On Sunday, the 13-51 Los Angeles Lakers did the unthinkable. They were responsible for the greatest upset victory in NBA history with their stunning 112-95 win over the Golden State Warriors. Afterward, Kobe Bryant apparently had some words of wisdom for the Warriors players as they prepare to move on and continue their quest to beat the ’96 Bulls’ 72-win record and repeat as NBA champions in June. Most notable was his message to Draymond Green, who he clearly sees as the heart-and-soul of Golden State. Via Michael Lee of The Vertical:
Then, Bryant summoned Draymond Green to pass along a much more pointed message. “He’s the one that has to keep his finger on the nerve with this team, because it can get lax, it can get comfortable, and I think he’s the one that’s going to have to create that conflict, that tension in the locker room, because if they don’t have that, then in the playoffs, then they are going to be in trouble,” Bryant said of Green. “He’s got to give them that conflict.”
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what went wrong with the Warriors Sunday beyond just a rare combination of poor shooting, defensive miscues, and turnovers. Their focus so far this season has been nothing short of remarkable, and there was no better example of that than their back-to-back wins over a gutsy Thunder team last week. Still, Bryant is right. It was Green’s curious halftime explosion against OKC last weekend that got Golden State back on track in that game.
Certainly, it’s Curry’s otherworldly talent at the center of the Warriors’ success, but it’s Green’s all-around effort that makes everything else cohere.