Physicality marked Golden State’s victory in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Boston enjoyed a barrage of three-point looks in Game 1 and made the Warriors pay for their tentative rotations by knocking down 21 three-pointers in Game 1. All of that changed in Game 2 when Draymond Green decided to ramp up the defensive pressure and play like the omnipresent defensive force he has been throughout his career.
Green’s fingerprints were all over this matchup whether it was pressuring Al Horford, locking down Jaylen Brown, setting screens that would make a left tackle blush, or calling Grant Williams a bozo. His energy had a cascading effect on the Warriors’ defensive disposition that clearly bothered the Celtics.
After the Game 2 victory, former NBA players Gary Payton and Cedric Maxwell talked about Green’s physical performance and joked that would have been knocked out if Green had played that way in the 80s. Green was asked about those comments after practice, and as always, gave a delightfully sharp response.
“One thing that baffles me about the 80s or 90s when basketball was so much more physical, some of the guys that be talking were not the guys that were punching people. They act like guys were walking around the court like I’m going to hit this guy in the nose. There were a few guys back then that would lay you out, knock you out, that would foul you and get you out the game: Bill Lambier Rick Mahorn. But everybody walking around like they were that; y’all were getting bullied.”
“Y’all were getting bullied”
Draymond has a message for those who glorify the physicality of basketball in the 1980s and ‘90s pic.twitter.com/BRxU5Z0SS9
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) June 7, 2022
The constant references by former NBA players on the physicality of the 80’s and 90’s have begun to fall on deaf ears. Draymond rightly pointed out small minority of players who would actually throw a punch on the court and the relative lack of consequences for doing so. Green toes the line as much as any player but notes the punishment system from the league is as much a deterrent as anything, as a punch now might cost him $1 million. The on-court physicality is just enough for him, as he’s proven time and again.