Boston Celtics

Jun 5, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) and Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) react after a call in the first half during game two of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

  • When talking about the dominant Warriors teams of the modern era, Draymond Green has to be a part of the conversation. Generally, he’s considered a part of the team’s big three along with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. He’s not the shooter Curry or Thompson are, but the four-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA, and former Defensive Player of the  Year has been a strong interior and defensive presence on a team dominated by guard play. At times, he’s also played the role of enforcer or pest – depending on the viewpoint.

    Green was expected to be a big part of this year’s NBA Finals in that regard – making things tough on a young Celtics team in its first trip to the game’s biggest stage. While he did fill up the stat sheet in Game 1 with 11 rebounds, five assists, and two steals, he didn’t seem to inflict that edge and ended up fouling out after the game.

    It wasn’t until after Game 1 that Green made his presence felt, bringing his trademark confidence to the podium and seemingly dismissing the Celtics’ historic comeback. “We pretty much dominated the game for the first 41, 42 minutes. So we’ll be fine,” Green said, despite the fact the Warriors trailed by two points at  halftime. “I think they stayed within striking distance, and they made shots late. So we’ll be fine.”

    “They hit 21 threes, and Marcus Smart and Al Horford and Derrick White combined for 15 of them,” he added. “The guys are good shooters, but they combined for, what, 15 out of 8; Smart, 7, 8, 15-for-23. My math right? 8, 7 and 8. Yeah, that’s 23, right. Yeah, 15-for-23 from those guys, eh, you know, so, we’ll be fine.”

    Green then brought that intensity back to the floor for Game 2. From posing for his trademark flex early in the game, to getting into a constant back-and-forth with Grant Williams after tackling him, to getting tangled up with Jaylen Brown, it was hard to ignore the energy and edge he was adding to the game – and the Warriors seemed to thrive on it.

  • After the game, Green was a popular topic of conversation. Most of the Celtics players were asked about his impact on the game. That included Brown, who had four of his nine questions involve Green.

    “That’s what Draymond Green does. He’ll do whatever it takes to win. He’ll pull you, he’ll grab you, he’ll try to muck the game up because that’s what he does for their team,” Brown said. “It’s nothing to be surprised about. Nothing I’m surprised about. He raised his physicality to try to stop us and we’ve got to raise ours. Looking forward to the challenge.”

    “Obviously we know what Draymond brings to the game. I love that about him. Obviously I played with him [with Team USA]. We tried to match that. I just kind of felt like we weren’t getting the benefit of the doubt when we were trying to play with that physicality,” Jayson Tatum added.

    However, not all of the Celtics were so quick to give Green credit. Asked what kind of impact he thought Green’s intensity between the whistles had on the game, Al Horford simply replied, “nah, no impact.”

  • “He’s going to do what he does. We’re not worried about him,” Horford said after being asked a follow-up question about Green’s defensive intensity. “We’re going to do what we do, focus on us. We just didn’t get it done tonight. We’ll be better at home Game 3.”

    As for Green himself, he seemed happy with the job he did raising the energy level Sunday night, calling Game 2 “an attitude adjustment.” He even harkened back to his comments after Game 1 – including a line Dennis Green would be proud of.

    “We didn’t play with enough force the entire 48 minutes. We had spurts where we played with the right amount of force in Game 1. But overall, against a team like that, you can’t let your foot off the gas pedal.” he recalled following Game 2. “We knew. Like I said last game, they are who we thought they were. So we knew we had to keep our foot on the gas pedal and not let up, and we did that, and we were able to come out with the win.”

    With Green and the Warriors setting a new intensity level, the series shifts to Boston for Game 3 on Wednesday. Coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. ET on 98.5 The Sports Hub and the 98.5 The Sports Hub Celtics Radio network, leading up to a scheduled 9:00 tip-off.