Draymond Green won't use eye as excuse, invites more Warriors-Grizzlies smoke

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Draymond won't use eye as excuse, invites all the smoke originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- Draymond Green sat at the podium Friday after Warriors practice at Chase Center with a shiner under his right eye reminiscent of a boxer absorbing a right jab. That's the aftermath of an elbow from Memphis Grizzlies big man Xavier Tillman Sr. just over three minutes into the Warriors' Game 2 loss in the Western Conference semifinals at FedExForum.

The result of Tillman's elbow connecting square with Green's right eye and then crashing hard to the floor was several stitches to cover the laceration, and missing the rest of the first quarter before returning at the start of the second with one eye almost all the way shut. Three days later, the effects are clearer than Green's vision.

"It's fine, it's not very painful," Green said Friday. "Moreso than less functional."

The Warriors' All-Star point-forward went on to say that his vision still is "a little blurry," but that it also is getting better every day. For having a black eye, the top of his right eye doesn't look as swollen and as a result, his eye doesn't seem to be as closed as it was Tuesday night in Memphis.

In his own words, he'll be fine for Saturday's Game 3 back at home as the Warriors look to regain the series lead. From the outside, the injury also seemed to be a clear detriment to his play during the loss in Game 2 upon his return. And understandably so.

But these are the NBA playoffs, and this is a three-time champion. No excuses. Green couldn't emphasize that more.

"I just didn't play well," he said. "I'm not one to make excuses, I just didn't play well. But it's all good."

Green wound up playing over 32 minutes in the loss after missing nearly nine minutes of the first quarter. He scored six points, grabbed 10 rebounds, handed out seven assists and blocked one shot. But he also fouled five times and committed four turnovers.

His minus-10 in plus-minus was his worst since the Warriors' four-point loss to the Phoenix Suns on March 30. It also was the first time he finished in the negative through the Warriors' first seven playoff games.

Right off the bat of Game 2, it was clear the Grizzlies were upping the ante on intensity, and even crossing the line on Dillon Brooks' foul from behind on Gary Payton II, which fractured Payton's left elbow. Steve Kerr already has promised there won't be any type of retaliation for Brooks or the Grizzlies, though everyone can expect another physical contest come Saturday night in San Francisco.

Green always is the engine behind that kind of vigor, and though he has to toe the line after being ejected in Game 1 for a questionable Flagrant 2 foul on Brandon Clarke, he isn't going to ease up one bit and is ready for all the smoke the young Grizzlies will bring for this upcoming game and whatever else the future holds.

"Nah, you want every bit of emotions you can have in a playoff series," Green said when asked about the concern of getting too emotional following what happened in Game 2. "Somebody want smoke, you got to want smoke or you lose.

"This ain't about putting emotions to the side or not letting emotions get the best of you. If your emotions get the best of you, they should. It's the playoffs, you're playing for all the marbles. Your emotions should get the best of you, and you'll adjust from there."

The playoffs are when Green is at his best. Outsiders might not always get it, but those within Golden State know they're better off when he brings this level of unmatched passion. Green couldn't stand watching the playoffs from home the past two seasons, and has been frothing for another chance at a fourth championship ring.

He has that chance now and is going to bark, snarl and growl until it's in his grasp. Whether that's with two eyes fully open or not, Draymond is going to do everything in his power to get the Warriors back in the win column and make sure they stay there for good.

RELATED: Steph, Draymond angered over Brooks' foul that injured GP2

Memphis is playing a dangerous game poking the bear of the Warriors' championship core, and from top to bottom there's a sense of deep desire to remind them and the rest of the league what they're truly made of. No excuses, eyes -- or eye -- on the prize that everybody hunts for at the start of the season.

Draymond isn't the only Warrior accepting all the smoke from the Grizzlies, and that's something San Francisco can at least say it's used to -- even with this being Chase Center's first go-around of the playoffs.

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