The Golden State Warriors couldn’t afford a loss on Tuesday night.
They were hosting the New Orleans Pelicans, another team looking to clinch a spot in the Play-in tournament, and a loss would’ve pushed them far below the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Warriors would’ve still been in playoff contention with a loss, but they’re trying to get the sixth seed to face the Sacramento Kings in the first round, avoiding the Play-in and securing a short trip in that hypothetical matchup.
However, Willie Green’s team outplayed them and outhustled them on both ends of the floor, at least through the first three-quarters of the game.
They forced 14 turnovers in the first half alone, and Draymond Green was evidently frustrated with his team’s lack of a sense of urgency.
Green got into Herb Jones’ face and nearly got into a physical altercation with Brandon Ingram, earning another technical and being sent to the bench to cool off.
Eventually, the Warriors were able to fight their way back in the final stretch of the game, getting a much-needed win against a direct rival.
That’s why coach Steve Kerr wanted to give Green his credit for motivating his teammates.
Kerr explained that Green’s frustration was the catalyst that made everybody get on the same page and play at the level they knew they could play:
“Draymond willed us to victory tonight. Just the intensity, the frustration early with the way we were playing,” Kerr said. “Mad at the world, yelling at everybody — their bench, our bench, me — and frankly we deserved it.”
Steve Kerr breaks down how Draymond’s fire pushed the Warriors to the win pic.twitter.com/9lHfrHauLy
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) March 29, 2023
The Warriors have dug themselves into a hole way too often this season, and that’s a worrisome trend with the playoffs in sight.
At least, they can always count on their veteran leader to help them weather the storm.
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