OAKLAND – There are fewer things more difficult to stop than a determined Draymond Green. The Warriors’ forward thrives in “grimy” situations as Kevin Durant said after tonight’s 131-121 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. The typical ease and flow that the team had in previous games dissipated and Green shined, running both the offense and defense.
He led a defensive performance that limited Pelicans’ star and potential MVP candidate Anthony Davis to 17 points on 6-of-16 shooting. Meanwhile, Green tallied 16 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists and a block.
After a questionable defensive blocking call that could have easily been called a charge on Julius Randle, Green got up fired up and helped force three-straight turnovers. Both Durant and Stephen Curry said there’s no reason to be surprised by Green’s constant energy.
“He didn’t change his name,” Curry said. “He’s still Draymond Green, number 23 for the Golden State Warriors.”
So when you add in an award snub – possibly the only award Green cares about – in First Team All-Defense and Defensive Player of the Year, you give a perpetually energetic defensive genius a reason to push even harder. In an era where scores are higher than ever, Green says he loves doing the dirty work on defense.
“I love playing like that,” Green said. “I grew up playing that way, that’s just kind of the way it goes. I think also, this team goes off of rhythm and that’s important for us, but when that flow isn’t there and that rhythm isn’t there, somebody has to step in to do the dirty work and that is what I bring to this team. I do the dirty work, I do the little things in a game like tonight, where that rhythm isn’t necessarily there… That’s when the game is fun for me.”
Green made abundantly clear that his effort and ability on defense last year deserved more than a Second Team All-Defense nod. He said he needs to win Defensive Player of the Year this season.
“I need that, I need that bad,” Green said. “Real bad. I made second team All-Defense last year, I’m pissed about that still. I will be pissed until I right that. That’s a serious goal of mine this year and I’m on it every night.”
A reporter followed up, asking, “Do you wake up like that?”
“Absolutely,” Green said. “I’m pissed. Second Team All-Defense, that’s disrespectful.”