OAKLAND – Draymond Green is the last place to look when assigning blame for the Warriors losing Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Sunday.
“Draymond was brilliant,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr after a 93-89 loss in Game 7 gave the NBA championship to Cleveland. “He had one of the best Game 7s that I’ve ever seen, knocking down his shot, rebounding, moving the ball, playing incredible defense.
“Draymond did everything he could.”
Yet Green is the first place to look, according to himself, when seeking a scapegoat for the Warriors losing the series.
“I blame myself for everything,” Green said. “That’s just who I am. I think, as a leader, that’s important.”
Green’s harsh self-critique goes back to his being suspended for Game 5 based on his actions in Game 4 and previously during the playoffs. At a time when he needed to be on his best behavior, he took a swipe at Cavs star LeBron James and the NBA made him – and the Warriors – pay a steep price.
The Warriors were up 3-1, in position to close out the series at their beloved Oracle Arena, and Green wasn’t even allowed in the building for Game 5.
The Warriors lost that game and never won again.
“Hey, I’m not afraid to take the blame,” Green said. “I do think that’s where the series turned.
“But it happened. Move on from it. I learned from it, and I’ll be better. But I’m not afraid to say that it’s my fault. I think it was.”
Following the Game 5 defeat with losses in Games 6 and 7, the Warriors ended up relinquishing the crown they earned in 2015 – and becoming the first team in NBA history to blow a 3-1 series lead in The Finals.
Green played Game 7 as if trying to atone for being absent in Game 5 and largely ineffective in Game 6. He finished one assist away from a triple-double, finishing with game-highs in points (32 points) and rebounds (15), while leading the Warriors in assists with nine.
It was not enough to offset subpar games from Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and the rest of his teammates.
“Don’t matter; Game 7 doesn’t matter,” Green said. “We didn’t win. So we can look at a stat line and say, ‘Oh, he was great,’ or whatever. But we didn’t win. So that really doesn’t matter.”