CLEVELAND — He is the guy you desperately want on your side. And he’s the guy as an opponent you desperately want to punch in the mouth.
Draymond Green brings that out in people. He chirps and rubs people the wrong way. But there is no denying his talent. One of the Warriors’ four All-Stars, Green does some of this, lots of that, and it usually adds up to an effective game. He was terrific defensively Sunday in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. On offense, he took just four shots, but his night included seven assists and eight rebounds.
But the main focus was making life uncomfortable for LeBron James.
“He’s already a great player,” Green said of James. “And then you give him the easy things, and he’s just getting into a rhythm and he’s dialing everything up. At that point, there is really nothing you can do. From the start of the game, we played with more force. Over the course of the game, it helped us a lot.”
Especially with Green playing his normal maniacal style. Teammates love it.
“You see it all,” teammate Stephen Curry, the offensive hero with 33 points, said. “He’s everywhere. He’s a Defensive Player of the Year for a reason. He loves those challenges. Loves being in the fight every possession. He just finds ways, not only if it’s a one-on-one matchup, to get a stop and plug holes on the defense all over the court.”
When asked about his Finals-record nine 3-pointers, Curry said his team getting the win was what mattered. He broke the record set by Ray Allen, who hit eight with Boston in 2010 against the Lakers.
“That’s a pretty cool deal to accomplish knowing who has held the record,” Curry said. “But at the end of the day, it’s all about trying to get a win and doing whatever you can to make that happen. I always say if we focus on that, good things happen individually all across the board. So I never woke up and was like, ‘All right, let’s go get nine 3s and get the record.’ It was more so about playing the game the right way.”
J.R. Smith, who acknowledged he had a “terrible” game (2-of-9, five points) for the Cavs, received a standing ovation from the pro-Warriors crowd at Oracle Arena. He insisted any attention is better than no attention.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue claimed Smith was unfazed.
“Not too much affects J.R.,” Lue said. “He had some good looks he didn’t make, but throughout the course of the game, I don’t he think he really got shots in a row to kind of get into a rhythm. So that was kind of tough on him. We have confidence in J.R., and he’s just got to continue taking his shots.”
Shaun Livingston on the multiple defensive looks the Warriors employed on James: “Just trying to throw different looks at him. He’s such a surgeon, the way he kind of dissects the defense and reads the defense. If you’re giving him the same dose of coverages, then it makes it easy for him. We try to give him a different look and also try to wear him down a little bit.”
The Cavs’ George Hill marvels at James’ durability and endurance.
“I don’t think he ever gets tired,” Hill said. “He’s a machine. I’m sure everybody in this locker room is doing the best they can. So we have to take it upon ourselves, look in the mirror and figure out more ways we can get involved defensively, offensively and get ready for Game 3.”
Curry moved into the top spot for the most career 3s in Finals history. He has 90. James has 85. Klay Thompson is in third with 58. … With his 29 points, LeBron James (1,327) moved into second place on the all-time Finals scoring list, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,317). Jerry West (1,679) sits atop the list.