The remarkable comeback by the Golden State Warriors in their fourth quarter onslaught on the Phoenix Suns wasn’t surprising or special at all. Stephen Curry scored the points, but once again, all of it wouldn’t have been possible without Draymond Green.
Curry finished the game with 35 points, including 7-of-16 from beyond the arc. Everyone has seen, by now, his 3-pointer while turning away from the basket before the shot even went in. That’s arrogance, confidence and a way to mentally punch your opponents in the face, making sure he remembers who he’s messing with. The Suns traded blows and beat the Warriors for three quarters, but the magic Brandon Knight had coming out of his hands ended once the Warriors turned things up on them defensively.
Before we go and praise Green for being the game changer, there has to be something said about the officiating in Warriors game, home and away. People love to complain about LeBron James and any team he plays for getting preferential treatment. But in the NBA finals and in Warriors game now, they’re allowed to get away with things others don’t. On defense, when they up their aggressiveness and start beating people up, and on offense with those weird moving screens that mean so much. They’re not the only team in the NBA to get away with stuff, but it always seems the referees get caught up in the hype of the Warriors surging and the crowd going wild.
But back to Green. His ability to guard everyone and even more than that, recognize when it’s the moment to double team and trap players who are in trouble (although the whole Warriors defense recognizes openings like that very well), changes momentum. He scored two “ugly” baskets in the fourth quarter, and his free throw shooting near the end of the third and early in the fourth kept the Warriors in the game before those long range bombs started landing.
Green claws, pushes, dominates. But he also has incredible court vision and game IQ or awareness on both ends of the floor. Curry is a gifted scorer on a historic level (although we need more than one special season from him) but Green is more than one thing that can be described. An enforcer, but with incredible talent and playmaking abilities, that often provide the galvanizing the Warriors need in their tough spots, which come a lot more often lately, even if it doesnt feel like it.