Warriors

Chris Mullin compares Draymond Green to NBA greats after stellar Game 3

Chris Mullin compares Draymond Green to NBA greats after stellar Game 3

Chris Mullin is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. As he should be.

And as Mullin watched Game 3 of the Warriors-Trail Blazers Western Conference finals Saturday night, he could have sworn he saw another Hall of Famer running out there on the Moda Center court.

"He looked like Magic tonight the way he was pushing the ball full steam ahead after makes and misses," Mullin said of Draymond Green's performance in Golden State's 110-99 win. "Scoring the ball, rebounding, assisting, communicating, I thought he did a great job of keeping just the positive energy, even when they were down."

There came a moment in Saturday's game when that positive energy was deployed expertly and on point. Jordan Bell missed a wide-open dunk, drawing jeers from the Portland crowd. Shortly thereafter, Green tried to refocus his younger teammate, and the microphones picked up his message.

Mullin, who stepped down as head coach at St. John's University in April, knows full well the value of having a player like Green who can communicate that message from a place of earned authority. In Mullin's eyes, Green's seemingly endless storage of energy and enthusiasm doesn't come about by accident.

"I really think the way Draymond, the last month or two with his fitness level increasing, I think when you're physically fit and you don't get tired, you're sharper mentally, you've got a more positive feel about what's going on, no matter what that is," Mullin said. "Your decision-making is sharper. You don't fatigue mentally or physically, so you have that extra energy to help your teammates."

Green certainly didn't appear to tire throughout Game 3, over which he tallied a triple-double with 20 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. He also collected four steals and one block, meaning he has five combined blocks and steals in all three games of the best-of-seven series thus far.

Green believes he's the best defender in NBA history. Is Mullin ready to give him that title?

"Right now, the way the game's played, he's up there as the best defensive player that's out there right now, no question about it," Mullin said of Green's claim. "The way he played tonight? He was one of the best players ever in the history of the game, because he was defensive, he was offensive, he was leading. He did everything."

One of the best players ever, even if just for one night. That's some high praise from someone who knows what it takes to be one of the best.

Mullin didn't stop there with the compliments.

[RELATED: Draymond: Locked-in Steph taking Dubs to 'different level']

"Look, they're getting ready to go to their fifth Finals in a row," Mullin said of the Warriors. "Steve Kerr is getting close to where Red Auerbach was -- that's saying something. And all these players are falling in line with all the legends of the game, whether it be [Larry] Bird, Magic [Johnson], [Michael] Jordan ... they're up in that category with their team and their individual performances."

After winning Game 3, only one more victory lies between the Warriors and that fifth consecutive NBA Finals berth. If Green keeps playing like a Hall of Famer, that's bound to happen sooner rather than later.

Warriors should rest Andre Iguodala, who is sore in Achilles 'region'

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AP

Warriors should rest Andre Iguodala, who is sore in Achilles 'region'

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Andre Iguodala played less than 18 minutes Saturday night before hobbling into the Warriors' locker room in the third quarter, never to return to Game 3 of the Western Conference finals against the Trail Blazers.

Soreness in his lower left leg, according to the Warriors, though neither coach Steve Kerr nor Iguodala seemed particularly concerned.

Yet it's serious enough that Iguodala will undergo an MRI on Sunday. Furthermore, one word made its way around Moda Center after the game that should cause enough alarm for the Warriors to consider resting the 35-year-old veteran Monday night in Game 4.

Achilles.

Soreness in an athlete’s Achilles' tendon is not unusual, but it's not to be taken lightly, given that a rupture is among the most devastating injury that one can sustain.

Asked specifically whether the soreness indicated a problem with the Achilles' tendon, Iguodala did not deny it.

“It’s in that region,” he told NBC Sports Bay Area.

“I've had it before,” he added. “I’ll be all right.”

Iguodala added that he has dealt with soreness in that area “for a while,” without specifying. Until Saturday, he had played through it.

So, he might be right. Maybe there is no reason for worry. The MRI will provide clarification. As someone who knows his body about as well as any player in the NBA, Iguodala might need nothing more than a few sessions of physical therapy.

“He just had some soreness ... so we didn’t want to risk anything and put him back in the game,” Kerr said. “When we took him out mid-third, the trainer said that will be it for him.”

If Iguodala’s wheel is barking, it’s easy to understand why. He entered Saturday averaging 30.2 minutes per playoff game -- about seven more than in the regular season. He spent most of the six-game first-round series chasing LA Clippers guard Lou Williams and most of the six-game second-round series assigned to NBA leading scorer James Harden.

Iguodala has spent much of the first three games this round coping with either of Portland’s two dynamic guards, Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum.

[RELATED: Iguodala flips off ESPN camera while en route to locker room]

The Warriors generally err on the side of caution in matters of health. Sitting Iguodala on Monday would seem the prudent move.

If ever there were a time to be overly cautious, it's with a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series.

NBA rumors: Blazers star Damian Lillard playing through separated ribs

NBA rumors: Blazers star Damian Lillard playing through separated ribs

Damian Lillard isn't having the best time in the Western Conference finals against the Warriors.

In the Trail Blazers' Game 3 loss Saturday night, Lillard shot just 5 of 18 and finished with 19 points in 40 minutes.

Now, we might have an explanation as to why the Blazers guard is struggling.

The Athletic's Shams Charania reported after Game 3 that Lillard has separated ribs and is playing through the injury.

ESPN's Tim MacMahon confirmed the news, and provided a few more details.

The injury appears to have occurred during Game 2 of the series when Warriors center Kevon Looney landed on Lillard as they went for a loose ball.

[RELATED: Iguodala to undergo MRI]

So far in the Western Conference finals, Lillard is shooting 32.9 percent (15 of 46) and averaging 20.3 points per game.

Lillard won't use the injury as an excuse, and he's probably not thrilled the news got out. But it does explain his poor shooting numbers.