It didn’t take long for Warriors forward Draymond Green to find the words to describe his performance in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
“How do you feel you played?” a reporter asked after Golden State’s 116-100 loss Wednesday.
“Like [expletive],” Green replied, almost cutting off the reporter’s question.
In 34 minutes, Green attempted four shots — including two 3-pointers that didn’t have a chance — and made just one, a dunk in the third quarter. He also recorded four rebounds, three assists, and a block. Green’s largest number in the box score was personal fouls: He finished with six, fouling out with four minutes to go.
Green’s teammates often say his impact goes beyond the numbers, but the vaunted physicality and intensity that Green brought to Game 2 was not nearly as effective in Game 3. He got outmuscled on the glass and outworked on defense.
Celtics forward Jaylen Brown had no problem going right at Green, hitting some tough shots over him following their dustup in Game 2.
“I was soft,” Green said. “That’s what was most disappointing to me.”
Things still got chippy, though. Green and Brown exchanged words, as did Green and Grant Williams after Williams was called for an illegal screen that sent Green to the floor in the second quarter. The crowd booed, as Green kept clapping, and officials had to separate the two.
The TD Garden fans made sure Green heard them all night, chanting “[expletive] you, Draymond” and “Draymond sucks” throughout the game. Nearly every time Green touched the ball, fans booed. Each time he picked up a foul or missed a shot, they cheered, and whenever a Celtic matched up against him one-on-one, they buzzed in anticipation.
When Green fouled out of the game, the fans, all on their feet, started waving bye before sending him off with one final chant.
Though Green typically embraces antagonistic environments, he wasn’t able to channel the hostility into any productivity.
“I didn’t really feed off of it tonight,” he said. “I don’t think I fed off much tonight. But that’s something that I enjoy. They waste a lot of energy talking to me, so it’s great. It’s great. Looking forward to Friday.”
The rest of the Warriors didn’t sound too pleased with the TD Garden reception.
“Classy,” said coach Steve Kerr. “Very classy.”
Added guard Klay Thompson, “We’ve played in front of rude people before, dropping f-bombs with children in the crowd. Real classy. Good job, Boston.”
Green’s wife also chimed in on Instagram, saying that fans should not be allowed to shout obscenities at players.
“Are they not human?” she wrote. “My kids were at the game tonight hearing that mess! Very disgusting of you little Celtics fans. Just shameful!”
With a 9 p.m. tip for Game 4 Friday night at TD Garden, fans are likely going to bring a similar energy. The Warriors are hopeful Green will bounce back. After an abysmal Game 1, Green proved in Game 2 that he can still be a difference-maker.
“He had a tough game, but I trust Draymond as much as I trust anybody,” Kerr said. “He always bounces back from losses and from tough nights individually. He’ll be back on Friday.”
Added Thompson, “I have all the confidence in the world in Draymond Green. I consider him a brother, and we’ve played at the mountaintop together and played in big, big battles. As long as I see him and [Stephen Curry] and with Andre [Iguodala] and our young bucks, I really think we’re going to have a great night Friday night.”
The Warriors could have a bigger problem on their hands if Curry is unavailable or limited. He certainly doesn’t seem 100 percent, which only increases the need for Green, Thompson, and the rest of the team to show up.
“[Green] is one of our best players, obviously, a championship player,” Kerr said. “We rely on him for his energy and his brain. Like I said, he’ll bounce back. He always does.
“Tough night for all of us. I mean, we just couldn’t get it going.”
More Game 3 coverage:
- Sullivan: With some help from the Garden crowd, the Celtics rebounded in Game 3 — just as they have all postseason
- On Basketball | There’s no question: Robert Williams’s determination and gutsy play is the difference for the Celtics during this magical run
- Celtics set the tone and never stopped, and other observations from the Game 3 win over Warriors
- Watch: Warriors’ Draymond Green fouls out, and the TD Garden crowd can’t get enough
- Warriors star Stephen Curry thinks he’ll play Game 4 after suffering leg injury in Game 3