OAKLAND, United States: Golden State Warriors sharpshooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, nicknamed the “Splash Brothers” for their skill at sinking 3-pointers, welcomed Draymond Green as an adopted soggy sibling on Sunday (Monday in Manila) at the NBA finals.
Green scored a game-high 28 points, his 11-of-20 shooting from the floor including 5-of-8 from 3-point range, to spark the defending champion Warriors over Cleveland 110-77, giving Golden State a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven championship series.
“If the game says shoot, you’re supposed to shoot, because usually when you don’t it turns into a disaster,” Green said. “My teammates trust me to take those shots. They find me [with passes]. It’s up to me to knock them down.”
Curry scored 18 points and Thompson added 17 with both hitting 4-of-8 3-pointers, but when the Cavaliers defenders cracked down on the Splash duo, they flipped passes to Green and he took full advantage, producing his best scoring total in a finals game.
“Tonight he was one of us, especially the shots he made off the dribble for three. Those aren’t easy fading away,” Thompson said. “He had an amazing game.”
Green scored 18 points in the first half, nine of them in a 20-2 second-quarter run that put the Warriors ahead to stay.
“They were really collapsing on Steph and Klay,” Green said. “They found me in a great spot to knock shots down.”
Green handled Cleveland’s defensive pressure as well when the Cavaliers moved to shut him down.
“The guy made shots, not only when we left him open and contested late but he made shots in our face,” Cleveland star LeBron James said. “We know he’s a key for their team.”
Even Green admits he got a bit carried away on one of his long shots, picking up the ball off a dribble and fading back from beyond the 3-point arc only to watch the shot amazing fall through the hoop.
“The one I danced at the top a little bit and shot the three, awful shot. It was pathetic,” Green said. “But everybody stopped moving so I thought I’m going to get some shot up and it happened to go in.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr loved watching Green shine, most of the time.
“Draymond was great,” Kerr said. “The only one I didn’t love was the one off the dribble from the top of the key. The others were all great. We like it when he gets that shot in rhythm and he knocked them down tonight.”
Green didn’t want to characterize his run as channeling Curry, saying, “Steve Kerr wouldn’t like it if I’m channeling my inner Steph Curry.”
Curry was laughing on the bench, burying his face in a towel at times as Green sank his shots.
“The one stepback one, that’s where I kind of lost my mind,” Curry said. “We needed that push to separate ourselves and he provided it for sure.”
But has he done enough to join the “Splash Brothers” family for good?
“It has been three or four years he has been with us, so I want him to keep shooting,” Curry said. “He has got some work to do.”