Without Draymond Green, the Golden State Warriors had little trouble demolishing the Sacramento Kings in Game 3. The former Defensive Player of the Year winner was serving a one-game suspension for stomping on Domantas Sabonis in the fourth quarter of Game 2.
Seeing the Warriors’ superb performance without him in the lineup, Green offered to come off the bench in Game 4.
Klay Thompson had this to say about Green’s move:
“He’s a selfless player. Draymond’s a winner and he recognized that last game we got great flow offensively with a four-guard lineup. To stagger him and Loon’s [Looney] minutes, I think, benefited us a lot because they [Kings] play very similarly as far as running the offense with hand-offs and screens.
“A big-time adjustment by the coaching staff, complete unselfishness by Draymond allows us to try and reach our goal. That’s why he’s the champion that he is.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr retained Jordan Poole in the starting five to replace Draymond Green. The move didn’t matter as the Sacramento Kings kept things close in the first two quarters of the game.
Green had this to say in a postgame interview about his unexpected move:
“When I watch basketball, I’m studying it. I saw what was working and we won. I’m a firm believer if something isn’t broke you don’t fix it. Our offense was rolling and we were playing pretty good defensively.
“I didn’t want to come back and just shake things up. That’s not right. Jordan [Poole] was out there and he played well. We played well. He earned it.”
Draymond Green started for the Golden State Warriors in 132 consecutive playoff games. He last played an off-the-bench role in Game 3 against the LA Clippers in 2014. Green played backup to David Lee but started in four of the seven-game series.
Mark Jackson was still the head coach at the time. Since Steve Kerr took over the following season, “Dray” has started in every postseason game for the Bay Area team until tonight.
Draymond Green played a key role in the Golden State Warriors’ Game 4 win
The Golden State Warriors have had no consistent answer to De’Aaron Fox in the first three games of the series. Draymond Green was finally assigned to guard him in the second half of Game 4.
Fox still managed to get his points despite Green hounding him. The cat-quick All-Star point guard is not the NBA’s Clutch Player of the Year winner for nothing.
Still, Draymond Green made plays when it mattered. The Warriors held a slim 124-121 lead with 1:41 left in the game. Harrison Barnes, a former Warrior, drove straight to the basket but missed due to Green’s interference.
Domantas Sabonis grabbed the rebound but was blocked by the Warriors’ defensive ace for a follow-up shot. He also shouted and flexed while Sabonis fell to the floor.
Once Andrew Wiggins secured possession, Steph Curry quickened the pace going to their end of the floor. Draymond Green screened for Curry, who passed it back to the point forward.
“Dray” faked a drive into the lane before passing to an incoming Wiggins who scored on a floater.
That one sequence typified Green’s crucial importance to the Golden State Warriors whether he starts for the team or not.
Also read: How many times has Draymond Green been suspended in NBA? Jordan Poole punch, Steve Adams kick and more instances explored