Draymond Green swears he's done being 'a terrible teammate'

NBA

CLEVELAND — Draymond Green feels bad. He made that abundantly clear when he met the media here for the first time since his suspension for Game 5, which the Warriors lost on Monday night. In fact, Green feels bad enough to finally alter the approach that got him his fourth flagrant foul point in Game 4, when he responded to LeBron James stepping over him by taking a swipe at James. Another flagrant foul could yield a suspension for a potential Game 7.

“I learned a lot,” Green said. “As a basketball player, as a man, just things that you have to do, you can’t put yourself in certain positions. One thing I have already been teaching myself is learning how to control my emotions. Really just knowing the position you are in and adjusting to those positions, not putting yourself in harm’s way. Really being a better teammate.”

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That, Green said, was his ultimate takeaway. He said he had no doubt that if he had played Game 5, the Warriors would have won and the team would be in the midst now of planning a championship parade. But going through his history of misdeeds in these playoffs — his inane takedown of Michael Beasley in the first round, the kick that connected with the groin of Steven Adams in the conference finals and the James play — Green understood that he w

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as hurting his team.

“The way I view it is, me not being there on the floor to battle with my guys is being a bad teammate,” Green said. “I take pride in being a good teammate. I put myself in a position where I couldn’t be out there and the way I view it, it’s awful. I was a terrible teammate. I take pride in being better.”

Still, it is safe to say that the Cavaliers will, indeed, test Green, at least in the sense that they will go at him repeatedly on the defensive end. One of the keys to Game 5 was the number of shots James took — 30, plus eight free throws — and even with Green back on the floor, the Cavs will need another big night from James to keep this series alive. That means a heavy and very physical workload for Green, who will have to keep his cool as promised.

“He knows that if he gets another flagrant, he misses Game 7,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s well aware of that. I’d be shocked if anything happened on that front. I think he feels bad enough as it is about missing Game 5. He’s not going to put himself at risk of missing another game.”

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During his suspension, Green watched the Warriors from a suite at the A’s game at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum, next door to Oracle Arena. He appreciated the hospitality, he said, but he surely did not want to repeat a day like that.

“It was brutal, man,” Green said. “Just watching, like — it was one of the weirdest days ever for me, knowing that my team’s getting ready for a game, and the whole day, I am preparing for a game, but I am really not. It was brutal, just the entire day in itself, knowing I can’t be out there with my guys, and I can’t even be around them. … It’s a brutal day. My emotions were all over the place. At times, I was excited, at times, I was frustrated. Down. You know, it was an emotional roller coaster that day.”

Warriors star Stephen Curry lamented the possibilities of what might have been if Golden State had been able to catch Cleveland in Game 5. “It would have been the ultimate video montage to see him running across from the baseball stadium with a camera following him into Oracle Arena,” Curry said. “That was like the dream celebration, but it didn't happen. So, missed opportunity there.”

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More important, though, is that the Warriors still have a chance to seal their second consecutive title on Thursday. Should that happen, Green’s misdeeds will be pushed into the margins of the history books.

“I think there’s a Game 6, and he’s going to be available,” Curry said, “and we’re going to have another opportunity to win a championship, and nobody will remember this down the road if we get this done tomorrow night, so that’s really all we need to talk about.”