Draymond Green praises NBA play-in tournament, says it is 'lit'

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Draymond praises NBA play-in tournament, 'locked in' on games originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

When the Warriors were competing for a spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament a year ago at this time, Draymond Green wasn't the biggest fan of the addition to the NBA schedule format.

But now that the Warriors get to watch the play-in tournament from home while waiting for their first-round NBA playoff series against the Denver Nuggets to start Saturday night, Green can't get enough of the high-stakes games.

While watching the Eastern Conference play-in game for the No. 8 seed between the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night, Green fired off this tweet:

Last year, the Warriors finished the regular season as the No. 8 seed, leading to a play-in game against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers for the right to be the No. 7 seed. Green and Co. lost that game on a late game-winning shot by LeBron, forcing Golden State to play a second game at home against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The upstart Grizzlies came into Chase Center and upset the Warriors, securing the No. 8 seed and sending Golden State into the offseason.

Leading into the play-in tournament last spring, Green was asked several times about his thoughts on the new concept, which initially was added when the NBA resumed the 2019-20 season in the bubble in Orlando, Fla. in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I don't go into these games thinking, 'Man, we need to win these games to get into the playoffs,' " Green said on April 2, 2021 after the Warriors lost to the Miami Heat, dropping them to 10th place in the West. "I hate f--king losing. So, when I step on the floor, I want to win. But I'll be 100 percent honest with you -- fighting for a play-in spot does not motivate me. Fighting for a playoff spot doesn't motivate me at all.

"I want to win every game I play in because I hate losing. That s--t really bothers me. That's what motivates me, not fighting for some play-in spot. I don't really give a damn about the play-in spots to be honest with you. I want to win every time I step on the floor. That's what motivates me."

A month later, after the Warriors beat the eventual No. 1-seeded Utah Jazz, Green was asked if he had become a fan of the play-in tournament as it drew closer.

"No, I don't give a damn about the play-in tournament," Green said on May 10, 2021. "I care about the game, we want to win the game and compete in the playoffs, but I don't give a damn about this play-in tournament. It is what it is."

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Now that Green simply is a basketball fan watching the play-in games, he's a big believer in them. And it doesn't appear the added element of the NBA schedule is going anywhere, though the league might want to decide if the games count as regular-season games or playoff games and where, if anywhere, the stats go.

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