After kicking Steven Adams in the groin in Game 3, Draymond Green emerged as the No. 1 villain in Oklahoma City. Thunder fans were calling for Green to be suspended yet the NBA reviewed the play and upgraded Green's flagrant foul to a Flagrant-2 and fined him $25,000.
Green's poor play in Game 4, however, may have been a lot more costly as the Warriors lost consecutive games for the first time all season -- falling to the Thunder 118-94 to fall behind 3-1 in the Western Conference finals. In case you're wondering, the odds of the Warriors coming back to win this series aren't great. Teams trailing 3-1 in a playoff series are a combined 9-220.
In getting back to Green, certainly these losses aren't all on him. He's a staggering minus-73 over the last two games, which is the worst two-game +/- in NBA history, but nobody on Golden State has looked anything close to what they were during a historic 73-win season. Much of that credit belongs to the Thunder. They have been maniacs on both ends. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant have been the best players on the floor, and frankly it hasn't been close. You could pretty easily argue Steven Adams has been better than any Warrior save for maybe Klay Thompson in stretches.
But Green, in particular, has been a problem. In Game 3 he was 1 of 9 from the field with four turnovers. In Game 4, after being highly criticized for his kick to Adams' groin that some thought should've landed him a suspension, he 1 of 7 from the field with six turnovers. In a highly uncharacteristic move, Steve Kerr pulled him in the early going as it was clear Green was not in any kind of rhythm. Kerr even characterized Green as "shaky" in his coach's interview after the first quarter.
Green also acknowledged that he played poorly and that he simply didn't respond well to the negativity and criticism he was hearing before the game.
Draymond Green: "It's the first time in my life I didn't respond to critics. That's what's kind of been my story and I haven't done that."— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) May 25, 2016
Despite his struggles, Green is staying confident, telling his teammates that he will be better for Game 5.
Stephen Curry said Draymond Green talked to the team in the locker room postgame and ensured them he'd be better.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 25, 2016
The Warriors will need Green to be better if they want to avoid elimination on Thursday. Their season and their chance to repeat as champions likely depends on it.