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Warriors' Draymond Green Addresses Celtics Fans' Racist Taunts Ahead of Boston Return

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 18, 2023

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 15: Golden State Warriors Forward Draymond Green (23) looks on during a NBA game between the Golden State  Warriors and the Chicago Bulls on January 15, 2023 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors will return to Boston to face the Celtics on Thursday for the first time since clinching last season's championship there in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

That means Draymond Green will be playing in front of the fans he said directed racial slurs and racist names at him during the Finals games at TD Garden.

"You usually have situations where people talk crazy, but not the entire arena," Green told Kendra Andrews of ESPN. "You'll have a situation where an entire arena will boo you, but not what the Boston fans were doing. So, it was just a different situation than I had ever seen. It took a while to adjust to it ... it was just so unexpected. It caught me off guard."

He went on to say it was more difficult to tune out than most road atmospheres.

"Whenever you know what to expect, you can plan for it," Green said. "I've been around for 11 years so I thought I had seen it all. But that, I had never seen before. I guess with this, there was no real way to prepare for it. Except mentally know what you're walking into. When that happens I can tune it out. But that first time I couldn't tune it out."

This is not the first time the Michigan State product has addressed the racial slurs he heard while playing in Boston.

During an appearance on Uninterrupted'sThrowing Bones in December, he said, "At Game 3, I was f--king rattled. I heard everything you could possibly hear in that arena."

Green fouled out of Game 3 and finished with just two points on 1-of-4 shooting from the field. Boston seized temporary control of the series with the victory that put it ahead 2-1, and the forward's struggles continued in Game 4.

While he impacted the outcome more with nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals, he still managed just two points on 1-of-7 shooting from the field.

Yet Stephen Curry saved the Warriors with 43 points, 10 rebounds and four assists behind 14-of-26 shooting from the field and 7-of-14 shooting from deep. Golden State escaped with a 10-point win to even the series and then won the next two to clinch its fourth championship in eight years.

"So going into Game 4 down 2-1, I'm just like I just need to come in here and stabilize myself," Green said in December. "Shoutout to the GOAT Stephen Curry because in Game 4 I still wasn't myself, but I rallied enough to be better. And then he carried me."

This season's Celtics are better positioned to make another run to the NBA Finals than the Warriors if the standings are any indication.

Boston has the best record in the NBA at 33-12 with Jayson Tatum playing like an MVP candidate. Golden State has dealt with plenty of inconsistency and is just 22-22 on the season and 5-17 away from home.

However, all it would take is a quick winning streak from the reigning champions to climb the standings and move one step closer to a potential NBA Finals rematch.

For his part, Green said he plans to greet the fans in Boston "with a nice smile, just as I did after we won the championship" when the Warriors take the court Thursday.