Draymond Green's recent hot shooting adds lethal dimension to Warriors

Draymond Green's recent hot shooting adds lethal dimension to Warriors

OAKLAND -- Deep into his seventh season playing alongside Draymond Green, Stephen Curry has seen and heard just about everything his firebrand teammate has to offer on the court, from defense and rebounding, to playmaking and tantrums.

But on Friday night, Green came up with something new.

“Tonight was the first time I’ve seen Draymond apologize for a ‘heat check,'" Curry said after a 120-114 win over the Cavaliers.

A ‘heat check’ is a impulsive shot one takes to test the limits of his rhythm at that particular moment. 'How hot am I?' It’s usually associated with such scorers as Klay Thompson or Curry, two of the best long-distance shooters in NBA history.

Green, however, is the one Warriors starter teams dare to fire at will. Please, anybody other than Curry or Thompson or Kevin Durant or DeMarcus Cousins (who rested on Friday).

Scoring is not Draymond’s forte. The Warriors ask a lot of him and he usually provides. He leads the team in assists and steals, is second in rebounding and third in blocks. He also defends all five positions, sometimes three in a single possession.

But now he has the gall to add scoring to his repertoire. He’s not only contributing points, he’s also doing it efficiently including from -- of all places -- the 3-point line. He scored a season-high 20 points Friday on 8-of-14 shooting from the field, including 3-of-7 from beyond the arc. He also totaled eight rebounds and five assists, the kind of statistics expected of Green.

If this is the way he’s going play it, the Warriors have the capacity to torture opponents five different ways.

“It’s obviously a huge confidence boost, because of the way teams defend us, picking and choosing who they’re going to shade and send help to and things like that,” Curry said. “Everybody on the floor’s got to be a threat and be able to finish off plays.”

Green’s shooting percentage from beyond the arc has remained in the 20's all season; he entered the game Friday shooting 28 percent from deep. No need to bother defending that.

Lately, though, he has been splashing at a rate usually reserved for the likes of Curry and Thompson. He’s 16-of-38 (42.1 percent) over his last 12 games.

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Green attributes his current shooting to feeling healthy and being more assertive with his shot, avoiding hesitation, getting his legs into it and letting it fly.

This scoring thing smacked the poor Cavaliers, who were willing to give Green all the 25-footers he wanted, right upside their unexpecting heads.

“That was the game plan,” said Larry Nance, the Cleveland power forward assigned to defend Green at a distance. “And he shot us out of it.”

“Kudos to him. Those other guys go without saying. Steph is Steph, KD is KD, Klay is Klay. And those guys are going to do what they’re going to do. Draymond hurt us tonight.”

On his third shot in the first 82 seconds -- all 3-pointers -- Green finally missed, after which Curry rejected his apology. After opening the game with back-to-back 3-pointers inside the first minute, a delightful surprise to the sellout crowd at Oracle Arena, Curry knew Green had earned that privilege.

After all, he may never get another.

If Green continues to make deep shots with 40-percent accuracy, teams won’t have a choice. They’ll have to guard him. They can’t risk sagging off him to double-team DeMarcus Cousins in the post or blitz Curry on the perimeter.

Curry is all for it, as is coach Steve Kerr.

“He does so many other things for us that we don’t need him to score,” Kerr said of Green. “But when he does, it’s gravy.”

For the Warriors, yes. For opponents, the idea of Green as an efficient and productive shooter is a toxin for which there is no antidote.

Don Nelson sees key differences between Warriors, Celtics dynasties

Don Nelson sees key differences between Warriors, Celtics dynasties

Don Nelson has a unique perspective on the Warriors' recent run. 

The Basketball Hall of Famer was the sixth man for the 1965-66 Boston Celtics, whose appearance in the NBA Finals that season was their 10th in a row. The Celtics were the last team to make (at least) five consecutive Finals, until the Warriors joined them by completing a Western Conference finals sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night. Nelson, of course, also coached the Warriors for two stints, successfully pushing for the team to draft eventual two-time MVP Stephen Curry towards the end of his second go-round in 2009. 

So, how does he think these Warriors compare to those Celtics? He told Bay Area News Group's Mark Medina in an interview that he sees a couple of key differences. 

For one, even though Curry is considered by many to be the straw that stirs the Warriors' drink, Nelson doesn't think the Warriors' leadership comes from just one person. The Celtics dynasty centered around legendary center Bill Russell, whose leadership exploits rivaled his on-court dominance. Instead, Nelson sees "strength in numbers" as more than just a marketing catchphrase. 

"But all of the core guys are big leaders in their own way," Nelson told Medina. "They're all leaders, and nobody is the boss. That's really the way they do it. If you can have more than one guy as your leader and be as unselfish as those guys are, it makes it really easy."

There is also the nature in which the respective rosters were constructed. Nelson signed with the Celtics after he was cut by the rival Los Angeles Lakers, but unrestricted free agency did not exist at that point in the NBA. All but three of the 14 players to suit up for the Celtics in 1965-66 were drafted or acquired in a transaction with another team (one player was sold from the Warriors to the Celtics). 

By contrast, nine of the 17 players to suit up for the Warriors this season signed as free agents. 

“You have to remember one thing," Nelson told Medina. "We didn’t have free agency when Boston had their run. But these guys have done it with free agency there. In Boston, you couldn’t leave. You had to stay with the team forever. So it’s incredible. It’s a great story. I haven’t heard a story like that in forever.”

[RELATED: Why Raptors are better Finals matchup for Dubs than Bucks]

Nelson won a title with that aforementioned Celtics team, and if the Warriors are going to follow in their footsteps, he thinks the biggest key is getting Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins healthy. 

“Without Durant in the lineup and Cousins in the lineup, they’re going to have a hard time beating either team in the East," Nelson told Medina. "It’s not going to be easy. Let’s hope they’ll be back. They’ll need all the weapons they got.”

Kevin Durant continues Twitter feud with FOX Sports' Chris Broussard

Kevin Durant continues Twitter feud with FOX Sports' Chris Broussard

Kevin Durant isn't going anywhere. This isn't about free agency. This is about Twitter. 

The injured Warriors star has logged on again, continuing his feud with FOX Sports' Chris Broussard on Wednesday, who said he and Durant have texted for two to three straight hours. According to Durant though, the reporter doesn't even have his number. 

Ok, maybe Broussard wasn't talking about actually texting, but the reporter held on to his claim. 

About ten hours later, Broussard expanded on the nature of their texts direct messages from the front seat of his car. Broussard said some of the conversations "lasted more than five hours," and didn't forget to plug his appearance on FS1 Thursday morning. 

The argument stems from Broussard saying Monday that Durant's "worst nightmare" is happening as the Warriors swept the Blazers with him rehabbing a strained right calf. Golden State's star forward was having none of that. 

While Durant continues to work his way back for the NBA Finals, he has eyes on Twitter and is ready to fire back at all of the worst takes.