Glancing at a box score from last night’s game, it is actually sort of incredible that the Warriors only lost by four. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for just 31 points on a ghastly 36 shots, Harrison Barnes was 3-of-10, and the injured Andrew Bogut didn’t play. And then you get to Draymond Green’s line, and understand how the Warriors almost won.
Thirty-two points on 11-for-15 shooting, 6-of-8 from three, 15 rebounds, nine assists, two steals, and just two turnovers in 47 goddamn minutes of basketball. The undersized Green played 28 of those minutes at center—holding Tristan Thompson to just three rebounds, none of them on the offensive end, after he’d killed the Warriors on the glass in Game 6—and was the secondary defender that helped hold LeBron James to a 9-of-24 shooting night. Including even James and Kyrie Irving, Green was the best player on the floor last night.
But the same drive and intensity that led Green to drop a 32/15/9 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals also showed itself to be his biggest weakness, as he repeatedly lost his head on the court during the playoffs and maybe should’ve been suspended for more than just sack-tapping LeBron James. After Game 7, he vowed to excise that part of his game:
“I learned a lot about myself as a man. I got to control my emotions. I will always control my emotions now. There is a silver lining in between everything. I’m not a guy that takes moral victories, but I did learn from that. I learned that I can’t put myself in harm’s way and that’s in anything. That’s in basketball. That’s in life. You can’t put yourself in that position.
“I think it will make me a much better player. I will have the same fire. I had my fire tonight, but it was controlled. It will make it a lot better …
Each offseason he’s been in the league, Draymond Green has dramatically improved some core basketball skill, from his shot to his body to his handle. If come next season he’s cut the dumb cheap shit out of his game and improved upon what we saw last night, he’ll mean even more to the Warriors than just about anyone else. But as Green told USA Today last night when asked about his superb game—“We lost. I’d rather have zero [points], and have everybody say, ‘Draymond didn’t show up and he sucked. But they won a championship.’”—it only matters if the season ends with a win.