Draymond Green and the rest of the supporting cast on the Golden State Warriors have been like annoying little pest to the Clippers but that strategy is exactly what has kept the underdog alive in this playoff series.
Golden State struggled with bench production in the regular season. They were 24th in the entire NBA at 27.9 bench points a game. Fortunately, things took a turn in the first round playoff matchup against the Clippers.
The bench players are averaging 33.0 points in the first round of the playoffs.When head coach Mark Jackson throws his bench players in, he can count on them to get on the floor, hustle for loose balls and light up the scoreboard.
It all starts with the energy that Green brings off the pine. The 24-year-old out of Michigan State definitely brings that Tom Izzo type of attitude to the Warriors. Green is averaging 9.8 points, 8.5 rebounds. 2.8 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocks in the first round. This guy is relevant in five different categories. That is rare, especially for a player in only his second year! Hard-nosed defense and timely baskets is exactly why Green has given the Warriors a major boost in this highly competitive playoff series.
Green has hounded Clippers star Blake Griffin for the past couple of games and as a result, the Warriors have the chance to upset the Clippers in game 7. Griffin averaged 27.7 points,while shooting 60.9% from the field in the first three games of the series. Much to Griffin’s dismay, Green has held him to just 18.7 points on 44.4% from the field in the last 3 games. Griffin has not had double digit rebounds in any of the games in the series. All of these statistics point to the fact that Green is keeping Griffin off of the boards and containing him from filling it up in the scoring column as of late. Is Green a “Griffin Stopper”? Probably not, but judging by Green’s recent play, he has been the closest thing to it.
Green’s teammates are obviously feeding off of his energy. Harrison Barnes is another second-year man that is helping this young Warriors squad in their quest to make some major noise in the playoffs. Barnes is putting up 9.2 points and 4.3 rebounds a game in the series. Jermaine O’Neal is also playing very solid. O’Neal is a 17-year veteran that is holding his own against the athletic towers of Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. O’Neal is averaging 7.0 points and 4.0 rebounds against the Clippers in round 1 and has stepped into the starting role for the injured center Andrew Bogut. Other players such as Marreese Speights, Steve Blake and Jordan Crawford have also made some key plays for the Warriors in the first round.
Look, it is obvious that guys like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee are going to get most of the credit because they handle the scoring load but give the Warriors’ bench kudos. The bench performance has been extremely laudable. From Green on down, this supporting cast gives the team a lot of fire and passion when they hit the hardwood. Thanks to an all around team effort and will to win by any means necessary, the Warriors have a chance to win game 7 and move on to the next round.
Related Article: https://www.isportsweb.com/2014/04/19/golden-state-warriors-steal-game-1-california-war/
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