Draymond Green put the onus squarely on himself to improve the results for the visiting Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the NBA Finals Sunday night against the Toronto Raptors.
“I have to be more aggressive on the defensive side of the ball,” Green said Friday. “I think aggressiveness starts with me and everybody else will follow that. If I’m on my heels, everyone else is on their heels. I think that was kind of the story of (Game 1). I started the game not as aggressive as I could be on that side of the ball and it showed in our team defense.”
The Raptors won the opener 118-109 Thursday with Pascal Siakam scoring a playoff career-best 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting from the field.
“I got to do a better job of taking his rhythm away, and I will,” Green said after the game. “He had a great game, but that’s on me.”
Green had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in Game 1.
Siakam expects Golden State to make adjustments and said he’ll be ready.
“I think all year that’s something that I’ve always done, kind of adjusting and getting better as the day goes on,” he said Friday. “I think that a little playoff experience and knowing games are going to be different — you’re going to have different looks than maybe you did the first game or whatever. For me, it’s just about adjusting.”
Siakam’s outburst was just what the Raptors needed because the Warriors did a decent job in holding Kawhi Leonard to 23 points on 5-of-14 shooting.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said his whole team needs to step up on defense Sunday, not only Green.
“Draymond is always going to take the burden on his shoulders, and I respect that about him,” Kerr said. “But it’s a team effort, five-man group. And if your transition defense is bad, then there’s not a whole lot you can do because you’re talking about the best players in the world coming downhill in a fast game, five-on-four or four-on-three. It’s just too easy to score for any team, but especially a team like Toronto that’s in The Finals.”
The Warriors double-teamed Leonard, who said he adjusts by trying to make the right play, not necessarily by scoring.
“I come into the game just trying to win,” Leonard said Saturday. “If I have my mindset on just trying to score the ball, yeah, it could be difficult. But I’m trying to make the right play out there, and obviously if there are two people on me, somebody is open.
“I could create a collapse situation. It’s really not about me. If they play defense like that, guys are going to step up and make shots. All I could do is keep making the right play. When I do get a free look, make my shots and go back on other end and play defense.”
Raptors coach Nick Nurse was impressed with the coverage on Leonard.
“They were in a coverage (Thursday) I had never seen before, which was a switch to a late blitz,” Nurse said Saturday. “They do a lot of innovative stuff. So I would say that they probably got other things we haven’t seen that we’re going to have to adjust to on the fly. I’m probably never surprised that he gets blitzed as much as he does.”
The Warriors will again be without Kevin Durant (calf strain) in Game 2. It is uncertain when he will return.
–Field Level Media