An old basketball adage that's forever easier screamed and gesticulated than done remains, "Make *insert other team's best player*'s team beat us. Anybody but him." There will be times when trying to take Stephen Curry out of a basketball game will work. It worked the bulk of the time for Mark Jackson's (more on him later) Golden State Warriors. The offense would divulge into a Jarrett Jack-centric iso-fest. As the Warriors stake their claim to the NBA's best, Draymond Green has risen in sync, and become one of the scariest in-between - the area where you have but a second to decide whether to dribble, shoot, pass, or some combination - decision makers in the league.
Draymond Green had another superb locker room interview, for reasons not on the court, but we'll get to those later. On one play, Green received a pass from Curry as the Clippers threw the entire kitchen at him. Green took a dribble, faked to Harrison Barnes in one corner, and turned around and flipped it to Klay Thompson in the opposite corner. It looks easy and in sync, but it takes a perfect understanding of the defense and offense, with anticipatory skills that Green has developed with the constant Curry doubling.
"Very comfortable. I used to just look to pass. Then people started to jump the passing lanes once they started scouting. Now I look to score a little bit more, but also to make the right plays as well, which could be to pass or shoot the ball. If you continue to do something to somebody, they get better at it. I've seen a lot of teams do that to Steph and I've gotten better in those situations."
Do we expect this to continue? At least against the Los Angeles Clippers, Doc Rivers is making damn sure this is the case when I asked the question.
"Nah, we're going to keep doubling him. You can tell him."
As Green garners even more minutes in mismatch situations, especially as the five against certain teams, the repetitions he will acquire for the rest of the regular season will best serve him when teams like the Clippers, San Antonio Spurs, and everyone else tries to takes away Stephen Curry.
Off the court, Green had even more shots to lob. This time at Dahntay Jones, a benchwarmer for the Clippers who ostensibly bumped into him as Green was doing a postgame interview for ABC. From Ethan Strauss:
1. The Warriors were as disrespectful as they come to DeAndre Jordan's offensive game. They didn't resort to the cringe-worthy tactic of Hack-a-Jordan but they let Barnes and Green box him out, to great effort. This won't be effective in the playoffs when Blake Griffin is playing but that's where Andrew Bogut comes in. I'm not going to look up the stats but Jordan does not do the things he does against David Lee and Marreese Speights against Bogut.
2. After slumping in Dec (29.6%) and Jan (32.4%), Draymond Green is back at around 36.6% in Feb/March from three. He drained three more out of seven against the Clippers and is pretty streaky from there. We'll see if he can at least keep it at a 35 percent pace for the rest of the year.
3. Perhaps what people don't realize most about the NBA is the fakeness. Players and coaches will say one thing to the media and mean something else entirely. In another odd TV broadcast (why even have him on at this point?), Jackson trashed Curry by proclaiming him not good enough where he helps his teammates get better. Maybe at a certain point in their friendship - which seemed on the best grounds of any Warrior - Jackson realized Curry was better with Steve Kerr as coach than him. The politics assumed here can get messy and it's all conjecture. Whatever it is, get this dude back on the broadcast when the Warriors are winning the NBA Finals. That is the only way this ends.
4. Much has been made of Shaun Livingston's success now that he's playing with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, with Green at the 5 and either Andre Iguodala or Barnes taking a backseat. What's not as obvious is his footwork on defense. He can switch onto Nate Robinson and Matt Barnes with ease and stay in front without being bullied. In terms of quickness and scouting report defense, Livingston is nearly as good as Iguodala and Thompson.
5 Not to be a party pooper but even though the Warriors dominated this game, it doesn't much predict what could or should happen if they meet in the postseason (presumably in the second round). The Clippers played without Jamal Crawford and Blake Griffin. For comparison's sake, the Warriors were blown out in Los Angeles on Christmas Day without Andrew Bogut. It goes both ways. But at least in the postseason, it'll have to go through Oracle in a best-of-seven.
6. Glen Big Baby Davis had one of the more ridiculous flops you'll ever see. I won't dignify it with a vine on here. It was embarrassing but kind of hilarious. These are the Clippers.
7. Watch the ball there. Watch it vanish here.
In a flip-flop of perceptions, Stephen Curry had one of the best 12 point-4-assist games I've seen. Those are usually reserved for Green.
The Golden State Warriors have a quick turnaround as they head to Arizona to play the Phoenix Suns tomorrow at 7 PM PST.