Although Steph Curry and his 10 three-pointers took centerstage in the Warriors’ 141-128 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, Draymond Green’s ejection, which came because of his second technical foul, stole part of the spotlight in Curry’s first game back following an ankle injury. Green leads the NBA with 10 technicals this season and his aggressiveness is renowned, and some would say infamous, throughout the league.
Draymond Green ejected, quick whistle pic.twitter.com/F1XoftP0TQ
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) December 31, 2017
Yet, Green’s strategy on the court is more than blind physicality. Marcus Thompson of The Athletic acknowledged while appearing on Fitz & Brooks Wednesday afternoon that Green is a master of knowing his limits and he believes it began during the 2016 NBA Finals.
“I think this is Draymond. This is who he is. He’s going to get right up to that borderline, then figure out a way to not let it do too much. He’s just not going to be the guy who just hones it down,” Thompson said. “I think in the Finals when he got tossed from the game will prevent him from ever going too far, but I do believe he likes living right on the line. That’s where he feels alive, right on the edge.”
By Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Finals, the Warriors held a 2-1 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers, unaware of the misery that would come three games later. In the final quarter of Golden State’s victory in Game 4, Green was ejected and later suspended for Game 5 for striking LeBron James in the groin during a scuffle, awarding him a Flagrant 1 foul.
From there, the Warriors lost Game 5 and Green returned for Games 6 and 7 in vain as the Cavaliers erased a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Finals. Thompson believes the heartbreak of Golden State’s comeback defeat was a wakeup call for Green to take his talent to the next level. It clearly laid down the line of what not to cross and Green worked to become a master of getting right up to it.
“The thing about Draymond, like when you argue with your spouse, he’s right too much and it’s irritating,” Thompson said. “He doesn’t really argue often, unless he really believes he’s right, which is a lot of the time. I don’t think that helps his calls at all because it’s still this righteous indignation because he knows he’s right.”
To listen to the full interview check out the podcast below, and start from the beginning for Thompson on Green.