Young Celtic Key to Countering Draymond Green Jabs, Analyst Says

Draymond Green of the Warriors (left) and the Celtics' Grant Williams

Getty Draymond Green of the Warriors (left) and the Celtics' Grant Williams

For a guy who has scored just 13 points and has missed all five of his 3-point attempts in 73 minutes spread over two games, Warriors big man Draymond Green has sure put his stamp on these NBA Finals, which stand at 1-1 with the series heading to Boston for Game 3 on Wednesday night.

Green has always been particularly good at getting under the collective skins of his opponents, especially on the postseason stage, and he’s managed to do so already with Boston. The prime instance came near the end of the first half of Game 2, when the Celtics’ Jaylen Brown shot a 3-pointer and was fouled by Green. Both went to the floor, and Green intentionally left his legs draped over Brown.

Brown took exception and there was some minor pushing and shoving. The play gained extra notoriety because Green had already been called for a technical foul earlier in the game, and could have been ejected if he had been called for another. Instead, the refs decided not to call techs on the play.

The Celtics have made clear their annoyance with Green. “I don’t know what I was supposed to do there,” Brown said. “Somebody got their legs on the top of your head and then he tried to pull my pants down. I don’t know what that was about.”

Doris Burke: Grant Williams Can ‘Talk as Much as Him’

But the bigger question is, how will the Celtics respond—if at all—to Green’s needling as the series progresses? That question was put to ESPN broadcaster Doris Burke by’s Madi Kroll, and Burke said the Celtics could have their own weapon on hand.

“It’ll be interesting to see does Boston engage at all?” Burke said. “Because Draymond is going to do his thing, if he scores he’s going to flex underneath, he’s going to let you hear it. There’s going to be a level of physicality. The one person I think might be able to talk as much as him that I’ve seen, and I think he’s been tremendous and actually I think it’ll be interesting to see can he find the magic he had earlier in the playoffs, is Grant Williams.”

Williams has been developing a reputation around the league as a sort of Draymond-lite player, an undersized on-floor trash-talker who can make big shots and annoy opponents along the way. He’s not at Green’s level by any stretch—not yet, at least—and Williams has done a good impression of Green thus far in the Finals. That is to say, he has struggled: After averaging 10.1 points and 40.5% shooting in the first three rounds of the playoffs, Williams has scored only six points in two Finals games, on 2-for-4 shooting.

Draymond: ‘You Wanna Be Me’

Green is, apparently, aware of Williams’ developing cred as one of his heirs apparent, and of the fact that Williams is a fan of his.

Back on media day before the start of the Finals, Williams was asked about Green, who was an anchor for the team during its championship run in 2015. “I remember watching the game,” Williams said. “I was going for the Warriors then, back in the day because I was a Draymond guy. That was a fun moment for me because my teammates were all going for LeBron (James). … All these guys were betting on the Cavs and when they beat them, I talked so much trash for a week.”

Draymond Green calls Grant Williams a Bozo & says "You wanna be me, bum a*s." in Game 2#nba #nbahighlights #nbahighlightstoday #nbafinals2022-06-06T23:00:13Z

Green, rather cold-heartedly, had some special trash talk for Williams in Game 2. At one point, he called Williams, “Bozo,” and, while at the foul line, Green was captured telling Williams, “You’re not me. You wanna be me.”

Over the course of the remainder of this series, he certainly might try.


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