So much of what Draymond Green does on a basketball court that isn’t basketball is often praised/excused as “Draymond being Draymond.” But Boston isn’t buying it.
Even after a 107-88 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 2, the Celtics aren’t adding to the narrative that Green wants to write for himself. For Boston, much of what transpired in Sunday’s 48 minutes at Chase Center was self-inflicted: the often stagnant offense, the eighteen turnovers, and the 33 points off those eighteen turnovers.
But as Jaylen Brown would call it — the physicality, the pulling, the grabbing, and the mucking up of the game — well, that’s Draymond being Draymond.
“That’s one player that can guard one player at a time. We had eleven turnovers for 18 points in the first half. They had nine steals. Playing in a crowd way too much. He’s going to switch matchups a lot of times and try and impact the ball defensively, but we weren’t strong with the ball overall. It wasn’t just him,” head coach Ime Udoka said of Green and Boston’s own mistakes.
“Of course, he’s going to come out and try and set the tone, but I think we weren’t strong with the ball a lot, searching for fouls instead of going up and making plays, especially with their lack of rim protection.”
Some might point to Marcus Smart as a Draymond comp. The savvy Defensive Player of the Year doesn’t shy away from physical play or the challenge of lining up against the opposing team’s best player. Smart said, “it’s an honor to be compared to a guy of Draymond’s caliber. A champion, a great leader, a great defender. He does what he does very well, so I like to look at myself that way.”
But then there’s the childish mind games, the irritant relying on the irritating to impact the game. Midway through a first quarter that the Warriors were losing, Green trucked Grant Williams which Williams was incorrectly called for a foul. Williams, to his credit, didn’t react and the officials, to their credit, whistled Green for a technical foul.
Draymond Green got a tech after his scuffle with Grant Williams pic.twitter.com/znRj9YzWkk— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) June 6, 2022
This may be the Celtics first trip to The NBA Finals in over a decade, but the paperback book on Draymond has been out for ten years now and Boston has read it cover to cover. They expected it.
And it didn’t stop there. Already with a technical foul, Green dangerously backed into Brown’s airspace on a three-point attempt, knocking them both to the floor.
Draymond Green and Jaylen Brown getting into it pic.twitter.com/ZV7RmpP3en— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) June 6, 2022
In the tangled mess, Draymond was Draymond.
“I don’t know what I’m supposed to do there. Somebody’s got their legs on top of your head and then he tried to pull my pants down. I don’t know what that’s about,” Brown said of Green’s foul.
“That’s what Draymond Green does. He’ll do whatever it takes to win. He’ll pull you. He’ll grab you. He’ll try and muck the game up. That’s what he does for their team. It’s not nothing to be surprised about. It’s nothing I’m surprised about. He raised his physicality to try and stop us and we gotta raise ours. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Green finished with nine points and seven assists, not exactly impactful numbers from the Warriors’ seventh leading scorer. However, what the podcaster has been good at for all these years is building his narrative. This isn’t meant to take away from his outstanding D or ability to orchestrate the Warriors offense or leadership on three championships. Those are all things that belong between those lines. But he also excels in the theatrics, the bravado that’s so often confused as competitiveness and heart. Brown called them, “gimmicks and tricks.”
In a postgame interview with SportsCenter’s Michael Eaves, Green even said, “it’s not that I’m saying they necessarily treat me different. I’ve earned differential treatment. I enjoy that. I embrace that…”
Draymond being Draymond.
Game 2’s lopsided score will suggest that Green’s behavior is a part of winning basketball. He’ll surely want that “differential treatment” from officials and fans alike. However, the Celtics are fully aware of what Green does and more importantly, why he does it.
“I mean, he’s going to do what he does. We’re not worried him,” Al Horford said of Green’s relentless stunting in Game 2. “We’re going to do what we do: focus on us. We just didn’t get it done tonight. We’ll be better at home in Game 3.”