If you’ve noticed a kinder, gentler Draymond Green during this NBA Playoff season, it’s not your eyes deceiving you.
The Golden State Warriors big man has made an effort to do less jawing with officials and has tried to be more supportive both of teammates and opponents, an effort that has been a boon to his team. As Anthony Slater of The Athletic noted on Twitter, the once-contentious Green has gone the entire series against the Portland Trail Blazers without getting a technical foul, and only had one the entire series against the Houston Rockets.
Green, who had a reputation for being very vocal about bad calls and frequently arguing with referees, said he needed to put the focus back on playing basketball.
“I got to a point when I was doing more crying than playing,” he said. “I’m sure it was disgusting to watch.”
Green’s play has actually drawn praise as the team stormed to a three games to zero lead over the Blazers and appear headed back to a fifth consecutive NBA Finals. In his team’s Game 3 win, a mic’ed up Green was seen lifting up teammate Jordan Bell after Bell blew a wide-open dunk.
Bell looked dejected after the miss, but Green was there to pick him right up.
"You missed a shot. All of us have."— ESPN (@espn) May 19, 2019
Draymond encouraged his teammates during a Warriors' rough patch in Game 3 (????⬆️) pic.twitter.com/BjuHwFeloc
“It’s OK. You missed a shot. All of us have,” Green told Bell. “Nobody’s perfect.”
Green has stepped up his game on both ends of the court in the absence of the injured Kevin Durant, notching a triple-double by the third quarter of Saturday’s Game 3 victory and ending with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists.
Game 3:— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 19, 2019
The Draymond Green game
1 Block pic.twitter.com/MDLmvcQjQV
As The Ringer noted, Green has found a way to be everywhere on the court at once. His torrid play during the NBA Playoffs has been a surprise given how he struggled during the regular season, the report noted.
“He plays with such frantic energy that there’s no way he should be making the smartest plays and the right moves all at once,” the report noted. “Given how he struggled during the regular season, it is safe to say his fuel is the high stakes, and it’s why he’s been playing at an elite level ever since the playoffs began. Saturday’s game was his magnum opus.”
Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors will now have a chance to advance to the NBA Finals for a fifth straight year, meeting the Portland Trail Blazers for Game 4 on Monday at 9 p.m. ET.