After a productive Game 1 for Draymond Green in which he had 16 points (11 coming in the first quarter), it's been a relatively quiet Games 2 and 3 for Draymond.
Well, sort of.
In Game 3 on Saturday night, it was a Draymond turnover with 1:13 remaining that essentially sealed Golden State's fate. With his team down 93-88 and having just gotten a huge defensive stop on a Courtney Lee missed three point attempt, Green took a pass from Klay Thompson off the rebound and tried to take it all the way to the rim himself against fellow former Spartan and Izzo-big man (I know, the announcers have made this reference 100 times) Zach Randolph.
The result wasn't pretty, as Green coughed it up and it led directly to a Memphis runout and Tony Allen layup at the other end, effectively ending the Warriors' comeback attempt. From that point, the Warriors would never get back to within seven.
The story in Game 2 was the performance of the now-masked man Mike Conley, as he returned from his facial injury to go 8-12 from the field and 3-6 from beyond the arc in a 22 point output.
During that game, Draymond drew the ire of Grizzlies fans (he heard the boos LOUDLY at FedEx Forum in Game 3) and invoked some rage among those on "NBA Twitter" after a play in the 2nd quarter, where with Conley on his backside and in possession of the ball signaling for a timeout, Green attempted to rip it from him and a start a break the other way. In the process, Draymond inadvertently hit Conley in his already-injured and masked face.
Certainly no clear indication of intent, and immediately following the incident, Draymond approached Zach Randolph near the scorer's table, apologized, and basically said "Hey man, there's no way I'd purposely do that to your boy". Randolph seemed to understand, but that didn't stop some of the general public from remaining skeptical about Green's intentions on the play.
Despite the crucial turnover in Game 3 and controversial incident in Game 2, it hasn't been all bad for Draymond over the last two games, other than the fact that he's 9/30 from the field.
As he's been doing all year, Draymond has continued to handle the ball at times in transition and make smart passes, sometimes leading to scores. He continues to work hard in the halfcourt offensively, setting good screens and playing within himself in the Warriors' fast paced and quick moving offense.
The Grizzlies' elite frontcourt tandem of Randolph and Marc Gasol have certainly been effective down low and are a big reason why the Grizzlies are up 2-1, but Green has competed hard on the interior defensively and has at least made some of the makes not-always easy for the pair down low.
With the size advantage that Gasol has over Draymond, it's almost unfair to ask him to guard him, but we've seen Steve Kerr go with that matchup for extended periods of time during the series. Given that the other main options in the paint for Kerr are Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli, expect to see more of Draymond on Gasol for the remainder of the series.
As far as Randolph goes, he's an absolute bully in the paint, but Draymond is a pitbull of a player in his own right, making it an intriguing watch every time the Grizzlies throw it into Z-Bo with Draymond guarding him on the block. Again, Randolph has been effective, but many of his makes over Draymond have been tough shots, and Draymond has also forced a number of misses against both Randolph and Gasol.
For Green, him improving his play will obviously be key to the Warriors surviving the most adversity that they've seen all year and advancing to the Western Conference Finals. Law of averages suggest that he will start to shoot the ball better (along with the rest of the team), and it's a given that he'll continue to bring a ferocious effort defensively, whether it's guarding on the perimeter or interior.
At the moment, the Grizzlies may just be playing too well for any of it to matter. The Warriors will try to bounce back in Game 4 on Monday night in Memphis.