Draymond Green’s stifling defense against Anthony Davis shows Warriors unique value

LOS ANGELES — While Draymond Green’s value is one of the most frequently discussed topics by NBA fans, the Warriors believe he’s critical to their success.

As they make it through these playoffs, their ninth in Draymond’s 11 NBA seasons, it’s obvious that that still holds true. Even at 33, Draymond remains Golden State’s most reliable solution to a tough offensive puzzle.

When Lakers All-Star center Anthony Davis won Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, with 30 points on 19 shots, 23 rebounds and a turnover, coach Steve Kerr and his team made some adjustments . Among them: Call Draymond.

It didn’t matter that Green was four inches shorter and 15 pounds lighter. He had Davis chilled in the latter stages of Game 1 – AD played the entire fourth quarter and was 1 of 5 from the field – while the Warriors rallied. So now Draymond would get the main mission.

When Davis headed to the locker room after Game 2, he had 11 points on 11 shooting, seven rebounds and four turnovers. Davis took the heat from the observers, but Green deserves some credit.

“Draymond was brilliant,” Kerr said after Game 2. “He’s the guy we need to have. He’s our engine and we decided to put him on Davis from the start. He gave us a good Defensive start right with his aggressiveness.

Stephen Curry has seen Draymond change direction for games or a series several times before. He is one of the all-time playoff players.

“Draymond was amazing tonight,” Curry said after Game 2. “It’s the back and forth of a playoff series and the adjustments you make.”

The Warriors might not have made it to the conference semifinals if not for Draymond’s stellar work in the first-round series against Sacramento.

When Kings All-Star guard De’Aaron Fox proved too much for anyone to handle in Games 1 and 2, especially in the tight fourth quarters, Kerr and his team made some adjustments. Among them: Call Draymond.

It didn’t matter that he was a forward/center who just happens to be four inches taller and 40 pounds heavier than possibly the fastest player in the NBA.

Fox, who deservedly won the inaugural NBA Clutch Player of the Year award, had sent the Warriors to a loss in the first two games, scoring a total of 26 points in the fourth quarter on 55.5% shooting from the field. , of which 80% from beyond. the bow. He got what he wanted.

With Draymond coming to the rescue in Game 4 (he missed Game 3 with a suspension) and beyond, Fox’s fourth quarter dried up. He scored a total of 23 points in the fourth quarters of the last four games, shooting 28.0% overall and 20% from deep.

“We decided to put Draymond on him,” Kerr said after Game 4. “Just change the look. And (Fox) still had a great second half. He’s a handful.

“But putting Draymond on him and getting Draymond through offensively got him going; he did well in his game and he was great in the second half.

Fox scored 17 points in the second half of Game 4 but shot 5 of 15 from the field and committed two turnovers. Although Sacramento won Game 6, it was mostly down to the energy and shooting of Malik Monk, who scored 17 points on seven shots in the second half.

To recap, when the Warriors needed someone to contain a turbocharged point guard in the first round, they turned to Draymond. When they needed someone to fight the highly skilled opposing center in the conference semifinals, they turned to Draymond.

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How many guys in league history would even dare to take on such disparate challenges? How much could you trust to do a reasonably good job?

Davis might have more superb plays in this series, but he realizes his task has become exponentially more difficult in Game 2. Perhaps Saturday’s Game 3 could indicate whether AD can succeed where Fox cannot. did not.

Moving Draymond’s defensive assignment to the area that needs it the most, from point guards to centers, is an adjustment in itself. Such value is indisputable.

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