Warriors' JaMychal Green makes most of rare Game 2 start, shines vs. Lakers
Green makes most of rare start, shines in Game 2 vs. Lakers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO – JaMychal Green’s first season with the Warriors has not been the joy ride he anticipated. There have been more days of reflection than nights of fulfillment.
Until Thursday night, when Green was summoned from the dusty end of the bench to make his second start of the season in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.
It was a promotion earned the hard way, and he responded splendidly, aiding the Warriors in a 127-100 rout of the Lakers before a sellout crowd (18,064) at Chase Center.
“It feels good to be able to do this after the year I had,” Green said after scoring 15 points in 13 minutes. “It's been a rough one.
“You know, haven't been through nothing like this before. I feel like this is a year of growth for me. I feel like if I can get through this, I can get through anything. I want to thank God for keeping me with it and just staying ready.”
Green, 32, signed a one-year contract as a free agent anticipating being a key member of Golden State’s rotation. He would be a power forward coming off the bench, stretching the floor on offense while providing a physical presence with rebounding and defense. The vision was that he’d fill the void created by the departure of Otto Porter Jr.
Instead, J-Mike made one start in 57 games during the regular season, piling up 11 DNP-CDs and four more during the seven-game first-round playoff series against the Sacramento Kings.
On the day the Warriors boarded buses to Sacramento for Game 7, Green was reengaged and reenergized by the words of Stephen Curry.
“They always tell me to stay ready,” Green recalled. “They said this before, that my time will come. The first series, even though I was kind of struggling a little. But we had a team meeting and Steph. He said some powerful words and it kind of got me locked in and I let go of everything and just all about the team.”
Curry’s message – essentially engage fully or stay home – resonated with many of his teammates, but Green needed to hear it. It reminded him that he is a valued member of a team. That was enough to lighten his spirit.
“You get thrust into a situation that you've never been in your life and your career where you're not playing much,” said Draymond Green, who has known J-Mike since they were teenagers. “You may play a couple games and then not play a few games, and that takes some adjusting. Throughout the course of this year, he's been adjusting to that. And it's coming together at the right time.”
J-Mike played eight minutes in Game 1 on Tuesday and likely would have gotten a bump in minutes for Game 2. When Kevon Looney felt a mild illness that would restrict his minutes, coach Steve Kerr turned to Green.
“The Lakers are huge,” Kerr said. “They are a massive team. We felt like going into the game, we had to bring some size and physicality. When we heard about Loon, we thought about different options, starting smaller, but we decided on J-Mike because we could still get the spacing with his three-point shooting ability, but we get a little more size and athleticism and some toughness.
“We wanted to be more physical tonight, and he definitely brought that.”
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Green’s 15 points came on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. Ten of the points came in seven third-quarter minutes on 4-of-5 shooting, including 2-of-3 from deep.
Green added two assists and one rebound while taking turns defending LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
“Glad I played well,” Green said. “Been waiting on this moment. Just want to show that I could help. I'm here to help the team, and so it was just me staying ready.”
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