Draymond digs deep, wills his way to Warriors' win over 76ers

Draymond digs deep, wills his way to Warriors' win over 76ers

OAKLAND -- Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was throwing most everything he had at the 76ers, man after man after man, every available body except Kevon Looney.

And no one worked the necessary miracles except Draymond Green, who spent Tuesday night throwing every bit of himself at the Sixers. He kept coming and coming, minute after relentless minute, until Philly finally folded.

The Warriors prevailed 106-104 because Green made them. The Saginaw, Mich. native found his offense scoring 20 points -- his highest total in three months -- but, moreover, was downright “Sagnasty” in terrorizing the 76ers with his defense.

“He led the charge,” Kerr said. “We really didn’t get after it defensively for most of the game, and then the fourth quarter was fantastic.”

The Warriors, with Green setting the tone, limited Philadelphia to 14 points on 30-percent (6-of-20) shooting in the fourth.

The Warriors had been atrocious on defense, and Green was trying to plug the leaks. After Philly shot 56 percent in the first quarter, Green, during a timeout early in the second, grabbed his teammates by their collective collar, stared into their long faces and dropped a few words on them.

“The realization is, obviously, it’s going to be a dogfight,” Stephen Curry said. “We still get everybody’s best shot. When we’re not making shots, we still need to find a way to do other things to get wins. It’s not always pretty. That was the message.”

The Warriors briefly responded, holding the Sixers to 37.5 percent in the second quarter, but they bounced back to shoot 52.6 percent in third, taking a 12-point lead into the fourth.

That got the full attention of the Warriors. It was in those desperate moments, with the Oracle crowd voicing muted disappointment in the proceedings, that every member of the team responded to Green’s call.

“The fourth quarter, the way Draymond impacted the game . . . he just kind of willed himself to another level,” Curry said. “He was a huge catalyst for us.”

Said Kerr: “Draymond is always the emotional leader, but everybody defensively stepped it up in that fourth.”

Asked about his sermon, Green said he felt it necessary to remind guys that they’ve been “in a little bit of a rut,” and that the only way to get out was to fight through it.

That meant, for the most part, defending as he did. In addition to 20 points and eight assists, Green also posted eight rebounds, six blocks and four steals. The last player to post his stat line was Hakeem Olajuwon on March 3, 1990, against the Warriors.

“You don’t go into a rut and then come out of it and hit 20 threes,” Green said. “It just don’t work like that. You have to grind yourself out, grind your way out of it. Tonight, we did that.

“The end of the third quarter and the fourth quarter, we realized, hey, it’s not going our way. But just put our heads down and go defend and the offense will come. Once we started to defend, everything else started to go our way.”

It was enough to send the 76ers, who led by as much as 16, out of Oakland with a defeat that had Green’s signature.

“He’s just elite defensively,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “And he’s highly competitive.”

Warriors' championship-level defense may never get recognition it deserves

Warriors' championship-level defense may never get recognition it deserves

The Warriors talk defense from sunup to midnight, and maybe beyond. They explain why defense is essential to their offense, which gets universal praise -- accolades that should go to their defense.

The latest example came Monday, when the NBA announced its All-Defensive teams.

Warriors forward Draymond Green was voted to the first team, one vote short of unanimously, and none of his teammates joined him on the five man first team.

Or the five-man second team.

Guard Klay Thompson finished 12th in the balloting, with 45 votes, including 16 for first place. He was omitted from 71 of 100 ballots.

Forward Kevin Durant finished 23rd, with six votes, all second place. He was omitted from 94 ballots. Guard Stephen Curry finished 29th, with three votes, omitted from 97 ballots.

Forward Andre Iguodala finished 30th, with three votes, including one for first place, and was omitted from 98 ballots.

As always, there was some dubious voting, including the omission of Green from one ballot and the inclusion of Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas -- who ranked 410th among the league’s 411 defenders with a rating -- on one ballot.

But the Warriors continue to be identified by their No. 1-ranked offense while being more accurately defined by their defense, which ranked No. 2 in defensive rating.

It ranked No. 1 in practically every other category that matters. The Warriors were tops in field-goal percentage defense (overall and from 3-point distance), fewest points per shot, blocks and steals.

But if they were hoping for more recognition for the primary reason why they’ve won two championships in three seasons -- and more regular-season games in a three-year span than any team in NBA history -- that’s not happening.

Not now, and maybe not any time soon when folks are so mesmerized by the offensive fireworks provided by Curry, Durant and Thompson.

Draymond Green receives most votes on 2016-17 NBA All-Defensive Team

Draymond Green receives most votes on 2016-17 NBA All-Defensive Team

For the third straight season, Draymond Green is considered one of the best five defenders in the NBA.

The NBA announced Monday that Green was named to the 2017 NBA All-Defensive First Team.

Of the 100 ballots submitted, according to the NBA, Green received 99 first-place votes, but no second-place votes, meaning one voter left Green off their ballot.

Green is joined by Utah's Rudy Gobert, San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles' Chris Paul and Houston's Patrick Beverley.

Gobert and Leonard also recieved 99 of a possible 100 First or Second team votes.

Green, Leonard and Gobert are the three finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year, which will be announced Monday night during the NBA Awards Show in New York.

Green is the first player in Warriors franchise history to earned All-Defensive First Team honors three years in a row.

In a season when he had several game-saving plays, Green averaged 10.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.38 blocks and a league-leading 2.03 steals in 76 games. Green was also the first player in franchise history with at least 150 steals and 100 blocks in a season.

Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson received eight First-Team votes and 29 Second-Team votes for a total of 45 points. NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant received six Second-Team votes. Sixth Man of the Year candidate Andre Iguodala received one First-Team vote and one Second-Team vote. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry received three Second-Team votes.

Below are the voting results for the 2016-17 NBA All-Defensive Teams. The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP. Complete media ballots will be posted at NBA.com/official tomorrow (Tuesday, June 27).