Draymond Green displays invaluable greatness in Warriors' win vs. Mavericks
Draymond's invaluable greatness shines in Dubs' win vs. Mavs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
There will be debates, loud arguments and too many cooks in the kitchen this offseason with each wanting their voice heard on what Draymond Green is worth to the Warriors, both in the present and the near future.
Down the stretch and during clutch time Wednesday night in the Warriors' 127-125 win over the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center was all anyone needed to see to understand why no dollar figure will show the true value the future Hall of Famer still has on the floor.
All with a taped right wrist, padded left hand and five fouls next to his name.
Every disadvantage was seen on him, and known by the Mavs. Green had to be perfect for Golden State in the moments that mattered most, and he was.
"We got some key stops," Steve Kerr said to reporters in Dallas when asked what played the biggest role in the Warriors' win. "I thought Draymond was incredible down the stretch defensively."
At the 3:17 mark, Green tried to take a charge on a driving Christian Wood but was called for a block -- his fifth foul on the night. Wood then made both of his free throws, giving the Mavs a 119-118 lead. From that point on, it was go-time for Green.
First, he saw red out of frustration with the call. But he kept his cool wanting the Warriors to review the play. Reality wasn't in his favor. Fighting for playoff seeding and avoiding the play-in, the four-time champion was locked in after that.
Over the next three-plus minutes, Green avoided picking up his sixth foul. He scored three points on a huge 3-point, And-1 play. Draymond ripped away one steal in that span, snagged a rebound and played Hall of Fame level defense.
Let's actually start with the offense, first highlighting his strong finish for that 3-point play that gave the Warriors a two-point lead with a minute-and-a-half remaining.
Then there's the offense that doesn't show up in the box score. The 33-year-old has plenty of nights where he stuffs the stat sheet, as he did again in Dallas. It's the plays that go unnoticed by the stats that have defined his 11-year NBA career. It's knowing basketball greatness without staring at a few numbers.
It's the heart and the smarts. Both were on display, on both ends of the court, including Steph Curry's layup with 8.5 seconds left in the game to put the win away.
Steph Curry ... CLUTCH pic.twitter.com/WMiYAhczXU
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) March 23, 2023
"He sealed his guy on Steph's layup with eight seconds left, which was a brilliant play," Kerr said.
Kevon Looney added: "That's something that Draymond has been talking about us doing a lot throughout the year. It happens every once in a while for players throughout the game. That was the perfect opportunity, executed great.
"He probably is the best screener in the league. I don't think he gets enough credit for that. Got Steph free, and that was a big play for us."
Curry later shared the two made quick eye contact once he raced past Maxi Kleber. For years, they have known where each other will be without saying a word. This time, Green's body language sent the signal to Curry that it was time go night-night for a happy flight home.
Now the defense. It's indisputable Draymond will go down as one of the best and most versatile defenders in the game's history. From start to finish, watch how he wins basketball games in ways very, very few have ever been able to do.
This sequence ð pic.twitter.com/6Lv46mhA2W
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) March 23, 2023
His final defensive stand on the night came with the Warriors up by three and the clock winding down. Green takes Luka Doncic's elbow, absorbs his body, stays straight up with five fouls and knocks the ball away. It doesn't get better, and maybe it never has.
The defense from Draymond that had Luka giving the "who payin' you?" sign to the refs at the end
5 fouls, 3-point game, perfect verticality pic.twitter.com/cjxa1DlgqH
— Dalton Johnson (@DaltonJ_Johnson) March 23, 2023
Game, set, match. Quite literally.
The win gave the Warriors the tiebreaker between them in the Mavs, with the defending champions taking two of three this season from their Western Conference Finals opponent from a season ago. They now have won back-to-back road games for the first time this season, and their odds of being at least a top-six seed in the West improved dramatically.
"It was a huge road win for us," Green said. "I mean, we need road wins in general, just for confidence. ... We'll take it, but eight more games. We got to make sure we continue to stay strong at home and keep trying to build on the road like we've done the last couple of games.
"I thought we stayed poised. We got the shots that we wanted to get. I think for like every possession down the stretch, we got shots that we wanted to get. That's key, because then you're able to set your defense and it's not scramble back every time. I thought that was big.
"Our offense helped our defense down the stretch."
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Draymond's final line: 25 minutes, 14 points, eight assists, four rebounds, four blocks and three steals. His value on the floor for the Warriors in clutch time: Good look finding the right number for that.
A summer of debates can be on its way. Remember to rewind and press play for a reminder of what still makes an all-time great.
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