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NBA Finals 2022: In Boston, the Warriors’ Draymond Green gets his fourth ring and the last laugh

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dragon green, four-time NBA champion, Golden State Warriors living legend, TNT analyst, increasingly popular podcaster and future Hall of Famer, had the last laugh at TD Garden. In the same building where he was greeted with boos and F-Yous, where he watched much of the fourth quarter from the bench six days earlier, Green left his fingerprints on all of Game 6: 12 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, two blocks. , two steals, just one foul, and the villain emerged victorious.

Green took the blame when he missed 10 of his 12 shots and the Boston Celtics stole home-court advantage in Game 1 of the Finals. He caught the heat when he fouled out in Game 3 and the crowd “catch me off guard,” as he put it. And when the Warriors needed to win a close game in a hostile environment to clinch their fourth championship in eight years, Green was indispensable. He logged 42 minutes, the most he has played in a game without overtime since June 13, 2019, the last time they played in a Game 6 in the Finals.

“If you know basketball and you watch Game 1, I didn’t have a bad Game 1,” Green said. “And I had an amazing Game 2. And Game 3 was like terrible, horrible. And Game 4 wasn’t my best, but not at all special. And Game 5, Game 5, I was pretty solid. I came out with great Energy.

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“Game 6, dominoes.”

Stephen Curry finally legitimately hoisted the Finals MVP trophy after the 103-90 win, but would you look at that final score? This one, like the rest of Golden State’s wins in this series, was a dirty one, a credit to the defense that ranked second to Boston, a reflection of Green more than anyone else. The Celtics scored an abysmal 96.8 points per 100 possessions in Game 6 and, according to Crystal Clearing, just 81.8 per 100 at half court.

“Our defense was spectacular in this series, especially the last three games,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “And the Celtics had the best defense in the league, but we were right behind them. I think what made this group really special, aside from the obvious with Steph, was the defensive intensity and versatility. And for that, Draymond is the guy to point out, the leader of everything.”

After Golden State’s two losses, Green said that he and the team needed to play harder and that Boston was too comfortable. The Warriors faced an offense that can reach great heights, but can spin out of control when pushed and pushed. They struggled against the Celtics’ half-court defense, but knew they would take advantage of transition opportunities if they could create them. In the clincher, Boston turned the ball over 22 times, 13 of which were steals. And whether the Celtics missed or missed a shot, Green was usually the guy who pushed the ball down the court, putting them on their heels.

Green was also one of the numerous guys who broke the charts. Early in the second quarter, he shoved in Jayson Tatum and passed the ball directly to Jordan Poole for a 3-pointer. A minute or so later, he chased down another bug and immediately found Poole for another. The Warriors recovered 40.7 percent of their errors Thursday and scored 21 second-chance points.

“He’s our leader and we need him to be on the edge,” Golden State big Kevon Looney said. “He and Steph have really different leadership styles, and they balance each other out. When you have Draymond putting his body on the line, he can be the villain, do whatever you need him to do. He’s going to go out there and do it for the team. We can’t give him enough credit for what he does for us.”

Looney said the Warriors “play with the same energy that he brings on the defensive end,” adding that “we always talk about Stephen on offense, and we compare Draymond on defense the same way.” In other words, you expect him to set the tone for the defense, tell everyone where to be, and make plays like these:

However, you don’t necessarily expect him to make a float shot on Golden State’s first offensive possession, or make two 3-pointers in the corners, one of them right in front of the Boston bench, or make a long 2-pointer over Robert Williams III. like the Celtics. they are running a race

“He always says, ‘I’m 90 percent in the clutch,'” Looney said. “We always say, when it comes to a close game, he’ll be in the action and make something happen. When you have someone you can trust like that, he gives everyone a confidence boost.”

“He’s brash and he is who he is, but when you need him, he shows up,” Andre Iguodala said.

Green said he knew he hadn’t created a great all-around game in the series. For him, it was about staying the course.

“I said, ‘What better time than to put it together tonight,'” Green said. “I guess I didn’t hear ‘F-you, Draymond’ all night. They couldn’t. So, you know, it’s easy to yell ‘F-you’ when someone’s having a bad game, but can’t you do that when they’re having a big game? I didn’t hear much of it tonight. Maybe I was just that shut in.”

There was another chant of “F—You, Draymond” on Thursday. This time, Green’s delirious teammates, in a champagne-soaked locker room, were the ones to say it, hard-earned smiles on their faces.

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