The Warriors are turning their season around after Draymond Green returned from injury.
Draymond Green had a big game on Saturday night, turning the corner in his first back. He scored 25 points and dished out 12 assists against the Lakers. Read more in detail here: draymond green.
1:00 a.m. ET
ESPN’s Kendra Andrews
Draymond Green has never had a midseason injury like the one he had in early January to his lower back.
He’d never missed so many games in a row before, and he’d never had to catch up while games were still being played. As a result, he struggled when he returned from his two-month hiatus.
Green, on the other hand, looked the most like himself since his comeback in the Warriors’ 109-90 victory against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. He not only had an usual Green stat line of six points, five assists, seven rebounds, one steal, and two blocks in 24 minutes for a plus-11 net rating, but he also played in both games in a back-to-back.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “For him to play in a back-to-back and bring that type of intensity and look as good as he’s looked, he’s definitely turned the corner from a physical aspect.”
Green said he felt “awful” in an interview room at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., precisely seven days ago. He stated how when he’s on the court, he never makes a team poorer. He said that the game was going at a million miles per hour for him, and that he was failing to have an effect when his team most needed him.
However, it’s clear that Green’s game is catching up to him during the last two games.
Green added, “I think there have been a couple defensive plays where I can sort of feel myself getting my timing and flow back and covering up some stuff.” “In terms of offense, I’m beginning to find my stride. I need to rediscover my sense of touch. But, other from that, I’m beginning to find my stride…. It seems like things are beginning to fall into place for me in the past few games.”
Green came close to a double-double against the Utah Jazz on Saturday, ending with 10 points, nine rebounds, and a plus-20 net rating. But it was his outspoken leadership, not his on-court performance, that eventually caught up with him.
Green’s motivational talk during a fourth-quarter timeout, according to Jordan Poole and Gary Payton II, ignited Golden State’s 18-0 run over the Jazz. He resumed his conversation just after the game. On Sunday, he knew Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, and Otto Porter Jr would be out. There was a risk they’d be without Green entirely. As a result, he addressed his younger colleagues in order to prepare them for the trip to Sacramento.
“He said in the locker room last night, ‘Young people, tomorrow’s a big game, and we’re going to need you,’” Kerr said. “I believed it was vital for him to be able to play and help lead them tonight.”
“We had a big victory last night, and he knew how important this one was.”
Following their game against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, the Warriors noticed a change in their energy. Sure, they lost, but they caught a glimpse of the squad that once had the best record in the league and the league’s top offensive.
The Warriors have been working hard to improve on their performance from that night ever since. On a personal level, Green feels the same way. It’s one of the reasons he wanted to play on Sunday.
He said, “They offered me the opportunity to play, so I took it.”
The Warriors realize it’s no surprise that as Green has rediscovered himself, the team’s performance has improved, especially on defense. His return as the floor general has also calmed everyone down on offense.
They will be without two-time MVP Curry for the remainder of the regular season, but they are sure that as long as Green, affectionately regarded as the team’s pulse, continues to produce, they will have a chance.
“[Green] is perhaps the most important player on this squad,” Nemanja Bjelica said plainly.
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