Listen Live Now:

Draymond Green carries Warriors to comeback Game 3 win over Blazers

© Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Draymond Green played one the best all-around playoff games in recent memory. It amounted to a 110-99 road win which puts the Warriors on the brink of a fifth-straight NBA Finals berth, and crushing blow to the hopes of the Portland Trail Blazers, who appear to have wasted their best chance to make the Finals. Here are five thoughts from tonight’s game:

Draymond went for the kill with an MVP performance

This was the best game Draymond Green played all year. There is zero debate on subject. It might even the be the best game he’s ever played, and it might be the best game any Warriors player has played all year (yes, that’s taking into account the three 50-plus point games by each of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant). He brought the Warriors back from the brink almost singlehandedly. He pushed the pace on seemingly every possession for the full duration of his 37 minutes on the floor.

He put up 20 points (6-of-12, 8-of-9 from FT, 0-of-1 from 3-pt), 13 rebounds, 12 assists, 4 steals, a block, and turned the ball over just twice while committing only three personal fouls.

Yet, his stat line doesn’t even do justice to the cement-on-the-gas-pedal pace that he pushed for all of those 37 minutes. It wasn’t one of those games in which you’re left scratching your head, when he turns the ball over too often, fouls too frequently, or argues with the referees too much. He was immaculate. It was plays like this, as the Warriors trailed, at one point, by 18 points, which changed the momentum with defensive pressure turned immediately into an offensive conversion.

He was not just active, but imposing on the glass. I can’t put an accurate number on the amount of boxouts he had that created an opportunity for Curry, Jordan Bell, Kevon Looney, or another Warriors player to secure a rebound, but those occurrences were plentiful. And when the Warriors got scored on, he just hauled down court like peak LeBron James, leaving defenders having to double him and give him a perfect lane for a pass. And when he saw a lane for a pass, he was incisive.

Plays like the ones above don’t capture everything Green did tonight, but they paint a bit of the beautiful picture that was the game Green played.

Steph was Steph

It shouldn’t be taken for granted how incredible Stephen Curry is, but that’s what happens with all-time great players. You expect greatness. Still, nights like tonight, when Curry dropped 36 points (11-of-26, 6-of-16 from 3-pt, 8-of-9 from FT), 6 rebounds and 3 assists, and hit those Curry-range shots from five-plus feet behind the arc, you’re reminded that no one is better at shooting the basketball as him.

Stuff like this just didn’t happen before Curry:

Jordan Bell had the most embarrassing play, but his overall play was great

Jordan Bell played a tremendous game tonight. He had 6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and a block tonight in his 15 minutes off the bench. Here’s what Bell looked like for most of the night (intelligent, quick and opportunistic):

Yet, all of that was nearly ruined moments later when he failed to put the orange ball through the orange circle:

It was an embarrassing moment for Bell, but it shouldn’t take away from the effort he and the Warriors’ bench displayed tonight. Speaking of that bench…

Blazers let the Dubs’ bench beat them

At the start fourth quarter, the Warriors were tied with the Blazers. With Curry and Green both out, the Warriors turned an 82-82 score into a 90-82 and eventual 90-84 lead. It allowed the Warriors to rest both Curry and Green until the 7-minute mark in the fourth quarter. A five-minute rest for those two should have been impossible.

But Quinn Cook, Shaun Livingston, Alfonzo McKinnie and Bell (plus Klay Thompson, who had 19 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks), played incredibly well through that stretch and throughout the whole game. Cook had 6 points and hit two crucial shots down that stretch, including a fadeaway and hesi drive and finish that elicited a tremendous bench reaction:

Livingston also tossed in 6 points, an assist and a steal, and McKinnie was not so quietly tremendous in the final minutes. His rebounding is well-known, but it’s never boring to see him jump over everyone for an offensive rebound. In addition to a useful 5 points which including a dagger corner three, he grabbed an astounding 9 rebounds (3 offensive) and a steal.

Oh Mey(ers)

If you watched the first half of tonight’s game, you might have wondered how Meyers Leonard was only drafted 11th in the 2012 draft. He looked like the dream of what Andrea Bargnani could be, and the reality of Kristaps Porzingis a year ago – a 7-foot, athletic big man who is a deadeye from behind the arc.

He had 16 points in the first half along with three 3-pointers. Then, he went silent in the second half. It was more in line with the scoring output we’ve come to expect from him, and was a signal of the Blazers’ tepid second-half effort, in which they folded into themselves.


More from KNBR

Get KNBR in your inbox

Subscribe today to bring The Sports Leader to your email inbox weekly.