Warriors everyman Draymond Green struggled from beyond the three-point line last night, going 0-for-4 and just 1-of-6 from the field overall. But he’s still packed a lot in the box score with 10 rebounds, six assists, three blocks and a steal. He also defended ably against a much longer Dirk Nowitzki, telling reporters after the game he’s “heart over hype” and he always tells himself to “‘goon up’” when he’s at a size disadvantage.
Dirk shot just 4-of-15 from the floor for 15 points, and the undersized Green (6-7) got in Grill’s mug even when he was isolated on the block.
By way of CSN Bay Area, comes Green’s defensive philosophy in slowing Dirk down despite his physical limitations:
“Heart. Heart over hype,” Green said when asked how he limited Nowitzki’s production. “At the end of the day, I always say ‘goon up.’ Just bring that dog out … Just really try to take away his space, crowd his space and contest the shot … just contest as hard as you can and hopefully he misses.”
And that’s exactly what Green did, despite giving up almost half a foot to the former NBA Finals MVP:
This video wouldn’t stop skipping, so apologies for the stop-and-go GIF rendering. But it shows Green get up on Nowitzki and the basket on a spin baseline. When Dirk gets cut off, Green challenges his shot by getting in his space without fouling him.
Then he does the same thing in the second half, forcing Dirk to throw up an air ball on a patented one-footed fadeaway that’s usually money for the Hasselhoff fan.
When Dirk isolates on the left side again, Draymond steps in front of his spin baseline and blocks the shot:
He does the same thing, blocking the shot, when Dirk has even deeper position on the right side:
That’s trademark “gully” defense, to “goon up,” or whichever hard g word you wanna use. We just call it great.
You look at the box score and he’s 1-for-6, and somebody is gonna write that his PER wasn’t that good or something, I don’t know,” Steve Kerr said after the performance. “But he wins. Draymond wins, and that’s why we need him out there.”
Dray’s defense won’t get the attention of his teammate’s scoring exploits, but his all-around game and basketball smarts are just as important for the NBA’s best team.
What do you think?
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