NBA

Warriors nearly unstoppable when Draymond Green shoots this well

Jay Asser 23:52 05/05/2017
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Green light from outside: Draymond Green. Picture: Getty Images.

As dominant as they already are, the Golden State Warriors’ invincibility is taken to a new level when Draymond Green is turning his biggest weakness into a strength.

Green has been red-hot shooting 3-pointers and his confidence in his range was on full display in the Golden State Warriors’ 115-104 win over the Utah Jazz at Oracle Arena on Thursday.

The all-encompassing forward nailed 5-of-8 from long range to score 21 points, while also doing his customary stat-stuffing with seven rebounds, six assists and four steals.

“We love that shot. It gives us a huge lift,” Stephen Curry said of his team-mate’s aggressiveness from deep. “Hopefully that jumper travels when we go to Utah because those shots will be open.”

Green made 2-of-5 triples in Game 1 of the series and has hit 18-of-33 in the playoffs overall for a percentage of 54.5, the best among all players in the postseason who’ve attempted at least 20 shots.

All but three of his 33 attempts from beyond the arc have been uncontested looks, with Green converting 18-of-30.

It’s no surprise the Jazz have chosen to give Green space and instead diverted their defenders to greater offensive threats like Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Green, who is a career 33.4 per cent 3-point shooter, has taken full advantage of the strategy.

“Obviously [Utah’s] gameplan is to have whoever’s guarding Draymond sit in the lane,” Golden State coach Mike Brown said.

Even when Green’s not making 3s at his current rate, the Warriors benefit from him knocking it down at a near-average percentage. In the regular season, he hit at 32.4 per cent in the 64 wins, compared to 24.0 per cent in the 14 losses.

With Utah and future opponents likely to continue daring him to beat them from outside, the opportunities will be there for Green in Game 3 and going forward. “I feel particularly open every game we play,” he said. “So, yeah, I do. I’m pretty sure I’ll stay particularly open. That probably won’t change.”

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