Warriors 3 Things: An ‘organic’ Draymond Green sparks Warriors in blowout win over OKC

Warriors 3 Things: An ‘organic’ Draymond Green sparks Warriors in blowout win over OKC

Saturday was a get-right game for the Warriors and for Draymond Green, whose turnovers in the Dubs’ loss to the Grizzlies could easily be seen as the difference in that fanatic showdown.

And, boy, did both get right.

The Warriors won 103-82 in a contest where only one Warrior — Jordan Poole — played more than 30 minutes.

And Green, of course, was a huge part of the victory.

“It was just a great, great night for Draymond. I think he’s been just amazing through six games, bringing the energy and intensity at both ends,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “This is the Draymond that will be in the Hall of Fame someday.”

Or maybe it was the Michigan State win over Michigan in football earlier in the day. Green was wearing Spartan green from head to toe — replete with green and white Jordan 1s and Block-S socks.

“When Michigan State organically kicks some ass, I organically fly around the court,” Green said.

Green established himself early on the offensive end, pushing around a young, inexperienced Thunder team from the opening jump.

Green attempted six shots in the first quarter, making five. The makes included a run-the-floor dunk, a really nice floater, and a corner 3 — only his second-such shot of the season after shooting a total of 16 last year.

Green finished with 14 points on 75 percent shooting.

Those aren’t exactly magic numbers — easy to remember markers — but they do constitute a strong offensive game for Green, who added 11 rebounds and eight assists (with only two turnovers) in 25 minutes against the Thunder.

The Warriors are 110-21 in the regular season when Green scores 14 or more points.

And Saturday was the 18th game where Green has scored 14 or more on 75 percent shooting or better. This is the first time he’s done it this season. He did it twice, last season, both games were Warriors wins.

In fact, the Warriors have only lost two of those 18 games where Green was clicking on the offensive end. The last loss was January 2018 — a defeat at Houston. The other, a Christmas loss to the Cavs in 2016.

A win isn’t guaranteed, but if Green can put up points at a hyper-effective clip, but it’s not far away.


The kids are alright

(Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

The Warriors are “chasing wins” this year, per coach Steve Kerr. That means they’re not going to give minutes to players that aren’t helping them win the game — something they had to do the last two seasons.

Still, the Dubs are a team that’s trying to have it both ways — win and develop young players.

It’s why games like Saturday are so important.

The Warriors didn’t take advantage of the first time they played the City Thunder (as I prefer to call them). The Dubs’ early lull on Tuesday forced them to go hard in the second half to dig themselves out of a 15-point hole.

They did it, but they had to expend some legitimate energy against some baby children in the process.

The Warriors won that game, but it was no win.

Saturday was a true victory, though. The Dubs took care of business within the first 30 minutes of the contest — and that’s the conservative estimate.

Controlling the game allowed the Warriors to integrate some of the team’s younger players into the proceedings.

Two-way player and point guard Chris Chiozza saw first-quarter minutes. Moses Moody — fresh off a nice run in the G-League Friday — played nearly nine minutes of the second quarter.

And Jonathan Kuminga made his NBA debut on Saturday in the final six minutes of the game.

The kids did alright.

Kuminga knocked down a nice 3-pointer the Thunder dared him to take. There were a couple of turnovers and a few misses, but the experience was no doubt positive, even if he was a negative-nine in a contest where the score was irrelevant.

Moody’s five-point, plus-10 second quarter was a highlight of the game. We won’t discuss what happened when he returned to the floor in the fourth.

And I like Chiozza. I don’t think he’s going to be a serious player for this team — someone who moves up the ranks, joins the regular rotation, and is an important piece in the playoffs — but he can play some regular-season games, stealing some minutes from Curry on nights like Saturday. That’s an important role, too.

It doesn’t hurt that he has a slight resemblance to Curry’s three-year-old son, Cannon. Teams need quirky jokes.

Kuminga — the youngest player on the team — received the game ball after the contest. The ball came from someone even younger: Cannon.


Amen, Draymond

The longstanding stance of this column is that Green is never wrong. He drops truth bombs, too.

And boy, did he drop one Saturday in his press conference.

“Can I also say how satisfying it has been to watch the game of basketball without all those terrible calls?” Green said. “Guys [were] cheating the game, grabbing guys, and getting the foul — I have been really enjoying watching basketball this year. I kind of had stopped watching the NBA a little bit. There was too much flailing and flopping and guys cheating the game to get free throws.”

Amen, Draymond.

The NBA’s emphasis on not calling defensive fouls on plays where the offensive player initiates contact might be lowering scoring across the league, but has created a much better game.

Yes, points are fun, but professional sports need defense — there must be an inherent conflict in the contest, lest it be a matter of makes or misses (which it all too often is).

And there was no doubt that players like James Harden, Luka Doncic, and Trae Young were cheating the game. But that model worked, to the point where Steph Curry even dabbled.

Shame on him — luckily it never became a habit — and shame on all of them.

The people who pay the bills in professional sports are casual fans. Folks who like the game but aren’t brainwashed. This is an entertainment product, and the style of play that was being rewarded in the post-Warriors era was anything but entertaining. Worse yet, you had the over-invested and brainwashed telling you that cheating the game was, in fact, more skillful than anything else happening on the court.

The Hardenfication of the game was going to destroy the league. It was insidious and needed to be countered.

The NBA did it. The referees are doing an amazing job in adapting and controlling the contest so far this season.

And I imagine that because the NBA took action, there are going to be plenty more people who in the coming weeks will, like Green, come back to watching games.

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