Draymond Green was booed every time he touched the ball early on Wednesday night, a raucous Sacramento Kings crowd welcoming him back to Golden 1 Center for the first time since he was ejected for stomping on Domantas Sabonis’ chest in Game 2. By the end of Wednesday’s pivotal Game 5, though, the loudest fans in basketball were left silent as the Golden State Warriors celebrated a series-changing victory with Green leading the charge.
Green had 21 points, four rebounds, seven assists and four steals while scoring from all three levels on Wednesday night, shooting 80% from the field. After coming off the bench for the second straight game, a public acknowledgement of his rippling offensive limitations, Green suddenly turned into a dynamic scorer for the Warriors while remaining the best defender on the floor.
Draymond Green did it all for the Warriors in an epic Game 5 win over the Kings.
— Warriors Nation (@WarriorNationCP) April 27, 2023
Draymond Green didn’t leave his trademark bravado entirely behind in Game 5. He still roared and flexed after late-clock Dirk Nowitzki fadeaways, tough fake dribble hand-off finishes and singular stops on the other end. But the outward animus Green played with to begin the most exciting series of the first round was notably lacking Wednesday night, a development he explained on the postgame podium.
“No, I just be myself. I don’t go chasing after some villain title,” Green responded when asked if he relishes that role. “Being a villain is no fun. It’s not enjoyable. But I’m also never ducking any smoke. So whether that’s with a player, with a fan or a fanbase, it is what it is.”
Know who else insists they “never duck smoke” and “run up the chimney?” The Memphis Grizzlies, who became the butt of jokes league-wide earlier this week when both Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks refused media obligations after their team fell behind 3-1 to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Maybe Green wasn’t making a thinly veiled reference to Brooks and the Grizzlies, he and the Dubs’ biggest rivals.
But it sure didn’t seem that way as Green continued explaining the shift in mindset that helped the Warriors earn an epic Game 5 win on the road, where they were awful throughout the regular season.
“We pride ourselves on not being frontrunners, so I knew for me I couldn’t love and appreciate the love and cheers that I got at Chase and then come out here and fold because everybody’s booing me from the time I came in the game. You gotta take the good with the bad,” he said. “That was my mindset coming in.”
Morant, by the way, spoke with reporters following Memphis’ season-saving win over the Lakers on Wednesday.
Even if Draymond Green was taking a not so subtle shot at the Grizzlies, rest assured his focus is squarely on the task at hand—so much so he insists he barely heard Kings fans while spearheading the biggest win of the Warriors’ season.
“I knew these fans would be at me from the time I went in, and to be honest with you I barely heard them. I was just dialed in on the task at hand and focused. I wanted to make sure I didn’t give them any of my energy tonight. I didn’t give any of my energy to them, anything other than winning this basketball game—I wanted to focus all my energy towards that.”
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