Why Chris DeMarco was the Warriors’ unsung hero in Game 2 win over the Lakers

SAN FRANCISCO — More than Steph Curry, more than Klay Thompson, more than Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney or even JaMychal Green, the person Draymond Green made sure to credit Thursday night after the Warriors’ 127-100 dismantling of the Lakers of Los Angeles in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals was an assistant coach who rarely finds himself in the spotlight.

Chris DeMarco challenged Green and the four-time champion took his words to heart.

Right after the Warriors’ cinema session on Wednesday following their five-point Game 1 loss to the Lakers, DeMarco told Green he needed 10 minutes of his time. Before Steve Kerr released numerous clips to watch as a team and discussed adjustments that needed to be made a night later, DeMarco had his own clips to show Green. They were also all on defense, attacking Green’s pride and joy.

That’s when the fiery Warriors star cut all excuses. He knew what to do and knew DeMarco was right.

“He said, ‘I didn’t even recognize – who were you last night? I didn’t recognize you. Sports bay area.

Time and again, DeMarco showed Green one of his defensive plays and questioned him. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

But DeMarco also knows what kind of message Green respects the most.

“What are you doing?” DeMarco repeated to Draymond.

Believe it or not, at least for a while Green was speechless. He had no answer for her. But he had a promise.

“I didn’t have an answer for him except, ‘I’m going to work things out. I’ll be locked up,'” Green recalled.

Not everything was bad. DeMarco hadn’t reached the end of his playlist yet. He told Green to slow down, good news was on the way.

They pressed play in the fourth quarter and DeMarco’s message changed tone. Green has been engaged throughout the Warriors’ comeback attempt. He blocked two shots and frustrated Anthony Davis, who scored 30 points and grabbed 23 rebounds but only scored two points in fourth on 1-of-5 shooting.

In 8:47 of work in the period, Green’s plus/minus was a plus-3. It was a minus-11 in the first three quarters.

Later Tuesday night, once the Warriors’ Game 1 loss had settled in, Green said on his own podcast “I played like shit.” He was called for three fouls in the first 16 minutes and let him out of his game, finishing with just four rebounds. While watching the movie with DeMarco on Wednesday, Green admitted he was indecisive and in a bad mood.

What DeMarco said next got Green thinking.

“He’s like, ‘Trust your gut, trust your gut. You know what to do. Lock in.’ And that was enough for me to hear,” Green said.

This season is DeMarco’s second as an assistant coach and 11th with the organization. Before games, he can be seen working with Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole during warm-ups. But he’s not as recognizable from the outside as some of the other Warriors assistants.

Kenny Atkinson was the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets for four seasons and is still the subject of coaching rumors, including for current head coaching positions. Ron Adams still holds name and face recognition. Much has been said about Jama Mahlalela and Dejan Milojevic, and everyone sees Bruce Fraser take Steph Curry through his famous pre-game routine.

None of this matters to players. DeMarco earned Green’s trust and respect from the jump. For what? He is not scared.

Whether it’s Steph, Klay or Draymond, Ty Jerome, Moses Moody or Patrick Baldwin Jr., Green knows DeMarco isn’t going to coat a player. He’ll keep it real no matter the status. It’s an invaluable trait that isn’t always there.

“His voice is huge,” Green said. “His voice is huge in this coaching staff. Chris DeMarco is one of those guys who’s not afraid to hear his own voice, who’s going to have those tough conversations. He’s not afraid to challenge whoever whatever. And I think that’s a special thing.

“Sometimes you walk into those locker rooms and you have stars and the coaches won’t always challenge. Chris DeMarco will challenge anyone from Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, myself, Steve [Kerr]. He will challenge anyone. He’s not afraid to hear her voice and he’s not afraid to have difficult conversations. He is not afraid of confrontation.

“I think for us to have it here has always been something special, it’s a special weapon for us.”

RELATED: Green Makes Most Rare Starts, Shines in Game 2 vs. Lakers

Now 37, DeMarco played Division II college basketball 20 miles from the Chase Center at Dominican University. Since joining the Warriors before the 2012-13 season, DeMarco has risen through the coaching ranks one step at a time. He started as a video trainee and was promoted to assistant video coordinator, where he then moved on to advanced scout/video scout and then assistant coach/director of player development prior to his current role.

The Bahamas national team appointed him as head coach in June 2019.

DeMarco’s resume is the kind that resonates naturally with Green. It’s hard not to enjoy. He admires the grind, he sees the work that has been put into DeMarco’s craft.

With Mike Brown in Sacramento, Green knew he would miss him but was confident in the Warriors coaching staff to make up for the loss in the Xs and Os scheme of it all. Where he knew Brown’s absence would be most felt was his voice. You can not miss it.

Draymond’s happy DeMarco isn’t shy about using his either.

“He has the same underdog mindset as a coach,” Draymond said. “And I think, like I said for him, #1, he’s smarter than shit. I don’t think people realize how smart he is. He watches a ton of movies and at how much we rely on his expertise.

“Not only do we rely on his expertise, but we rely on his dog mentality and I think that’s been a big key for us, especially with the loss of Mike Brown, just having someone who has the same condition. of mind. Oh, he’s huge for us.”

Green in Game 2 against the Lakers played 28 minutes and was a plus-15. He was one assist away from a triple-double, with 11 points and 11 rebounds. His only flight was Davis trying to back him off.

Davis, who this time was guarded by Green from the start, was minus-22 with 11 points, seven rebounds and four turnovers.

DeMarco called him. Draymond locked up, he knew what to do.

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