over the last two games.

Credit to Andrew Wiggins, Trayce Jackson Davis, Klay Thompson, and the
more lenient spring whistle but with Green in the middle of it all, the
Warriors’ defense has looked formidable as of late.

The Warriors are not a team with the kind of offense, or offensive
firepower to win without that level of defense. Especially with Curry
looking like he desperately needs a few days off. (The weight of
carrying this team for months has taken a toll on him.)

These are the kind of performances that make Green the “heart and soul”
of the Warriors.

Green is playing at an exceptionally high level—a level that you would
have fairly thought was behind him over the last two seasons.

But if it isn’t, it’ll be hard to bet against the Dubs. This Green has a
long track record of victories — two Final Fours and four NBA titles.

The Warriors’ big man has said for years that he saves himself for the
big moments. Remember when he declared, “Anybody can win in March… I
have a hard time getting out of my bed in March”?

Well, now that it’s crunch time, Green is fully awake.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Warriors’ role players — with
Wiggins at the forefront — are playing great ball alongside him, either.

But here’s the big question:

How long can Green give Golden State this version of himself?

They’ve needed everything from him in the last two games. He’s delivered.

I don’t see that requirement changing anytime soon. It’ll undoubtedly be
in place for Thursday’s game with the Rockets.

Between being undersized (even for the 4) and all the playoff runs (he’s
played in 29 playoff series), the 34-year-old has played hard minutes
his entire career. That’s why he is judicious about how long he stays in

This season has been partially taxing, as Green — who is generously
listed at 6-foot-6 — has played most of his minutes at center.

And even if he can handle the physical workload, the Warriors trust that
he’ll control his emotions enough to be on the court when they need him?

Green plays with an edge. Sometimes he cuts the opponent, and sometimes
he cuts his own team.

“If he wasn’t like that, that would mean he doesn’t care,” Paul said.
“Show me someone that’s ok with losing, and I’ll show you a loser.”

And if there is one thing Green is not, it’s a loser.

How long can Green hold this much-needed form? How far can he push the
Dubs this season?

That’s anyone’s guess, but I’ll provide this bit of advice, learned from
a decade of firsthand experience:

Don’t underestimate Green. He might not have the same burst or stamina
he carried in his 20s, but the skills that made him a future Hall of
Famer are still sharp.

And, pardon the pun, but when Green showcases those skills at this
level, it guarantees the Warriors a puncher’s chance.

>Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (23) deflects a pass intended
to. Dallas Mavericks’ Maxi Kleber (42) as Golden State Warriors’ Trayce
Jackson-Davis (32) prepare to grab ball in the second quarter of a NBA
game at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, April 2,
2024. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

sport / / BANG/Kurtenbach: Draymond Green will not let the Warriors go down without a fight


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