Lakers vs. Warriors: Draymond Green stifled Anthony Davis in Game 2, but his scoring was equally important

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By Webdesk

SAN FRANCISCO – When he was compared to the all-time greats Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal, his coach didn’t bat an eye. His teammate, LeBron James, said his No. 3 jersey would one day hang in the rafters of Arena – or whatever it will be called by then. Talking head shows spent 48 hours debating whether he was the best player in the series ahead of Steph Curry.

It’s safe to say that Draymond Green was tired of hearing about the great Anthony Davis.

After admitting that he “played like s—” in Game 1, as Davis put up a monster line of 30 points and 23 rebounds, Green made it his personal mission to make life miserable for Davis in Thursday night’s Game 2, and was instrumental in Golden State’s near-perfect 127-100 win to tie the series.

“[Warriors assistant] Chris DeMarco showed me some film yesterday and said, “I don’t know who this guy is defensively,” Green said after the Game 2 win. “He showed me myself in the fourth quarter and he said, ‘This is me. know. So come tomorrow like that.'”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr wouldn’t give details before the game, but he said he and his staff noticed some adjustments they could make to limit Davis, and they were definitely noticeable. The first was starting JaMychal Green in place of Kevon Looney, who was a titan for Golden State this postseason, but allowed Davis to go 8-for-11 when they were evenly matched in Game 1. the Lakers to guard four shooters instead of three, but it also allowed Draymond Green to be Davis’s primary defenseman early and often. According to data from Second Spectrum, via Kevin O’Connor of The RingerDraymond went from guarding Davis 34 percent of the time in Game 1 to 62 percent in Game 2.

Davis had just two points in the first quarter and finished with 11 points on 11 field goal attempts. He took only one free throw, after going 8 for 8 in Game 1.

“Draymond was brilliant,” said Kerr after the game. “This is the guy we need. He’s our engine and we decided to put him on Davis from the start tonight. I thought he gave us a good start defensively just with his aggressiveness.”

According to Kerr, it was clear from the jump that Green had no intention of letting Davis hit 30 and 20 again. He was physical, tactical, and used his long arms and active hands to disrupt Davis’ forays into the track. The Warriors also provided help much earlier, forcing Davis to be a playmaker – not his forte, despite having five assists in Game 1. Davis had four assists in Game 2, but also committed four turnovers when Green harassed him. of frustration.

Occasionally, on a very special occasion, Green recalls that there is no explicit NBA rule that prohibits him from scoring. It happened in Game 5 against Sacramento, when he scored more than 20 points in a playoff game for the first time in five years. It happened again on Thursday, when Green — who vowed to be more aggressive on both sides in Game 2 — seized every open court, both in transition and half court, to force the Lakers to guard him. As often as he is left unguarded with the ball, Green seems to jump into action immediately with a dribbling hand-off with a shooter. On Thursday, he went straight to the edge.

That was especially effective against Davis, who, with no Looney to guard, had Green as his primary game. When Green caught the ball at the free throw line and saw daylight, he charged with intent to score, even knocking down a “Dray Nowitzki” mid-range jumper. That forced Davis to at least respect Green as a scorer, which opened up passing and finishing lanes for Golden State. Green finished with 11 points on 10 field goal attempts – seven in the first half alone – to go along with his usual tally of 11 rebounds, nine assists and a steal.

“He’s our Swiss army knife, and when he goes downhill and he finishes on the rim and he hits the open man, we’re at our best,” said Klay Thompson, who led the Warriors with 30 points in Game 2. “So we “I look forward to this continued effort from Draymond. Like Steph, we’re going the way Dray is going.”

Since Game 2 was played on May 4, we’d be remiss not to mention the power with which Green played. It’s become a buzzword for the Warriors over the past few seasons – them pronounced it 47 times in two weeks during last season’s NBA Finals — and Green is the ring leader of the force brigade. His physicality on defense and dedication to pushing the pace is contagious, leading the Warriors to play like the Warriors we’ve all come to know over the past decade.

“He’s the horse for the team that gets us going. We feed off his energy. He did a great job tonight,” JaMychal Green said of Draymond. “Last game I went up to him after the game and said to him, ‘You have to be more aggressive. Don’t forget who you are. You’re in the league for a reason.’ And he showed that tonight.”

Green was brilliant on both sides of the ball in Game 2, leading to a victory in Golden State’s hands by the time the third quarter ended. The conundrum, of course, is how the Warriors continue to restrict Davis as the series progresses, beginning with Saturday’s Game 3 in Los Angeles. Even Green admitted that you can defend perfectly against Davis and still give up buckets — he’s just that good — but it’s all about sticking to the game plan, being aggressive and putting yourself in a position to be successful, and then live with the results.

“When you have a bounce-back game like we had tonight, and to win as decisively as we did, knowing that it’s going to be a lot tougher in Game 3 in LA, it’s a great morale boost to kill yourself. giving and believing that our game can continue,” Curry said after the win. “So, excited about the opportunity and the challenge ahead.”

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