Rewind: Draymond hijacks game, 'does it all' in win over Raptors

Rewind: Draymond hijacks game, 'does it all' in win over Raptors

The Warriors this season have lost two games, and it was about 45 minutes after the second one that forward Draymond Green sought to clarify an issue.

He’s not thinking about scoring. Won’t look for his shot. Won’t go chasing buckets.

“That’s the last thing on my mind,” he said, standing outside the visitor’s locker room at Staples Center after a 20-point loss to the Lakers on Nov. 4. “My focus is on defense and making plays. That’s it.”

The latest manifestation of Green’s priorities came Wednesday night in Toronto. While Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were combining to score 65 points and create pretty highights, it was Green’s defense and energy that pushed the Warriors to a 127-121 win over the Raptors at Air Canada Centre.

“Draymond was brilliant,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters in Toronto.

It was “Drake Night” at ACC and the Raptors were playing well – until the second quarter, when the Warriors, with Green as the catalyst, hijacked the proceedings.

After tweaking his ankle in the first quarter and getting re-taped, Green reentered the game with 7:01 left in the second quarter and the Warriors trailing 47-43. With him as the catalyst, the Warriors clamped down on defense and closed the half on a 23-6 run.

Credit Green. His teammates did.

“He changed the momentum for sure,” said Stephen Curry, who scored a game-high 35 points, including 14 in the third quarter to douse a Toronto surge.

“The whole quarter I thought he was great,” Kerr said. “Everybody was really good. We were in tune defensively and made stops and got the rebound. Once we started to rebound in that game, we were able to get out in transition.

“In the first quarter we just couldn’t get a defensive rebound; they got a ton of offensive boards. It was good to finally rebound and get out and run, and get our game going.”

Green did a little bit of everything in the quarter. He blocked a couple shots, got a steal and made several unquantifiable disruptions. With considerable assistance from Andre Iguodala, Green scored only four points but basically took the Raptors’ offense and broke it in tiny pieces.

By holding the Raptors to 6 points over the last seven minutes of the half, the Warriors grabbed a lead they never lost.

“The second quarter was great, one of the best quarters we’ve played,” Kerr said. That’s probably the only quarter we’ve played tonight the way we want to play.”

The Warriors, who allowed 38 points in the first quarter, outscored the Raptors 32-15 over the next 12 minutes.

“It was amazing,” Green said. “From the start, with the second unit that was in there they got the tempo going, got the defense going. They started rebounding the basketball and we came back in and picked up where they left off.

“Defensively and offensively it was amazing and I definitely agree with (Kerr) that it was our best quarter of the year, something that we can build off of.”

Green played 35 minutes and totaled 11 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three blocks and a pair of steals. He was plus-1 for the game.

“He was great; he’s been great all year,” said Kevin Durant, who produced 30 points, nine rebounds and six assists. “He’s setting the tone for us, defending, making the right play, being aggressive on the offensive end and the defensive end.

“He’s just a basketball player. You can’t label him as one thing. He does it all.”

Steph Curry knows it comes with risk, but he's not going to change the way he plays


Steph Curry knows it comes with risk, but he's not going to change the way he plays

OAKLAND -- When he returns to the Warriors, likely on Friday, Stephen Curry will alter nothing about his game despite coming off a four-month period during which his surgically repaired right ankle endured multiple aggravations.

He’ll be the same Curry that fans have come to know, diving into passing lanes on defense while firing up 3-pointers and darting in and out of paint traffic on offense.

It’s the only way he knows how to play, and he’s played long enough to accept that it comes with risk.

“When I wake up in the morning I’ll know the difference between my right (ankle) and my left,” Curry said Thursday after practice. “But that won’t stop me from being who I am on the floor and having confidence in myself when I get back out there.”

Curry missed 11 games after spraining his ankle on Dec. 4 in New Orleans. He missed two games after tweaking it in shootaround on Jan 10. He missed no games after tweaking it March 2 in Atlanta. He has missed the last six games after tweaking it on March 8 against the Spurs.

“I’ve been very durable over the course of my career,” said Curry, who is listed as probable but fully expects to play Friday against Atlanta. “It’s just that I’ve had three untimely, freak accidents happen.”

Curry stepped on E’twaun Moore’s foot in New Orleans, on Zaza Pachulia’s foot in Atlanta and Dejounte Murray’s foot against the Spurs at Oracle Arena.

Not once in the previous five regular seasons did Curry miss significant time due to his tricky ankle. He missed a total of 16 games during that span, never more than four in a season, and six of those were for reasons of rest.

This season, however, has tested Curry’s patience like nothing since 2011-12, after which he had his second ankle surgery. He concedes that being in and out of the lineup has left him at times feeling “boredom, monotony and frustration.”

Though some of that can be attributed to the rehab process, there is no doubt part of that stems from watching the Warriors from the sideline.

With Curry out of the lineup this season, the Warriors are 13-8 (he missed one game with a hand bruise, another with a thigh bruise). That they are 40-10 when he’s in the lineup illustrates his importance.

It’s not just that he’s important. Curry is the catalyst for the offense and he can only be that if he is playing without regard for the possibility of injury. A hesitant Curry can’t be an effective Curry, so full throttle is the only way to go.

"If we’re trying to win a championship, I need to be out there,” he said. “That’s a given. We want every single guy out there, healthy and available, myself included. That’s the ideal situation.”

If he gets hurt along the way, so be it. As man of faith, he believes that anything that happens is influenced by a higher power.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m shooting 3s or pullups are going into the lane or playing defense, that’s liable to happen any time,” Curry said. “Other than those instances, I haven’t had anything to worry about on the injury front. We are prisoners of the moment when it comes (playing the game). I don’t feel like I’m at a point where I have to change anything based on me being a durable player and being on the court consistently.

“Down the line, if you ask me about it in three of four years, there might be something I might need to change. But not right now.”

There is a segment of fans, worried about Curry’s health and realizing it is tied to the fate of the team, who would like him to dial back his aggression. Maybe avoid the paint and settle for more jump shots. He’s heard the advice and is not unwilling to launch a few more shots from deep.

But Curry is going to go where he sees daylight, and the best chance to make a positive play. He’ll take his chances because hesitation has no place in his mind or his game.


How Iguodala helped Looney get career on track, 'I finally listened to him...'


How Iguodala helped Looney get career on track, 'I finally listened to him...'

Back in late October, the Warriors declined their $2.3 million team option on Kevon Looney for the 2018-19 season.

How did that make him feel?

"It was kind of a let down," Looney told Tim Kawakami and Marcus Thompson on the Warriors Plus/Minus Podcast. "I knew it was up in the air. It was going back and forth, back and forth. When they didn't pick it up -- they told me why, I understood, I've been here for three years, I've seen a lot of players come and go; I know basketball is a business -- I was kind of let down.

"But I knew I was going to try and make the most of it. Now I'm playing for my contract for next year. I just wanted to go prove myself. I knew this summer there was a lot of doubts about what I could do. People were doubting if I would even be in the NBA still ... I knew what I was capable of."

Looney underwent surgery on his right hip in August 2015, and appeared in just five games during his rookie season.

He then had surgery on his left hip in April 2016, and appeared in 53 games (8.4 minutes per night) during the 2016-17 season.

This year, he's averaging career highs in points (3.5), rebounds (2.9), blocks (0.7) and minutes (12.0).

"This summer, I decided I just wanted to try go back to the way I played in college. It's been working for me," Looney explained. "I lost about 30 pounds this offseason and it's really made me a lot faster and a lot quicker. And I've been staying healthy."

How did he drop all that weight?

"A lot of broccoli and turkey and plain food. Food that wasn't that good but it's something that I had to get used to," Looney said. "Taco Bell, fried chicken, I was eating that on the regular ... coming off of injury, you can't eat like that. It's a different level of intensity in the NBA.

"I had to change my diet. Andre (Iguodala) was in my ear for two years about it. I finally listened to him and it paid off."

Looney will become an unrestricted free agent in July.

Although the Warriors declined the option, the 22-year old could return to Golden State -- but the max amount the Warriors can offer him is $2.3 million.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller