Stephen Curry Defends Draymond Green: Warriors 'Are Not in the Finals Without Him'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 14, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 13: Draymond Green #23 and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors high five during Game Five of the 2022 NBA Finals on June 13, 2022 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Stephen Curry credited Draymond Green for doing all the little things to help the Golden State Warriors take a 3-2 lead over the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA Finals.

Green has struggled with his shot in the series—34.5 percent from the field and 0-for-11 on threes—but he's averaging 7.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.6 steals through five games.

"In a situation like this series where things are not as smooth and you have some rough patches, he finds a way to respond with the right energy and approach and toughness that, if you're watching the game, you notice him at all times because he's kind of everywhere," Curry told reporters Monday. "We need that grit. We are not in the Finals without him playing at such a high level all year long, the first three series."

A lot of what Green does to win games doesn't even show up in the box score. It's the hustle plays or fighting for rebounds against players a handful of inches taller than him or the defensive rotations to help a teammate who may be out of position.

Meanwhile, on a team with so many talented offensive performers, he doesn't get enough touches on the offensive end to find his shot consistently. He averaged just 5.6 field-goal attempts per game during the regular season while averaging 7.5 points. His main role at that end of the floor is serving as a distributor.

Most of Green's value is yielded at the defensive end, which is why he earned an NBA All-Defensive First Team selection for the fourth time in his career this season.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr named Green and Gary Payton II as key contributors at that end of the floor after Monday's crucial victory.

"The key to our game is defense," Kerr said.

Golden State held Boston to just 26.7 percent shooting (4-of-15) in the fourth quarter in Game 5, which helped the Dubs regain control of game after the Celtics dominated the third period.

Now the Warriors are within one victory over their fourth championship since 2015. It would restart a dynasty that went on hiatus for the past couple years because of injury woes.

Golden State still has work to do if it's going to close out Boston, though. Kerr and Co. are likely going to need some game-changing defensive work from Green to make it happen.