Draymond Green

As smart as he is intense, don't worry about possible Draymond suspension

As smart as he is intense, don't worry about possible Draymond suspension

OAKLAND -- When the announcement blasted from the Oracle Arena sound system that Draymond Green had been assessed with a flagrant foul the reaction from the sellout crowd was disapproval with a generous undercurrent of dread.

The officials are targeting Draymond.

Draymond didn’t deserve such harsh judgment.

Well, with the Warriors up 14 on the Spurs and 4:27 remaining, at least this shouldn’t affect the game.

And, finally, as fans exited after the Warriors finished off a 116-101 victory over San Antonio in Game 2 Monday night, there inevitably was this: How many flagrant fouls are allowed before there is a suspension?

Warriors fans are all too familiar with Green’s history in matters of NBA discipline. The team’s ownership and management are aware of it. Coaches, too, as well as his teammates.

It’s popular to theorize Green’s suspension during the 2016 NBA Finals cost the Warriors a championship. Maybe it did. Maybe with him available, they would have closed out the Cavaliers in Game 5 at Oracle. At the very least, Green’s absence in Game 5 altered the arc of the series, giving Cleveland a chance to seize momentum.

"I have a strong belief that if I play in Game 5, we win,” Green said in Cleveland, prior to Game 6 of the 2016 Finals. “But I didn't because I put myself in a situation where I wasn't able to play,"

This is why there is no need to worry. No one is more mindful of Green’s history with officials and the league’s rule-enforcement arm than Green. After the anguish he felt while cooped up in a suite during a baseball game at the adjacent Coliseum as the Warriors took a 112-97 loss in Game 5, there is no way he does that again.

Not to himself and, moreover, not to his teammates.

Green will do what he must -- and not do what he shouldn’t -- to avoid the four flagrant foul points required for automatic suspension in the postseason, just as he dodged being assessed with 16 required for automatic suspension in the regular season.

He might approach a suspension, as he did in the regular season when he picked up No. 15 on Feb. 24 at Oklahoma City, had it rescinded two days later, only to reach 15 again on March 9 at Portland. He then stopped, cold turkey. After averaging one technical foul for every 4.4 games, Green went the last 16 games, playing in 12 of them, without another.

He knows there is a line, and he knows when not to cross it.

Green’s flagrant-1 in Game 2 came after he was attempting block out Davis Bertans under the basket and the Spurs forward came up from behind and swung his left elbow over Green’s right shoulder and into his neck. Green responded by raising his right arm above over Bertans’ left arm and catching him in his chin, with Bertans falling backward clutching his face.

Responding aggressively to initial aggression may be the most common flagrant-1 there is. And upon video review of the play by officials, that was the verdict of crew chief Ed Malloy.

Though surely annoyed by it, Warriors coach Steve Kerr exhibited no sign of apprehension after the game.

“We'll hear from the league, I guess,” he said. “Just got to go with it.”

Green also doesn’t seem deeply concerned.

“It is what it is,” he said. “Life goes on. There are more important things in life than worrying about a flagrant point. Maybe they will rescind it. I got choked, put in a chokehold, like I was in the WWE or something.”

The Warriors have talked with Green several times about his composure. But it’s a fine-line conversation, as they don’t want to extinguish his roaring flame as much as keep it focused in a single direction -- for his teammates, on his opponents.

It is, in some ways, like asking a lion to mute his roar. That’s not what they want, and it’s not what keeps Green ticking.

Green, however, is as smart as he is intense. When it matters most, he won’t permit his fiery persona to overtake his keen intellect.

Warriors brief: Klay burns Spurs' game plan; tale of two halves for Draymond

Warriors brief: Klay burns Spurs' game plan; tale of two halves for Draymond

The playoffs have finally begun and the Warriors went back to their old winning ways.

Let's take a look back at a few notes from Game 1 as we look ahead to Game 2 tonight.

Work hard, Klay hard

What should scare the Spurs most about their Game 1 loss is that they actually gave a reasonable defensive effort guarding Klay Thompson. It was clear the Spurs game plan out the gate was to restrict Klay’s constant movement and deny him touches which proved to be rather effective, especially early on.

They held Klay to one field goal attempt in the first quarter with a rotation of Patty Mills, Dejounte Murray and Manu Ginboli among others, face guarding, holding, grabbing and playing defense on top of him. In the regular season, Klay averaged a usage rate of 23.7 percent. In Game 1 on Saturday, the Spurs held Klay to a usage rate of 18.6 percent, and that was mostly because the ball was hardly in Klay’s hands.

The problem though -- in his limited touches, Klay made the most of them. Five of Klay’s 11 field goal attempts were tightly contested, with Klay finishing four of them. The other seven shots were either open or wide open (he made six), the result of superior ball movement, the Warriors being in transition, or Spurs mistakes.

As Manu Ginobli said after the game: "We made a few mistakes that helped him to get off, but there are sometimes that he’s shooting some ridiculous shots." Most players in the NBA let a defense off the hook when they make only a "few mistakes." Klay didn’t. And that should scare the Spurs.

***

The Warriors have to be very pleased to see Klay shooting with a confident stroke in the first game of the playoffs. It was just last season that he struggled with his shot through most of their 17 game playoff run to win the championship. On Saturday, Klay went 5 for 6 from 3-point range. Last season, Klay did not hit his fifth 3-pointer until the third game of the playoffs.

In his first 13 games of the playoffs last year, Klay shot 37 percent from the field and 34 percent from deep. To his credit however, in Games 2-5 of the Finals Klay shot 50 percent from the field and 49 percent from 3-point range. It has only been one game so far, but it has to be a confidence booster to Klay and the Warriors.

***

Last season Klay averaged 15 points per game and attempted only 14 field goals per game in the 17 games on the road to the championship. It was just one season removed from a stellar postseason performance from Klay, in which he scored over 24 points per game on an average of 19 shots, over a 24-game run that ended with a Cavaliers celebration.

The big difference between the two seasons: Kevin Durant. Being the third scoring option obviously contributed to lower scoring and shots, but with Steph Curry out for the beginning of the playoffs this season, the Warriors will look to Klay to revert back to his 2016 playoffs form.

Game 1 half full 

It was a tale of two halves for Draymond in the first game of the series. In nearly 19 first half minutes on Saturday, Draymond went 3 for 9 from the field including missing his three attempts from long range. His first half also included two assists against three turnovers, which was the result of some ill-advised passes and what looked like some potential playoff jitters.

The second half was a much different story, as Draymond went 2-for-3 from distance, while contributing nine assists without a turnover. Look for Draymond to build on his second half performance in Game 2.

***

There was a lot of talk before the series of a potential Draymond Green and LaMarcus Aldridge duel, however Game 1 did not contribute to the conversation. Draymond hardly guarded Aldridge throughout the game, instead letting JaVale McGee, David West and Kevon Looney take most of the duties.

Draymond played his free safety type role on defense, constantly switching and helping, staying engaged and involved guarding nearly every player on the court. If Aldridge were to go off and be more effective in the beginning of Game 2, look for Draymond to eventually be the primary defender on him.

Grant Liffmann is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter: @GrantLiffmann

How we imagine Draymond Green gets ready for the playoffs

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How we imagine Draymond Green gets ready for the playoffs

Draymond Green may be the most intense player in the NBA.

The Warriors do-it-all forward has 15 technical fouls this season. If he gets to 16, he'll be suspended for one game. 

With how hyped he gets on the court, this is how we see Draymond getting ready for playoff games.