2022 NBA Finals - Draymond Green turns back, sets the tone for Golden State Warriors win in Game 2

2022 NBA Finals – Draymond Green turns back, sets the tone for Golden State Warriors win in Game 2

SAN FRANCISCO – Draymond Green faced the marrow-level dread of going down two games to nothing in the NBA Finals by making it to Game Two on Sunday determined to be annoying as hell for as long as it took. Over the course of the 48-minute contest, he argued with officials—and nearly every Boston Celtics player—and threw his body around the field in an almost uncontrollable rage.

Put it this way: The guy got a deserved technical error in the middle of the first quarter in a play where the call went his way. Yes, Green set the tone for the Golden State Warriors’ 107-88 series victory at Chase Center, and that tune was a roar.

Green promised after the first match that everything would be different. He said the Celtics needed to “feel” it more, and he went out and unleashed a sensory experience comparable to standing under a waterfall. Jaylen Brown was his primary defensive assignment, and Brown went 5 for 17 off the field, but that was just the beginning. There were countless possessions as Green, perhaps the smartest defender in league history, ended up guarding three or four different Celtics players. He seems to be present everywhere he needs it.

When asked when he learned that the Warriors would be getting the super hot version of Green for Game 2, Stephen Curry said, “About five minutes after the first game.”

Green was heavily involved in the game and there was a very real chance of him getting him away from it. After the early technical bug, nothing has changed. He continued talking nonstop with anyone who would listen and many who would have preferred not to choose but were not offered a choice. He kept holding every tangle of Celtics players – there were a lot – for just a second or two longer than recommended. There was one with Brown that caused the judges to wear headphones and take a closer look to see if Greene’s night was over. It wasn’t, for reasons the Celtics failed to understand, but Green seemed uninterested.

“For me to sit back and say, ‘Oh, I’m going to push her over that ledge and try to back off,’ that just doesn’t work,” Green said. “It has to be me. So technology number one – it is what it is. It won’t stop me from being aggressive or doing what I do on the basketball court. I have to live with the results.”

And he seemed to know exactly where the line was, perhaps because – as the Celtics argue – it was he who drew the line.

Sometime in the third quarter, Marcus Smart — Draymond Light of Boston — spoke to referee Zach Zarba about a matter unrelated to Greene; But there was green, from chest to chest with both. Green wasn’t going to let anything go, not on this night, and he remained steadfast in his determination to keep the waters raging.

Green was nothing if not active. When Jordan Bull got a technical foul for tripping Derek White – a call that was quickly canceled – Green leaned over the scorer’s table and watched officials watch the replay while providing referee Tony Brothers with ongoing commentary. Greene is the Warriors’ public defender, and he is obligated to take every issue that comes his way.

“We knew we had to keep our foot on the gas pedal and not flinch,” Green said. “We did it.”

Greene’s base line was for the walkers — nine points, five rebounds, seven assists — but he’s been chewing up the scene all night. He chased after Brown and swallowed him to subdue him. He stripped Al Horford off the ball in the first quarter of driving into the lane so hard that it seemed to break Horford’s soul.

“Some of these things don’t always appear in the stats,” said Carey. “But you feel it in his presence, and the other team feels his presence and intensity, and that’s contagious to all of us.”

To describe Horford as negative would be a compliment. After his remarkable 26-point performance in Game 1 — in 9 of 12 shots, including 6 of 8 in 3s — he didn’t hit the first half and hit only one shot, dropping halfway through the third quarter. His game was emblematic of the Celtics’ dismal performance. Horford ran into the corner after an offensive bounce and found it just under the basket. It was a slow step or three in defense, as the warriors eagerly engaged him in pickup situations. Overall, Horford walked around the field as if he had just spent the night at the airport.

Horford was understandably dismissive of the idea that Greene’s antics might have penetrated his psyche and those of his teammates: “There’s no effect. I mean, he’s going to do what he’s doing. We’re not worried about him.”

Greene offered to take it.

“I think everyone played more aggressively,” Green said. “It wasn’t just me. It was thorough. If I picked up my power and no one else did it, it wouldn’t work.”

Green sat in the interview room after the first game and ran over the Celtics’ shooting stats. Horford, White, and Smart all introduced games that Green didn’t clearly see as sustainable. Green repeatedly waved the base card and shook his head. He can live with it and it won’t happen again. Will be looking forward to it.

“That’s my job,” Green said after his prediction came true in the second game. “Just as Steve Curry sets the tone on the offensive side of the ball, my job is to set the tone on the defensive side of the ball.

“I have to keep doing it in this series. It’s going to get tougher. I have to do it through two more strands.”

It’s hard to tell if it was a promise, a threat, or an absolute impossibility. Ultimately, that’s something that the Celtics decide. Starting with less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter, during a period during which the Celtics stretched six points down 29, Boston seemed content to go home with the chain linking. Coach Im Odoka removed the bench 10 minutes before the end of the match.

The Celtics were ready to leave San Francisco – and for now, Draymond Green – behind them.

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