OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are among the most exquisite 3-point marksmen the NBA has ever seen, but none of them can keep up with Draymond Green.
At least for the moment.
This is a temporary condition, of course, but it’s a wave the Warriors rode with joy Monday night in a 97-80 suffocation of the Miami Heat, just as they did last Saturday in putting the Denver Nuggets to sleep.
Though the 6-foot-7 power forward is known mostly for his defense and playmaking skills, Green dropped in 4-of-6 shots from beyond the arc against the Heat. That came two days after he drained 3-of-4 in Denver.
“He’s been on a nice little run,” coach Steve Kerr said.
Since going 5-of-23 from deep over the first seven games, Green has found his stroke, hitting 9-of-14 over the last four games -- coinciding with the Warriors having a four-game win streak -- to become the hottest bomber on the squad.
“When he’s knocking down that shot,” Durant said, “he makes us unstoppable as far as spreading the floor and having so many options.”
If Green’s 3-ball is falling, it creates a dilemma for opposing defenses. Do they stay with Curry, Durant and Thompson and hope Green cools off? Or do they go out and guard him, sometimes at the risk of giving his teammates room to work.
“It’s important because people are going to leave him open,” Kerr said. “That’s going to be their choice. They’re going to cover up everybody else and try to clog the lane and not let Steph, Klay and KD get going. He’s going to be open and he knows that. And when he makes people pay, he lets them know about it.”
Green cites his offseason work, much of it with personal shooting coach Travis Walton, for improving his 3-point shot. The five-year veteran is coming off a season during which he shot 30.8 percent beyond the arc, the lowest since his rookie year.
The results are starting to pour in.
“A lot of times early on, I found myself not being aggressive,” Green said of his first seven games. “Lately, I’ve been very aggressive on the offensive end, taking the shot when it’s there, and it’s been going for me.”
There will come a time when Green’s hot streak will wane and his sharpshooting teammates will carry the load from deep. For the moment, though, he’s enjoying and so are they.
“Those possessions that end with a Draymond 3 are a big boost for us because we know, more than likely, it was a solid possession, getting everybody involved,” Curry said. “And you like to see him get hyped up, too.”
Said Durant: “It’s pretty simple: When he’s making shots, he’s a totally, totally different player.”