Draymond Green ready to answer Anthony Davis challenge in Game 2

Kerr expects Draymond to master balancing act in Game 2 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- A subdued Draymond Green walked from the Warriors' locker room to his postgame press conference Tuesday night at Chase Center after Golden State's 117-112 Game 1 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals.

His voice didn't carry when he talked, it trailed. Disappointment was heard and felt from the 33-year-old four-time champion.

Scroll to continue with content

Then, later in the night once his thoughts had settled in, Green gave a self-assessment on his podcast, "The Draymond Green Show." He didn't hold back.

"I played like s--t," Green said. "I am disgusted with myself right now."

Green played 34 minutes in the loss. He scored six points on 3-of-9 shooting, with seven assists, four rebounds, three blocks and one steal. His minus-8 plus/minus was the worst of all Warriors.

Steve Kerr finds himself in a tough spot going into Thursday night's Game 2. Kevon Looney grabbed 23 rebounds as part of his 10-point double-double. The 6-foot-9 center keeps doing his job as a rebounding machine, and his playmaking skills always help the Warriors with five more assists in the loss.


However, the Warriors went small down the stretch as Jordan Poole scored 21 points on an efficient 7-of-15 shooting and 6 of 11 from 3-point range. Over the final 6:34 of the fourth quarter, the Warriors outscored the Lakers 14-7 with Poole swapped in for Looney. If Kerr does decided to go small to spread out the bigger Lakers, that means more Green guarding the bigger Anthony Davis.

During Davis' 30-point, 23-rebound showing in Game 1, the Lakers' star center had his way with both Looney and Green. Looney defended him for eight minutes, and Davis scored 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Green had his turn for 5 1/2 minutes and Davis dropped eight points on 3-of-5 shooting.

Whether it's squaring up more often with Davis or not, Kerr knows Green will be gearing and ready to go for whatever challenge is presented in Game 2.

"I don't ever really need to say much of anything to Dray," Kerr said Wednesday. "He was very disappointed last night in the loss and I know he feels like he could have done more. And I know Draymond well. He always responds from a game like that, with great energy, great effort, and I have no doubt he'll play well tomorrow.


"He'll be ready to go."

More than anything, what frustrated Green most was how his early foul trouble took him out of his own game. He was whistled for one in the first quarter, but then two within the first four-plus minutes of the second quarter.

Once Green had three fouls next to his name, Kerr had to play it safe and replaced him with Looney. The Warriors and Lakers were tied 38-38 when Green waltzed into murky foul territory, and two Jarred Vanderbilt free throws made it 40-38 in favor of the Lakers.

"My aggressiveness on both ends of the floor," Green said Tuesday night when asked what needs to change from him. "I think I allowed the three fouls to get me out of a rhythm and never really found it again. Just got to stay out of foul trouble.


"That's kind of been a thing with me lately. Just got to stop fouling and defend better."

There's one foul in particular Kerr believes Green wishes he could have back. His smarts are an advantage so often.

But trying to bait Vanderbilt into an offensive foul two minutes into the second quarter didn't work. Green clearly didn't agree with the call, but Kerr begs to differ.

"I think he probably regrets the one foul where he pulled Vanderbilt and tried to draw an offensive foul against Vanderbilt," Kerr said Wednesday. "I think the refs made the right call."

Davis did his work early against the Warriors. He scored 20 of his 30 points in the first half. Better yet, 14 of those points came in the first quarter.


He played the entire first quarter, making an immediate impact. Nothing came cheap, too. The Lakers wound up taking 29 free throws on the night, 23 more than the Warriors. None of Davis' points came from the line in the first 12 minutes, though.

The big man was 7 of 8 from the field in the first period. Of his seven made shots, one came outside the paint. For Green, Game 2 will be a balancing act.

The Warriors need him to assert himself from the start, while making sure fouls don't swing him off his own game.

"He's the master," Kerr said. "Draymond will figure that out. That's the balance, but Draymond is the best. He understands this better than anybody. He'll be out there and he'll be playing at a much higher level tomorrow."

RELATED: How Warriors can close free-throw gap in series vs. Lakers

When Kerr essentially benched Green down the stretch in Game 4 of the NBA Finals last year, he responded by being a plus-11 behind eight points, seven assists, six rebounds and one steal in a Game 5 win. In Game 6, he was a plus-16, producing 12 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocks as the Warriors were crowned champions yet again.

Even last series against the Sacramento Kings, Green returned from his one-game suspension by being a plus-8 with 12 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one block. He was 3 of 14 from the field and promised to make his layups in Game 5. The results were 21 points off the bench on 8-of-10 shooting.

Draymond dares the outside to challenge him. Going into Game 2, he's sure to give himself a challenge of his own. The past has shown he almost always responds exactly how the Warriors need him to.

To split the series before departing for Southern California, Green will have to answer the call yet again, and the first quarter should set the stage.

Download and follow the Dubs Talk Podcast