Draymond Green was not at all surprised with his bounceback performance in Game 6.
After struggling on both ends of the floor early in the NBA Finals, Green was excellent when the Golden State Warriors needed him the most. The Warriors big man scored 12 points with 12 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocks as his team closed out the Boston Celtics 107-88 to win their fourth NBA title in the last eight seasons.
Following the win, a defiant Green said he never doubted himself.
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Draymond’s Big Game
Green’s performance in Game 6 came after his poor offensive performances earlier in the series helped put the Warriors in a 2-1 series hole. The Warriors big man had a horrid shooting performance in Game 1, making just two of his 12 shots and going 0-for-4 from 3-point range. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr even decided to bench Green for critical stretches of the fourth quarter in Game 4, keeping Green off the offensive end as often as possible.
Green responded with one of his best playoff performances in Game 6. After missing his first 12 3-point attempts in the NBA Finals, Green made two of his five shots from behind the arc on Thursday.
After the Game 6 win, Green was asked whether he learned anything about himself during his struggles and had a confident answer.
“I didn’t learn anything about myself, I been knew I was resilient,” Green said, adding, “Nobody gave me this, I had to work every second of my life.”
The performance earned plenty of praise, both for his offensive contributions and strong defense. The Athletic’s Anthony Slater called it an “all-time” great performance from Green given the importance of the moment and the difficult matchup.
Green Bounces Back
Despite his earlier struggles, the Warriors never lost faith in Green. After his decision to bench Green during late stretches of Game 4, Kerr predicted that Green’s energy and emotion were going to be critical for the rest of the series.
“Part of the reason he wins is because of his emotion, because of his passion,” Kerr said, via SI.com. “So when the passion boils over, it’s all part of it. But I wouldn’t trade him or trade his emotion… I wouldn’t change him, put it that way. We need what he provides, the emotion and the energy. We gotta have that.”
The struggles for Green stretched beyond the NBA Finals. After their five-year run to the NBA Finals came to an end in 2019, the injury-plagued Warriors fell to the bottom of the league the following season. Golden State missed the playoffs last season as well, falling in the first-ever play-in tournament last season after losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies. Green had plenty of ups and downs this season as well, including a lower back injury that wiped out months of his season.
While Green played with plenty of emotion throughout the NBA Finals, in the end it was him helping his teammates stay composed as they closed out the title.
“Steph Curry extremely emotional with 63 seconds left and title basically clinched,” Slater tweeted. “Draymond Green had to come over and remind him to box out on the free throw rebound.”