Draymond Green Benched In Warriors’ Game 4 Win vs Celtics

Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The Golden State Warriors faced essentially what was a must-win situation against the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals on Friday. The incredible individual play of Stephen Curry caught most of the attention in their 107-97 win as he finished with a staggering 43 points. However, the Dubs going away from Draymond Green for much of clutch time shouldn’t be overlooked.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr opted to go with Kevon Looney at the five with Green on the sideline after his team trailed 90-86 with 7:32 left in regulation.

“I’m definitely never thrilled coming out of the game with seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter in a must-win game,” Green said. “I’m not going to sit here and act like I was thrilled. I’m a competitor.

“But if that’s what Coach decides, then you roll with it. I had to keep my head in the game and whenever I went back in, try to make some plays. That was just my mindset.”

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It has been a struggle for Green to make a positive offensive impact in this series. The Celtics have the size and length to make life challenging for him in the paint and are often leaving him wide open on the 3-point line — daring him to shoot. While he recorded nine rebounds and eight assists in Game 4, he finished with two points on 1-7 FG and 0-2 3P.

Kerr revealed in the post-game press conference how the Warriors planned ‘anyway’ to deploy their closing group with Looney without Green.

“We took him out and put Loon in around maybe 7:40, which was our plan, anyway,” Kerr said. “But Loon was playing so well and Jordan Poole was playing so well, so we just stayed with the group.”

Draymond Green did come back into the game at times down the stretch and made a few pivotal plays. Among them was an assist to Stephen Curry for a made 3-pointer (1:42 left to play) and a drop-off pass to Kevon Looney out of the short-roll to extend their lead to 102-97 with just 1:04 left in the game.

“He’s the ultimate competitor,” Kerr said. “Came back in. Made huge plays down the stretch. He finishes a game with 4 steals, 8 assists, 9 boards.

“Look, this is a tough series for him to score because of Boston’s size and athleticism, but he’s still impacting the game at a huge level. And he knows we’re just going to do whatever it takes to win.”

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Given the struggles Green has experienced as a scorer, it’s understandable for the Golden State Warriors to get creative with lineup combinations and when they deploy them. Curry admired how Green handled the situation as well as how Looney stepped up in a timely fashion.

“There’s so much trust in how we do things,” said Stephen Curry, who had 43 points and 10 rebounds. “And decisions that Coach makes and responsibility falls on us as players; that Loon went in there, dominated the paint, got us some big rebounds, created a presence. Draymond came back in and had some juice and some life on the defensive end.

“We obviously understand it’s just about winning. … We’ve all been on the side where it doesn’t go your way from the top all the way to the bottom. It’s not fun. It’s not something you readily accept, but you understand the big picture, and obviously especially when it pays off. So it’s more so the trust in Loon and what he’s able to do than any kind of like situation with Draymond.”

No matter what Kerr decides to do with lineups, Draymond Green understands it’s important to stick with what’s working. If it doesn’t involve him, he takes it in stride.

“I’ve always been on the bandwagon of if you’ve got something and it’s rolling, you stick with it,” Green said. “So it is what it is.”


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About Grant Afseth 1056 Articles
Grant Afseth is a contributor to NBA Analysis Network who specializes in creating in-depth analysis. He also covers the Texas NBA teams for FanNation.