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Draymond Green playoffs diary, Part 14

‘I don’t deal with losing well.’

Draymond Green has evolved into one of the most interesting personalities in the NBA, and perhaps all of sports — the vocal leader and emotional engine for one of the most compelling NBA teams in recent memory.

Green has agreed to give The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears an exclusive look into his life on and off the court, via a playoff diary that Green hopes will end with a second straight NBA championship for the Golden State Warriors.


Draymond Green Diary No. 14

The Golden State Warriors were routed 118-94 by the host Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday night. The reigning NBA champion Warriors fell behind 3-1 in the best of seven series and will be facing possible elimination in Game 5 on Thursday in Oakland, California. Green struggled for the second straight game with six points on 1-of-7 shooting from the field, 11 rebounds, six turnovers and two assists in 37 minutes. On Monday night, the NBA upgraded Green’s accessed flagrant foul 1 after kneeing Thunder center Steven Adams in the groin in Game 3 on Sunday to a flagrant foul 2 instead of levying a one-game suspension.

It was a frustrating day [Monday]. I didn’t really watch TV. I wasn’t on my phone. It was kind of the whole thought of, ‘Will I be suspended? Will I be able to play?’ It was nagging. It was bothering me. It was frustrating. Uncertainty is something we all hate in life. Being that I know I didn’t do it on purpose, it was really frustrating to know that I was going through this like I really tried to kick this dude when I know I didn’t. That was kind of the most frustrating thing to me.

“It was cool that when the [possible] suspension was called off [Nike vice president of global sports marketing] Lynn Merritt called me and said, ‘Let’s go get some dinner.’ And he and my [personal manager], Jaquail [Jacox], we went and got some dinner, sat there and relaxed. I needed to just relax. All day I had been on edge like, ‘What is going to happen?’ Yesterday wasn’t easy for me and it wasn’t because I was watching everything everyone was saying … It was the fact of not knowing all day. It’s tough. I found out at almost 6 o’clock p.m. from [Warriors general manager] Bob Myers. It was definitely a relief, but I still sat all day wondering and sweating.

“I don’t think there was any [aftereffect in Game 4]. I was just awful. I usually thrive in those situations. The most frustrating thing for me is those are the situations that I have thrived on. Those are the situations I’ve made my name off of. That’s who I am. That’s why I am who I am because of situations like that. And the most frustrating thing in the world is not being able to come through off the situation. That’s who I am. That’s more frustrating more than anything. It bothers me until I get back on the floor. It really bothers me. I don’t deal with losing well. Being the reason for losing, I really don’t deal with it well. It bothers me.

“I have to be better. I know this team energy goes as I go. They didn’t have nothing to look for. I haven’t given my guys anything. No leadership, no energy, nothing, which is what I bring to this team. It’s no shocker to me that we’re down 3-1 because I haven’t been there for two games. I wish I had the answer [as to why]. I don’t have the answer. But I know I will change it. It’s not too late. That’s why it’s a seven-game series. They have to beat us to four [wins]. We go home. Take care of home court. Get something to feel good about. And then we battle. But we have to come out Thursday like our lives depend on it. I have no doubt in my mind that this team will respond.

“I love [the Thunder fans booing me]. That is so fun for me. That is why it’s so frustrating that I couldn’t do what I do because I love that stuff. It’s cool. I like that … I love being able to look at the [booing opposing] crowd and laugh at them. Walk off the court and smile at them. I love that. I didn’t give myself the opportunity to do that and it’s killing me.

“This team, this group of guys, we haven’t been in an elimination situation [since 2014]. So it’s different. But I also know this team knows how to lock in. I know this team knows how to play tough. I know this team knows how to play like our lives depended on it. And I have no doubt in my mind that we will win [Game 5]. No doubt about that. I absolutely expect to be back here and I look forward to it.”

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for The Undefeated. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.