December 13, 2012 in Professional
Draymond Green hit a game-winning shot against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, but as I mentioned last night, it was his defensive awareness and intelligence that kept him on the court for 30 minutes, largely defending LeBron James, in the team’s upset of the defending champs. In the process, he earned an admirer in James. Via Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports:
Classy move by LeBron. Walks right up to Draymond Green, who hit game-winner, and gives him big hug.
— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) December 13, 2012
James also heaped the praise on during his postgame comments. Via Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times:
“He played hard,” James said. “It was great competition out there between me and him. I have always respected him, especially in college. You could tell he really knows how to play the game. It was good to see him out there.”
And, not surprisingly, it was Green’s (and Jarrett Jack’s) intelligence that Green’s big shot (with fellow Michigan native Shane Battier guarding him) even materialized in the first place. From Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated:
In a postgame interview, David Lee confessed that Green wasn’t exactly a primary option. The Warriors were certainly aware of the fact that Miami would be focused on Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry as they darted toward the ball, but it appears that Green just made a well-timed slip on his screen rather than some prescripted move, and Jack read the play perfectly to set him up at the last possible second. This play very nearly ended with a brief Jack isolation against LeBron James just inside the three-point line, but Shane Battier strayed too far from his man and Green was too keen on the possibility of springing open. There are plenty of big men who would go through the motions in a scenario like this one, content in the knowledge that one of the team’s prime scorers would be hoisting up a difficult look as the buzzer sounded. Yet the joint play by Green and Jack demonstrates an impressive level of awareness, undoubtedly informed by the Warriors’ more general sense of offensive balance.
Sharp play design, sharp decision-making by both Green and Jack, great execution by both parties … cool stuff all around.