SAN FRANCISCO – Dreammond Green, facing the fear of losing two games in the NBA Finals, arriving for Sunday’s Game 2 will be as painful as hell. During the 48-minute race, he argued with the authorities – and with almost every Boston Celtics player – and threw his body around the court only in controlled rage.
Put it this way: In the middle of the first quarter of a play, when the call went his way, the man got a proper technical foul. Yes, Green set the tone for the Golden State Warriors’ smashing 107-88 victory that leveled the series at the chess center and that tone was roaring.
After Game 1, Green promised that everything would be different. He said the Celtics needed him to “experience” more, and he felt the sensation of going out and standing under a waterfall. Jillian Brown was her primary defensive end, and Brown went 5-17 off the field, but that was just the beginning. Green, perhaps the smartest defender in league history, had numerous assets defending three or four different Celtics. Everywhere he looked, he seemed to come forward according to his needs.
When asked when the Warriors would get an extra-spicy version of Green for Game 2, Stephen Curry said, “About five minutes after Game 1.
Green was so good at the game that he had a real chance to get out of it. Nothing has changed since the initial technical glitch. He kept talking to many people, both listening and disliking, but he was not given a choice. He continued to quarrel with the Celtics players – there were many – just a second or two more than recommended. There was one with Brown who looked at referee Don’s headset and looked closely to see if the green night could end. Not so because the Celtics did not understand, but Green appeared unopposed.
“For me to sit back and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to try to push it back to the edge, it’s not working,'” Green said. “I want to be me. So the first technique – that’s it. Everything I do on the basketball court can’t stop me from being aggressive. I just have to live with the consequences.”
And he knew exactly where the line was, probably because – the Celtics would argue – he was the one who drew it.
At one point in the third quarter, Marcus Smart – Boston’s Drummond Light – spoke with referee Zac Zerba about a case that had nothing to do with Green; But they were both green, sewing seams. Green didn’t let anything go this night, he was determined to keep the water warm.
There was nothing green when not active. When Jordan Poole was given a technical foul for a trip to Derrick White – a call that was quickly canceled – Green leaned over the scorer’s table and officials played again while giving a running commentary to referee Tony Brothers. Watching. Green is the public defender of the warrior, who is bound to accept everything that comes his way.
“We know we have to keep our feet on the gas pedal and not give up,” Green said. “We did it.”
Green’s state line was pedestrian – nine points, five rebounds, seven assists – but he sucked the scene overnight. He grabbed Brown and engaged in submission. In the first quarter of Drive for the Lane, he snatched the ball from Al Horford, breaking Horford’s spirit.
“Some of that stuff doesn’t always show up on state sheets,” Curry said. “But you feel him in his presence, and the other team feels his presence and intensity, and it’s contagious for all of us.”
It would be admirable to describe Horford as passive. After his 26-point performance in Game 1 – 6-of-8 on 3s – 9-of-12 shooting – he didn’t take a single shot in the first half and hit a putback in the middle of the third quarter. I through. His game was a symbol of the Celtics’ dull performance. Horford went into the corner after an offensive wait and found him under the basket. He was one or three steps slower to defend, as the warriors eagerly engaged him in pick-and-roll situations. In general, Horford walked around the court as if he had spent the night at the airport.
Horford was adamantly rejecting the idea that Green’s actions would have infiltrated his and his peers’ minds: “No results. I mean, he’s going to do what he does. We don’t care.”
Green offered his tech.
“I think everyone played harder,” Green said. “It wasn’t just me. It was across the board. If I just picked up my strength and no one else did, it wouldn’t work.”
Green Game 1 then sat in the interview room and watched the Celtics shooting stats. Horford, White and Smart all put up games that Green clearly didn’t see as sustainable. Green repeatedly moved the statesheet and nodded. He can live with it, and it won’t happen again. He will look at her.
After his prediction came true in Game 2, Green said, “This is my job.” “It’s my job to set the tone on the defensive side of the ball, just as Steph Curry sets the tone on the offensive side of the ball.
“It simply came to our notice then. It’s just getting harder. I’ll have to take it on two more notches. “
It’s hard to say whether it’s a promise, a threat or something completely impossible. Ultimately, it is up to the Celtics to decide. Starting with less than five minutes left in the third quarter, the Celtics went down six points to 29, leaving Boston satisfied to finish the series. With 10 minutes left in the game, coach Ime Udoka vacated the bench.
The Celtics were ready to leave San Francisco – and for a while, Drummond Green – back.