With all due respect to the Golden State Warriors’ other All-Stars—Stephen Curry (28 points and 8 assists), Klay Thompson (23 points), and Kevin Durant (24 points)— Draymond Green’s performance in Tuesday night’s series-clinching victory over the New Orleans Pelicans really stood out.
Though he didn’t have quite the eye-popping numbers that his teammates did, the number of things Green did and different ways he affected the game all played a huge role in the Warriors winning Game 5 and moving on to the Western Conference Finals.
Green finished Tuesday night’s game with 19 points, 14 rebounds, and 9 assists. So yes, he didn’t get the “win” according to Russell Westbrook, but it was still an outstanding all-around performance for the Warriors’ forward and one worthy of praise.
Green scored eight of his 19 points in the fourth quarter. As the Pelicans went on an extended run in the fourth to pull within seven points after trailing by 26 points at one point, Green hit this important shot with just under two minutes left in the game to stop the Warriors’ bleeding.
As Curry, Thompson, and Durant all went cold from the field down the stretch, Green provided just enough of an offensive push to keep the Pelicans at bay and secure the Warriors’ series-clinching victory.
The Warriors don’t need enormous point totals from Green, but they need him to make big and important shots in the pivotal moments of games. That’s what we saw on Tuesday night from him.
The Warriors did a great job distributing the basketball against the Pelicans on Tuesday night, tallying 36 assists. Green, with his nine assists, made a significant contribution to that total (the most of any one Warriors player).
In the Western Conference Semifinals, Green averaged 10 assists per game and did not have fewer than nine assists in any of the five games against the Pelicans. Green’s abilities as a playmaker and facilitator have been seen this postseason, particularly in Game 5.
One of Green’s nine assists on Tuesday night came on something we haven’t seen in a while—a lob from Green to set up a Jordan Bell alley-oop dunk.
Not surprisingly, Green was exceptional on the defensive end as well. Having to guard Anthony Davis is no easy task but Green handled it about as well as anyone could. Throughout these playoffs, but especially when matched up on an elite player like Davis, we’ve seen Green be totally engaged and determined on the defensive end.
It appears as though Green truly has “flipped the switch” as he’s been playing once again like a NBA Defensive Player of the Year-type player.
Green also displayed a new skill in Game 5—the ability to be a spy in the other team’s huddle!
Draymond got in the Pelicans huddle pic.twitter.com/oUgmHloPxm— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 9, 2018
Game 5 was another great performance by Green in these 2018 NBA playoffs, one that capped an impressive and historic series for him.
Draymond Green was the first player in Warriors history to average a triple double in a playoff series, 14.8 points per game, 11.8 rebounds, 10 assists— Tim Roye (@warriorsvox) May 9, 2018
Putting up a big performance, affecting the game in multiple ways while bringing an intensity and focus to the team as they sought to end a playoff series? In short... it was Closeout Draymond.
Who was the Warrior Wonder for Game 5 against the Pelicans?
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