OAKLAND – Warriors forward Draymond Green said Thursday morning he didn’t know the guy, himself, that played Games 3 and 4 in Oklahoma City.
By Thursday night, he could recognize himself without a mirror.
So, too, could the sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.
“I was better tonight,” he said.
“I was coming to fight, and that’s it. I’m going to go out there and do that. If all else fails, I’m going to fight. That’s kind of what I did, and that will be my mindset for the rest of the series.”
Green’s fury manifested itself 11 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots. He played 39 minutes and was plus-2 – modest for Green but far superior to the plus/minus numbers he posted in Oklahoma City.
Try minus-43 in Game 3 and minus-30 in Game 4, career-worst totals. He also committed a Flagrant-2 foul that painted him as the villain to the crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“I didn’t really have to do a lot of soul-searching because I knew exactly what it was,” Green said of the poor performances.
“But sometimes we all need a little shoulder to lean on, somebody to call on, somebody to talk to. I approach this like it’s life or death. It’s not just a game to me. I love this. This is what I do. When I don’t live up to who I know I am, it bothers me.”
Green said he communicated with a number of NBA players, naming Matt Barnes, Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Nate Robinson. He also singled out retired legend Kobe Bryant for his supportive words.
“I actually talked to him on the phone (Wednesday),” Green said of Bryant. “It was great, because, like he said, ‘If it’s easy, why bother?’ Anybody can do it if it’s easy.
“So that kind of sat well with me, and talking to him (Wednesday), that’s a guy that’s been through it all, man. He’s been through having the fans love him. He’s been through having the fans completely hate him. And when they hated him, he used that as fuel.”
Green was whistled for a technical foul in the third quarter by lead official Ken Mauer, who didn’t appreciate Green’s vociferous response to a personal foul call.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr was, sort of, willing to let the technical foul slide – though he did have a few words with Green. Stephen Curry also counseled Green.
“That conversation was between us,” Kerr said, “but he played very well. He settled himself down and showed great poise and energy. He just had that brief sort of two- or three-minute spell where he got a little out of sorts. But he recovered well from that.”
Well enough to do his part in sending the series back to enemy territory, where Green will be on the receiving end of continuous boos.