Draymond had right reasoning in picking Celtics over Heat


SAN FRANCISCO -- Don't call it a prediction.

When asked after the Warriors' Game 5 win over the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals, Draymond Green told the TNT crew that he believed the Warriors would be facing the Boston Celtics, not the Miami Heat, in the NBA Finals. The problem? The Eastern Conference finals between those two squads wasn't over. A handful of Heat players took exception to Green going with the Celtics, and Miami forced a Game 7. 

But in the end, the Heat lost on their home court and Green proved to be correct. 

"I didn't really predict that," Green said Tuesday to reporters when asked about choosing the Celtics instead of the Heat. "I think I just know a little bit about basketball. And I mean, if you know a little bit about basketball and you saw the two teams, I just thought Boston was the better team. 

"It wasn't a prediction or a slight at anybody. I thought they were the better team, and clearly I wasn't far off." 

The Warriors played the Heat twice in the regular season and beat them twice. They played the Celtics twice, winning the first game before being blown out a few months later. But those games didn't even enter Green's reason for why he felt the Celtics were coming out of the East. 

Boston started out slow and were 14-15 after their first meeting with the Warriors in the middle of December. But once the calendar flipped to 2022, the Celtics were a whole different team, especially on defense. 


The two teams that will square off in the Finals each finished the regular season with the best defensive rating in the NBA at 106.9.

It's fair to say the Celtics have more weapons than the Heat as well. All reasonable arguments. 

"We've been watching it for months," Green said. "Months now where their defense is absolutely incredible. They have a good offense, and more importantly on offense, they have a guy that is one of them guys.

"Jaylen Brown is absolutely a very good player. But Jayson Tatum is one of them guys. When you have that, you always have a chance at winning when you have a guy like that. You couple that with all the pieces around them, the defense around them, they have veteran leadership -- you couple that with all the things that's around him, you look and say, 'Wow, they actually have what it takes.' So for me, that was just my thought." 

Green's final point was an area that the Warriors are hoping to improve in the next few days: Health. 

The Warriors are looking to get key role players back in Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr. and Andre Iguodala. The Heat were without an even bigger piece to the puzzle. 

Tyler Herro, who won this season's Sixth Man of the Year award, missed Game 4, 5 and 6 against the Celtics. He was active for Game 7, but played only seven minutes and missed both of his two shot attempts. 

Starting point guard Kyle Lowry also missed the first two games of the series and missed eight total in the playoffs. 

"Going into that series, Miami was hobbled," Green said. "I just didn't feel like they would be able to score enough points to beat them, especially with Tyler Herro being out. Tyler Herro was their second-leading scorer this season, if I'm not mistaken. So with him being out, I didn't think they would be able to manufacture enough buckets in order to win the game. 

"And that's kind of what it came down to. They lost 100-96. One hundred points isn't a lot of points. That's kind of what it came down to -- couldn't score enough points. That was my thoughts on their games." 

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He isn't mistaken, and he wasn't wrong. The Celtics outscored the Heat by 37 points in the series, and now starting Thursday night at Chase Center, they have a date with the Warriors in the Finals. 

Get mad at him if you will, just hear him out. Draymond's reasons for seeing the Celtics as the more superior team at the time than the Heat proved to be right, and now he's geared up for an absolute battle with Boston.

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